With the return of tournament poker to the poker community, the different Player of the Year races have also sprung back to life. One thing has remained the same, however. The different “High Roller” events have made for an unbalanced leaderboard, as evidenced by high roller regular Ali Imsirovic’s ascension to the top of both major POY boards.
Imsirovic’s CardPlayer POY Lead Almost 1000 Points
Imsirovic has built his CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year resume on the back of the different “High Roller” events that have been primarily offering of late. These tournaments, with limited fields because they have buy-ins larger than $10,000, have become a central part of the PokerGO Tour, rather than players having to work through a field of several hundred players and dodge those slings and arrows. Still, Imsirovic did not set the rules, he is just playing by them – and he is playing very well.
Imsirovic has won EIGHT tournaments on the “High Roller” circuit among his eighteen final tables this year. That has provided him with 4748 points on the CardPlayer Magazine POY and those totals also far outrank anyone else in the field (he is also the leader on the money list, with over $2.9 million so far in 2021). That total puts him far ahead of even his second-place pursuer.
Doing it the “old fashioned” way – actually playing tournaments that have more than one hundred people playing in them – is Chad Eveslage. Eveslage used the WPT Venetian in July to score his largest ever victory, a $910,370 windfall, and also earn 1920 points on the CardPlayer POY. That, plus other early season success, sets him up with a very decent 3768 points on the leaderboard.
The Top Ten for the CardPlayer rankings are as follows:
1. Ali Imsirovic, 4748 points
2. Chad Eveslage, 3768
3. Qing Liu, 3674
4. Sean Perry, 3653
5. Brian Altman, 3558
6. Andrew Moreno, 3547
7. Viet Vo, 3190
8. Matas Cimbolas, 2930
9. Chance Kornuth, 2850
10. Joe McKeehen, 2740
Lead is Smaller, But Imsirovic Still in Command
When it comes to the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race, it is a bit smaller lead, but Imsirovic is still in command.
The array of finishes that Imsirovic has are scored a bit differently by the GPI rankings. All players are limited to their thirteen best finishes and, when a better finish comes on your resume, the older (lower scored) tournament falls off. This might make it tough for Imsirovic to stretch out his point total, but he has already set himself up well to this point in the tournament poker season.
Case in point for Imsirovic: his finish in the $50,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament during the PokerGO Cup in July knocked off an earlier finish in the U. S. Poker Open (in June) because it scored more points, but it was only twenty more points added to his first-place score of 3095.30 points. This is something that Imsirovic is going to run into as the remainder of the year plays out, and it could impact whether he can maintain the lead.
In second on the GPI POY is a player who did not even appear in the CardPlayer Top Ten, Alex Foxen. Foxen, the two-time defending Player of the Year on the GPI boards, plays any event that you throw at him, and it shows. He has been able to compile a 2021 resume that ranges from a $2500 event through World Poker Tour events to the “High Roller” circuit. These finishes have been good enough to put Foxen in a prime position to defend his title for a third time, sitting in second with 2674.61 points.
As August rolls along, this is the way that the GPI rankings unfold:
1. Ali Imsirovic, 3095.30 points
2. Alex Foxen, 2674.61
3. Jesse Lonis, 2537.51
4. Joey Weissman, 2441.27
5. Adam Hendrix, 2421.59
6. Qing Liu, 2404.44
7. Jordan Cristos, 2376.13
8. Sergi Reixach, 2356.22
9. Sean Winter, 2326.45
10. Sam Soverel, 2265.00
The tournament poker world is currently in a state of limbo. The resurgence of the COVID-19 Delta variant has caused the postponement (at the moment) of the WPT bestbet Jacksonville Bounty Scramble in Florida, and other poker tours have not even gotten off the launch pad as of yet (hello, European Poker Tour?). The WPT has a stop at Maryland LIVE! in September prior to the start of the delayed 2021 World Series of Poker, but those events on the poker calendar may have a whole different look by the time we reach the end of September. How it will all shake out over the next few months will be what makes the Player of the Year rankings, especially with the late finish of the WSOP in 2021.