We’re now six weeks into the 2023 tournament poker season and one thing is coming evident. The effect of the “High Roller” tournaments, especially the PokerGO Tour, is not as pronounced as it has been in the past. This has allowed some of the tournament poker grinders outside of the “high roller” world to step up and take their place atop one of the polls for Player of the Year. On the other? Well, we’re going to have to wait a bit longer.
Shylko Uses PSPC to Sit atop CardPlayer POY
On the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race, the winner of arguably the biggest tournament to this point of 2023 is naturally leading the way. Aliaksandr Shylko, who outlasted a 1014-entry field in the PokerStars Players’ Championship (PSPC), booked a $3 million-plus payday for a few days of work in the Bahamas. He also was able to book the largest amount of points for that one tournament (3360 points) than anyone has yet earned in 2023 to take the top of the mountain.
The three-way deal that settled the PSPC also puts the other two contenders into the Top Five. Max Menzel, who finished as the runner-up in the tournament, booked his first official tournament cash since 2019 and pulls enough points for the second-place slot on the CardPlayer POY. The third-place finisher in the PSPC, Phillipe Pizzari, slides into the fourth-place slot in the standings with his 2240 points.
Breaking up the PSPC triumvirate is the winner of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. Michel Dattani, who topped the 889-entry field in the $10,000 Main Event for the PCA, captured just a few more points than Pizzari to leap into the third-place spot on the CardPlayer ladder. With his 2280 points, Dattani is only forty points to the positive over Pizzari for the third place position.
The first denizen of the “High Roller” world makes his appearance in the #5 slot on the leaderboard. Isaac Haxton, who not only won the 2023 PokerGO Cup Main Event but also captured the $100,000 Seven-Max No Limit Hold’em tournament at the PCA, used those two tournaments to garner the majority of his 2178 points thus far in 2023. Those two performances mark the first of the “high roller” players – those who primarily take part in tournaments north of $15,000 – to earn entry into the POY for this year.
Here is the rundown of the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race to this mark in 2023:
1. Aliaksandr Shylko (Belarus), 3360 points
2. Max Menzel (Germany), 2800
3. Michel Dattani (Portugal), 2280
4. Phillipe Pizzari (Brazil), 2240
5. Isaac Haxton (USA), 2178
6. Marius Gierse (Germany), 2039
7. Justin Saliba (USA), 2035
8. Kayhan Mokri (Norway), 1980
9. Bin Weng (USA), 1968
10. Pedro Neves (Portugal), 1900
First GPI POY Standings Yet to Be Released
Six weeks into the 2023 tournament poker season, the Global Poker Index has yet to release an official ranking. There is a multitude of reasons for this.
First, the GPI is constantly adjusting the formulas that they use to calculate how many points a player earns for their finish. In many cases, the GPI looks at the buy-in, the size of the tournament (number of players), and the prize pool in determining how many – or even if – a tournament qualifies to earn points towards the GPI POY. The GPI is currently tweaking their math to make sure that there isn’t domination of one format of poker – AKA the “High Rollers” – over the rest of the plebian events.
Second, the players on the GPI standings have thirteen events to ratchet up their POY total for the year. With a scant few events on the schedule to this mark, players have yet to accumulate the number of finishes to fill out their original dance card for the race. For example, while Shylko’s performance in the PSPC is impressive, Marius Gierse’s victory in the 2023 Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL, may (and we have to HEAVILY emphasize the “may”) be worthy of more POY points (larger field could translate into more points).
The first GPI POY usually does not come out until the beginning of March, but don’t bet on any consistency with that or the CardPlayer POY throughout the year. One of the remarkable things about these POY races is that those players who start the year on top rarely make it to the end of the year in a similar position. One of those players in the Top Ten on the CardPlayer board may be there at the end of the year, but it is also just as likely that a whole new list of players will be there come the WSOP, and the same applies to the GPI.