Bryn Kenney Rockets to POY Leads, Demonstrates Problems With Systems



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We’ve blown by the quarter pole in the various races for poker’s Player of the Year, but both of the major standings are in agreement. As players prepare for the 2017 World Series of Poker (only about six weeks away, everyone!), Bryn Kenney has been able to pull out to the lead in the various POY races. Kenney’s lead also demonstrates that there are some problems with both the POY systems and their methods of awarding points.

On the CardPlayer leaderboard, Kenney has 3106 points, as astronomical amount for this point in the year (also astronomical? The $2.9 million plus he’s already put in the bank for 2017). In looking at Kenney’s performance, however, he has garnered the majority of his points through the “High Roller” tournaments that are being held, especially at Aria in Las Vegas. Kenney got off to a nice start, cashing six times at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas (including winning the $50,000 Super High Roller, the $25,000 High Roller and finishing seventh in a $100,000 Super High Roller that wasn’t originally part of the schedule) to rack up 1266 points. Of his other seven point-earning tournaments (that have earned Kenney 1840 points), five of them have been at the Aria High Roller series and the other two were both tournaments with a buy in over $25K.

This disparity displays the problems with both the CardPlayer system and, as we will see momentarily, the Global Poker Index’s tabulations. In his most recent finish at Aria, the $25K tournament was a total of 30 people that earned Kenney 350 POY points (CardPlayer); in winning the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions, Ryan Riess had to go through a field more than ten times that size to earn his 1200 points for his victory (his only point-earning tournament for 2017). The question has to be asked:  should a player, going through a much smaller field with a big buy-in, earn more points (relatively) than a player who goes through a bigger field with a smaller buy-in?

While Kenney has been able to take the lead to this point in the CardPlayer POY, there are a couple of players on his heels. Ben Heath, the runner-up at the Aussie Millions, has had a blistering start to 2017. He won a $15K event at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas and picked up some more points at the WPT L. A. Poker Classic and another runner-up finish at $1500 Wynn Classic Main Event. All totaled, Heath has accumulated 2976 points to only be 130 points back of Kenney.

Nick Petrangelo is also back in the swing after finishing eighth in the GPI POY in 2016. On the CardPlayer boards Petrangelo, who won the $100,000 PokerStars Championship Bahamas event, also earned points during the Aussie Millions and the PokerStars Championship Macau. Once you total up his six points-earning finishes, Petrangelo is in third place on the CardPlayer table, holding 2918 points.

It’s a bit of a jump down to the other seven men who make up the Top Ten on the CardPlayer rankings. Anthony Spinella (2360 points) and Aussie Millions champion Shurane Vijayaram (2280) are in fourth and fifth places, respectively. Dan Colman (2266 points), Simeon Naydenov (2230), Sam Panzica (2174), Daniel Strelitz (2100) and Darryll Fish (2076) round out the remainder of the CardPlayer Top Ten.

On the Global Poker Index Player of the Year ratings, the same man is sitting at the top. Kenney, who has seen a couple of his Aria performances dropped because they haven’t met the requirements of the GPI for inclusion on their rankings, still racks up 2487.7 points and has a pretty decent lead over his closest competitor. Ari Engel has been able to accumulate points across a wide spectrum of tournaments (his most recent point-earning event was winning the Mid-States Poker Tour Milwaukee Main Event championship for a six-figure score) to land in second with 2032.65 points.

Our first deviation in the charts comes with Mustapha Kanit in third place. While he did pick up a sizeable chunk of points in the Bahamas (891-plus points), Kanit also used finishes in the Aussie Millions and the PokerStars Championship arenas Panama and Macau to total 1970.27 points. Keeping the deviation going, Sergio Aido (1933.22 points), Byron Kaverman (1828.69) and Manig Loeser (1752.38) all reflect a deviation from the CardPlayer charts in coming in on the GPI ratings in fourth through sixth, respectively.

Petrangelo, while ranked much higher on the CardPlayer boards, also lands on the GPI countdown in seventh place  with 1642.51 points. Koray Aldemir (1631.78), Dylan Wilkerson (1562.14) and Spinella (1502.72) round out the GPI Top Ten. If you look to break it down, that means that, between the 20 slots available on the CardPlayer and GPI rankings, 17 men can claim to be in the Top Ten in tournament poker at this time.

Needless to say, this is going to be a free-flowing chart. The World Poker Tour’s Season XVI schedule will begin on Friday in Beijing, followed by the WPT Amsterdam beginning May 5. The World Series of Poker Circuit has a couple more events and, by the end of May, the 48th Annual World Series of Poker begins itself in Las Vegas. If the major ranking organizations continue to count the small-field High Roller events, however, Brynn Kenney will be tough to catch as he gets a huge percentage of his points from those events.

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