It is early in the 2020 tournament poker season, but the conflicts between the two major Player of the Year races has wasted no time in raising their heads. With their different methods of compilation, the CardPlayer Magazine rankings and the Global Poker Index list normally feature some deviations. But, in the first six weeks of the 2020 poker year, there are complete differences between the two ranking systems.
Vincent Wan Rides Aussie Millions Victory to CardPlayer #1
On the CardPlayer rankings, Vincent Wan was able to ride his efforts at the Aussie Millions to the #1 slot on the list. After finishing the 2019 season barely making a blip on the CardPlayer POY (he only earned 151 CardPlayer POY points), Wan rocketed out of the gate by winning the biggest tournament of January, the Aussie Millions Main Event. That singular victory not only brought Wan a $1 million (Australian, $909,420 U. S.) payday but also put him atop the CardPlayer Player of the Year board with 2280 points.
Coming in a close second was another newcomer to the ratings, Sweden’s Anton Suarez. Prior to 2020, Suarez had exactly FIVE cashes in tournament poker, with four of them coming last year. But the partypoker MILLIONS U. K. Main Event was the domain of Suarez, who defeated Christian Rudolph and James Romero on his way to taking down the championship. The 2100 points earned by Suarez, good for second place on the CardPlayer POY, was only topped by the $1 million (U. S.) that he earned.
The runners-up in those two tournaments take the next two slots on the CardPlayer POY. Ngoc Hoang chose a great time to earn his third-ever tournament cash, finishing as the second-best player in the Aussie Millions Main Event, and earned 1900 points to come in third on the POY. Rudolph turned his second place run in the partypoker MILLIONS U. K. to pick up 1750 points and the fourth place slot on the POY.
Rounding out the Top Ten on the CardPlayer Player of the Year rankings are the most recent champion on the World Poker Tour, Brian Altman, in fifth with 1608 points, Farid Jattin (1589 points, sixth place), Kahle Burns (1586, seventh), Michael Addamo (1556, eighth), Nino Ullmann (1540, ninth) and Erik Seidel (1536, tenth).
Kahle Burns…Burns Frequent Flyer Miles for First on GPI POY
Australia’s Kahle Burns has literally burned up some frequent flyer miles to rocket into the top spot of the Global Poker Index’s Player of the Year race.
The GPI rankings capture the best 13 finishes of a player (after a complicated mathematical process) in establishing their ratings, and Burns has traversed the world in the first six weeks of 2020. He started at the partypoker MILLIONS U. K., where he won the Super High Roller event and finished as the runner-up in the High Roller tournament. He then went to Melbourne for the Aussie Millions and captured the $100K Challenge title. Finally, during the Super High Roller Bowl Australia schedule, he finished second in the $250,000 Main Event. All of these tournaments have earned Burns 1162.42 points and the first-place seat on the 2020 GPI board.
Now you might ask why Burns isn’t higher on the CardPlayer rankings if he has done so well. The answer is that both ranking systems have criteria on what tournaments can be counted towards earning points on their respective countdowns. Thus, what is a qualifying tournament on one board may not be considered by the other. It is one of the things that cause the many differences on the respective leaderboards.
Seidel’s efforts at the Aussie Millions and the Australian Poker Open earned him the second place slot on the GPI. In earning a major tournament cash in his fifth decade (80s, 90s, Aughts, 10s and 20s, a record) in the Aussie Millions Main Event, Seidel would also add final table finishes in the $50K Challenge at the Aussie Millions and two final tables at the Australian Poker Open. Those excellent performances earned the Poker Hall of Famer 972.86 points and the second-place ranking.
If you haven’t heard of the third-place player in the world (according to the GPI), you wouldn’t be alone. Najeem Ajez is currently the third ranked player on the GPI 2020 POY race, with all of his results coming from tournaments in his home country of Australia. While he hasn’t won a tournament yet in 2020, the six finishes racked up by Ajez have earned him 907.5 points and the third-place seat on the GPI POY.
Rounding out the Top Ten on the GPI POY are some more familiar names to poker fans. In fourth place is Steve O’Dwyer (901.8 points, fourth place), World Series of Poker Circuit terror Maurice Hawkins (845.09, fifth place), Jattin (828.45, sixth), Alan “Ari” Engel (778.46, seventh), Quan Zhou (778.06, eighth), Addamo (755.8, ninth) and defending GPI Player of the Year Stephen Chidwick (751.54, tenth).
Between the two ranking systems, there are 15 players that can contend they are one of the Top Ten players in the world currently.
See These Lists? Now Forget Them…
These lists right now give a great idea of who is off to a good start for 2020, but they aren’t highly reliable as to who will be there at the end of the year. Within the next month or so, the World Poker Tour, the European Poker Tour and other major and minor tournament circuits will conduct a multitude of events. Of particular note would be the WPT L. A. Poker Classic in Los Angeles and the EPT stop in Sochi, Russia, in March, two major events whose results will cause these tiers to be upturned and new names enter. It won’t be until around the start of the WSOP in May that we’ll be able to get a great deal of insight into who the contenders are, but the race to get to that point is nevertheless interesting.