As we prepare to head into the final two months of 2014, Dan Colman is looking to make a sweep of the major Player of the Year races in the tournament poker world – unless there is a repeat of a similar situation that occurred last year.
On the Bluff Magazine Player of the Year race, Colman – who has seemingly won every High Roller tournament that has occurred this year – has set himself up to take the title easily. After such victories as the “Big One for One Drop,” the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship Event and the World Poker Tour’s Alpha8 stop in London on October 6, Colman (1377.7 points) has pushed out to a roughly 232 point lead over the World Series of Poker Asia/Pacific High Roller champion Mike Leah (1145.04. That victory in Melbourne was enough to push Leah past Dan Smith (949.35), who has been quiet since the European Poker Tour’s stop in Barcelona.
These three men are the ones who will likely decide (if Colman can be caught) who the Bluff POY will be. The rest of the Top Ten on that roster – Ole Schemion (816.59), 2014 WSOP Player of the Year George Danzer (797.35), Jake Schindler (794.85), Mustapha Kanit (790.48), Joe McKeehen (768.22), Ami Barer (766.22) and Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk (757.75) – are all pretty much relegated to catching the runner-up spot due to Colman’s huge lead. Even that might be difficult for some of the Top Ten members as Leah’s points total is, for example, nearly 400 points over Polk’s resume.
The same two suspects are atop the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year leaderboard, but Leah has a better shot here than on the Bluff ladder. Colman, with his 5370 points on the season, has only a 692 point lead over Leah and an 856 point lead over Kanit heading into the homestretch. With a few major tournaments left in the 2014 calendar season (and the points that are awarded for performance on the CardPlayer system), Colman can’t get too comfortable with his position in the race.
As with the Bluff race, the remainder of the CardPlayer table has their work cut out for them even if they are to reach the second place spot. Schindler (3700 points), Barer (3580), Dylan Wilkerson (3316), Dominik Panka (3315), Mike McDonald (3312), Smith (3270) and Keven Stammen (3262) will have to have a huge run over the next eight weeks if they are going to reach even Leah’s total points.
The fly in the ointment for Colman’s clean sweep of the major awards comes with the Global Poker Index’s Player of the Year race. Although he hasn’t earned any POY points since Barcelona, Smith (3839.04 points) is atop the GPI POY by a slim margin over Colman (3820.76). That miniscule lead also lends some support to others such as Kanit (3567.62), Jason Mercier (3545.77) and Scott Seiver (3480.86) in their pursuit of a major POY award. The remainder of the GPI POY leaderboard features such contenders as Davidi Kitai (3440.11), Schemion (3395.94), Schindler (3384.02), Stammen (3278.36) and Alex Bilokur (3276.21), all of whom have a shot at overtaking those ranked above them.
This year’s GPI race is shaping up to be similar to what occurred in 2013. Coming to this point in the season, Daniel Negreanu was a sizeable leader on the three POY leaderboards but, with a late season run, Schemion was able to overtake the newest member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Although Negreanu would win the Bluff and CardPlayer awards, he was denied the sweep by Schemion’s last-second heroics on the EPT.
There will be plenty of chances for the 18 men who are ranked in the three POY races to garner some end of the season points. The WPT will feature four major stops, including popular destinations in Montreal and Las Vegas’ Bellagio for the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, as they close out the 2014 calendar year. The EPT will only have one stop in Prague, the Czech Republic, between now and New Year’s Eve and the WSOP Circuit (among its multitude of stops) will offer probably the last chance for major POY points during its stop at Harrah’s in Atlantic City. That WSOP-C event will close on December 22, by which point the final points will be tallied and the three major Player of the Year races will close.