After an exciting year of tournament poker, several of the Player of the Year ranking systems are too close to call, making the final month of 2011 the determining factor in who will win those accolades.
Bluff Magazine’s ratings only look at the top ten finishes for each player in a calendar year and awards points accordingly. With that said, there are a few surprises on the leaderboard when compared with the other ranking systems.
Heading into December, Eugene Katchalov is the leader of the Bluff pack, the only player who has earned over 1000 points (1077.38). Within striking distance of Katchalov is Ben Lamb, whose outstanding play at the World Series of Poker this year has him set in the second slot with 988.10 points. Rounding out the Top Five are Matthew Waxman (968.20), Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier (966.48) and Sam Trickett (938.32).
Heading over to the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race, there is a nearly entirely different Top Five. The only similarity with Bluff Magazine is Lamb, who is the leader of the CardPlayer POY with 6,036 points. Running right behind the 2011 WSOP Player of the Year is the United Kingdom’s Chris Moorman, whose 5,875 points puts him within range of knocking off Lamb. Russia’s Oleksii Kovalchuk (5,380 points) is in the third slot, with Marvin Rettenmaier (4,554) and Sam Stein (4,505) rounding out the Top Five.
There are two interesting side notes to the Bluff/CardPlayer POY rankings comparison. The current World Champion, Pius Heinz, is ranked twelfth in the CardPlayer ratings and eighth in the Bluff rankings despite “only” winning the WSOP Championship Event this year. On another odd comparison front, Phil Hellmuth is ranked in eighteenth place by Bluff after his outstanding play at the WSOP this summer; on the CardPlayer rankings, Hellmuth isn’t even in the Top 25.
The Global Poker Index rankings are a bit skewed by the factor that it looks at the past three years of finishes instead of the current calendar year. For that reason, there is sometimes little movement in the rankings. On the GPI, Erik Seidel is the leader of the pack with 2560.94 points, followed by Grospellier (2493.71) and Jason Mercier (2398.58). Katchalov is in fourth place on the GPI (2371.55) and Shawn Buchanan (2331.45) rounds out the Top Five.
Whichever ranking system you’re looking at, the month of December will determine their respective Player of the Year winners. The World Poker Tour is the busiest tournament circuit between now and the end of the year, with four events taking place. At this moment, the WPT Marrakech is in play, with the WPT Prague set to play from December 1-5. The “traditional” end of the calendar year tournament for the WPT, the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, will take place from December 6-11 and will be followed this year by the WPT Venice, which plays out from December 13-18.
The other two major players in the tournament poker world, the World Series of Poker Circuit and the European Poker Tour, also have tournaments in action early in December. The WSOPC will be in action at Harrah’s in Atlantic City from December 1-12, while the EPT takes to the felt in Prague, the Czech Republic, from December 1-5.
With these major events – as well as a plethora of smaller tournaments around the world, such as the latest tournament of the Epic Poker League‘s inaugural season, the 2011 Unibet Open in Riga, the Gold Strike Winter Poker Classic in Mississippi and Larry Flynt’s Holiday Poker Classic at the Hustler Casino in Gardena, California – the eventual Player of the Year winners for every outlet will be determined. What is up for argument, however, is which one of the victors is REALLY the Player of the Year!