While Alex Foxen was able to emerge as the overall Player of the Year on the Global Poker Index (and on the States of America rankings), it is important to realize that the game of poker stretches over much more than just the U. S. Other countries had some interesting fights for their individual POY awards, which is something that is recognized by the GPI, including one country crowning a woman the champion for the first time ever.
Canada – Kristen Bicknell Beats the Boys at Their Own Game
For the Canadian Player of the Year race, Kristen Bicknell was able to become the first woman to ever capture the Canadian POY championship. With her work late in the year, including cashes in the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event and the partypoker WPT Montreal High Roller, Bicknell was able to amass enough points (3071.41 points) to be able to pass Mike Leah (2926.69) to snatch away the POY award. The other members of the Top Five in the Canadian race were no slouches, either. Rounding out the Canadian Top Five in the POY race were Sam Greenwood (2925.92), Daniel Negreanu (while a naturalized U. S. citizen still counted with Canadian players, 2617.88) and Timothy Adams (2591.13).
Bicknell wasn’t just the best Canada had to offer. She was also the top female player worldwide, outpacing Maria Lampropulos (2418.28 points). In fact, these two women were the only female players to reach into the Top 100 in the overall POY race and both have the talent to be able to make more noise in 2019.
United Kingdom – Stephen Chidwick Has to Settle for Best in the U. K.
Stephen Chidwick spent a good part of 2018 at the top of the overall GPI POY, but he just didn’t have enough gas to keep Foxen out of the winner’s circle come the end of the year. It may be of little consolation for the British pro, but he whipped his fellow U. K. players in winning the U. K. POY by more than 1000 points. Chidwick (3787.26 points) was followed by Aymon Hata (2735.43), Jack Sinclair (2705.38), Niall Farrell (2663.81) and Adam Owen (2545.09) in the British Top Five.
Chidwick will be a stalwart in whichever POY race you follow simply because he sits down in the biggest tournaments in the world. No matter the High Roller stakes, Chidwick is usually in the mix and usually making the final tables. Regardless of the opinions of the poker world regarding how High Roller events are counted, Chidwick will continue to score high in the rankings with his efforts in this arena.
Latin America – Joao Pires Simao Bests Maria Lampropulos
While Lampropulos put together most of her work in the first half of 2018, it is how you close that usually wins you a yearly award. That was the case in the Latin American POY race as Joao Pires Simao used five finishes in November and December to amass over 780 points to pass Lampropulos for the POY championship. Simao’s 2783.14 points bested Lampropulos’ 2418.28 points to claim the first-place prize, with Farid Jattin (2155.68), Josias Santos (1984.43) and Felipe Ramos (1900.24) rounding out the Top Five.
Jattin is already off to a great start in 2019 with a final table finish in the inaugural PokerStars Players’ Championship (PSPC) at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure last week. But it is always difficult to handicap the Latin American players simply because it seems that there are new superstars emerging from that area all the time. While Jattin may be on top now, it could be someone completely different come the end of 2019.
Germany – Rainer Kempe Rules the Roost in Germany
There is credible argument that the best poker players in the world come from Germany – or perhaps that is the best High Roller players! Whichever way you look at it, 2018 was a bit of a down year for the German contingent. Not only did they not have a player in the Top 10 overall at the end of the year, their country champion Rainer Kempe barely got into the Top 20.
Kempe was able to put together a decent 3172.45-point total but, while it was good enough for #1 in Germany, it was only good enough for #18 in the world. The same could be said for the runner-up in the German race, Dominik Nitsche (3147.22), who could only get to #23 in the world. Rounding out the Top Five were Manig Loeser (3071.59) and two players who are quickly becoming household names to the poker world, Jan Eric Schwippert (2991.08) ad Robert Heidorn (2349.20).
There are literally rankings for every country in the GPI database, all a person has to do is look it up. While we’d love to go through each country, we here at Poker News Daily encourage you to look some of the countries up for yourselves. Finding out who the champion of French Polynesia is much more entertaining when you do it yourself!