No Clear Frontrunner as Different Player of the Year Races Kick Off

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With almost six weeks complete in 2017, the two major Player of the Year races in the tournament poker world have begun to take shape. Demonstrating the differences in emphasis between the two rankings, there is no clear frontrunner at this time.

The CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year rankings have a logical person sitting atop the standings. By virtue of his first ever tournament cash, Australia’s Shurane Vijayaram jumps out to the lead on the CardPlayer ladder. The champion of the $10,000 Aussie Millions Main Event earned 2280 points for that win alone, just barely pushing him past the man who finished second to him in the tournament, Ben Heath. Heath has a few more finishes on his 2017 resume, with three big finishes at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas prior to his trip Down Under, and is right behind Vijayaram with his 2188 points.

The winner of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event comes in at third on the CardPlayer board. Christian Harder, who defeated Cliff Josephy in heads up play to capture the first ever championship on that newly created circuit, picked up 1824 points for his efforts. It was enough to push him past Nick Petrangelo, the first member of the “High Roller” circuit to make the list (Petrangelo was the champion of the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge), who slides in at the fourth-place slot with 1628 points, and Tobias Hausen, the third-place finisher at the Aussie Millions, who has 1520 points for fifth place in the POY.

The aforementioned Josephy is arguably having the best year of his tournament poker life. Coming off his run at last year’s World Series of Poker Championship Event “November Nine,” Josephy’s runner-up finish against Harder earned him 1520 points, enough to tie him with Hausen on the CardPlayer standings. Daniel Weinman, the victor at the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Winter Poker Open, only received 1440 points for that win, but he’s sitting in seventh place at this very early point in the year. Rounding out the CardPlayer Top Ten in eighth through tenth positions respectively are Bryn Kenney, the winner of one of the $25,000 tournaments put on during the PokerStars Championship Bahamas schedule (1406 points), Byron Kaverman (1375 points) and Fedor Holz, whose two final tables at the Aussie Millions earned him 1270 points.

OK, remember the names on the CardPlayer rankings? For the most part, forget them, as the Global Poker Index’s Player of the Year standings reflect a completely different look at the tournament poker world.

Kenney is one of the few constants between the two boards. He has already used up seven of his qualifying slots (the GPI scoring system looks at the top 13 finishes of a player, not a conglomerate of points), with six of those coming at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas. Because of this early rush, Kenney has burst out of the gate with 1592.85 points, enough to take the overall lead on the GPI leaderboard.

A player who wasn’t even on the Top Ten on the CardPlayer rankings takes the second-place slot on the GPI listings. Mustapha Kanit earned five cashes at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, then hopped a jet to Melbourne to pick up two more at the Aussie Millions. Over those seven finishes, Kanit has 1424.52 points and earns the second place standing on the list.

Kaverman gets more love from the GPI than from CardPlayer, with his work so far in 2017 earning him the third-place slot with 1257.5 points. Two more newcomers to the rankings, David Yan (956.39 points) and Nate Bjerno (796.36), the runner-up at the Borgata to Weinman, round out the Top Five. Petrangelo (788.13, sixth place) and Heath (771.68, seventh) are neck-and-neck in their battle, while Lucas Greenwood (765.12, eighth) and Sergi Reixach (760.8, ninth) have their own tussle ongoing. Wrapping up the GPI Top Ten is Weinman, whose 751.83 points for winning one of the bigger events on the WPT is not getting the attention it deserves.

The names that you’ve just seen on both the CardPlayer and GPI leaderboards? Within the next four to six weeks, they will completely be changed. The predominance of action in the tournament poker world is before the WSOP and 2017 is no different. After the WSOP is completed in July, there is a dearth of events and few chances for players to make up significant ground. Thus, it is important for players to get out to an excellent start in the whirlwind of tournaments between now and April as it does set up a player for an outstanding season.

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