We are only about six weeks into 2019 and the two major Player of the Year races are underway. While one is celebrating a player, Ramon Colillas, who had a tremendous start to the tournament poker season, the other is rewarding a player, Rainer Kempe, who has built up several top finishes towards earning the first place slot at this time.
Colillas Reigns Supreme on CardPlayer Magazine POY
Utilizing his victory in the largest $25,000 buy-in event in poker history, the PokerStars Players Championship during the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure schedule in January, Colillas was able to rack up a massive 3360 points along with a $5.1 million payday for his efforts. This marks the first time that Colillas has ever been ranked on the CardPlayer POY…in fact, the PSPC was arguably Colillas’ debut on the poker world as he had never cracked four figures in any of his other four cashes in his career.
The man who pulls into second on the CardPlayer rankings is getting the most out of his Frequent Flyer miles. After earning a small cash – but no POY points – in a preliminary event at the PCA, David ‘Chino’ Rheem rocketed to the Main Event title at the PCA for a $1.5 million-plus payday and a massive amount of POY points. He then took off for Melbourne for the Aussie Millions, finishing in third in the $25,000 Challenge for another $300K payday and more points. In the end. The first couple of months of 2019 have earned Rheem nearly $1.9 million and 2952 points, good for second on the CardPlayer POY.
The runner-up to Rheem at the PCA Main Event, Julien Martini, slides into the third place slot with his 2800 points, but it is the work of Rainer Kempe that is drawing the most attention. He has already earned five final table finishes in 2019 at both the PCA and Aussie Millions that include three victories. His 2754 points is good for fourth place at this time and, considering Kempe’s propensity for playing in High Roller events all over the world, he would have to be an early favorite to earn the POY championship.
The final six players on the early CardPlayer POY rankings are Marc Rivera (2240 points, fifth place), the negotiated champion of the Aussie Millions Bryn Kenney (2208, sixth), Bart Lybaert (2112, seventh), Daniel Strelitz (1900, eighth), Mike Del Vecchio (tied with Strelitz for eighth) and Scott Baumstein (1680, tenth).
Kempe Rules the Roost on Global Poker Index POY
Kempe’s early season success is more respected by the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race than the CardPlayer rankings. Only six weeks into the season, Kempe has racked up 1610.25 points from his five cashes on the year. The best of those cashes was, naturally, his win in the Aussie Millions $25,000 Challenge, which earned him 467.82 points alone. He has another eight cashes available to him (the GPI POY uses the 13 best points earning finishes to determine its standings) over the next 10 months, something that Kempe should easily fill.
The big difference between the GPI and the CardPlayer ranking? Colillas isn’t anywhere to be seen in the Top Ten. The GPI, with its intricate point calculating system, rewards multiple strong finishes whereas the CardPlayer system rewards big finishes over quantity. As such, Colillas isn’t seen on the GPI board until #15.
Falling under Kempe on the GPI board is Jack Salter, who has more finishes that have counted for the GPI board (eight) but hasn’t totaled as many points (1463.21). The same can be said for Toby Lewis, whose seven points-earning finishes have earned him the third place slot with 1435.53 points, and Daniel Tang, whose seven finishes have him in fourth with 1207.81 points.
There are some other names in the remainder of the GPI Top Ten that also showed in the CardPlayer rankings, but there’s still deviations. Rheem (1160.97, fifth place), and Lybaert (1046.17, sixth) appear on both boards, but the next four men – Sam Greenwood (997.32, seventh), Farid Jattin (970.31, eighth), Pete Chen (951.92, ninth) and Sean Legendre (944.0, tenth) – all did NOT appear in the CardPlayer Top Ten. In the comparison between the two, there are 17 men who can claim that they are in poker’s Top Ten players currently.
The Times Are a Changin’ – And So are the Rankings
Did you read those standings carefully? Go ahead and forget about them now. If there’s one consistency between the Top Ten lists in poker, it’s that two months from now they will be completely different. With the tournament circuits on the World Poker Tour and the European Poker Tour hitting full stride, there will be plenty of points opportunities for players in just the next couple of weeks alone. It is possible that, by the start of March, there could be changes to the Top Ten on both the CardPlayer and GPI rankings and they may be entirely different people than are currently there.