As we prepare to enter the final third of the 2019 tournament poker calendar, the battle for the prestigious title of Player of the Year couldn’t be hotter. In fact, with the two major POY races, there is a split decision on who is in the lead, with wide discrepancies between the two tabulations.
Stephen Chidwick Seizes CardPlayer Magazine POY Lead
On the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year leaderboard, it is the United Kingdom’s Stephen Chidwick who finds himself sitting at the top. The British pro made most of his hay at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series in London, where he cashed four times for an unbelievable $6.5 million plus in cashes. Only two of those finishes were scoring points for him on the CardPlayer rankings, however, because CardPlayer has certain requirements on tournaments that they have a minimum number of players to be considered. Despite two of his Triton finishes not counting, Chidwick was still able to sweep into the lead with his 5751 points.
The runner up in the largest buy-in poker tournament ever, the £1,000,000 Triton Super High Roller Main Event in London, Bryn Kenney has long been a staple of the High Rollers around the world. In fact, over the last few years, at least three-quarters of his cashes have come from such events, which feature huge buy-ins but usually feature smaller fields. But that second-place finish in London didn’t add any points to Kenney’s total (due to the field not meeting the minimum number of players), meaning he sat stagnant (despite earning $20 million plus for his performance) at 5174 points for the year.
You’ll notice a familiar refrain in most of the POY race here on the CardPlayer boards – the players are quite often found on the High Roller circuit and make most of their money (and POY points) from their performance in those events. In third place on the CardPlayer rankings is Rainer Kempe, a familiar face on the High Roller circuit but one who has been taking a bit of a break after the 2019 World Series of Poker. His 4701 points is good enough for third place over Paul Phua, who had done nothing but play the Triton Poker High Roller Series around the world. After hitting Jeju, South Korea, Montenegro and the London stop, Phua has come from nowhere to amass 4697 points for fourth place.
Rounding out the Top Ten are such names as Jeremy Ausmus (4344 points), Shannon Shorr (4191), WSOP Championship Event runner up Dario Sammartino (3750), Nicholas Pupillo (3724), Ali Imsirovic (3475) and Ramon Colillas (3456) in fourth through tenth places, respectively.
Rainer Kempe Reigns Supreme on Global Poker Index POY Standings
If you’re looking for Chidwick in the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race, you’re going to be looking outside the Top Five for the Brit. That is one of the biggest differences between the CardPlayer and the GPI tabulation systems is that, with the GPI, your top 13 finishes are all that count. At a certain point, you can’t improve on your finishes anymore and you stagnate on the list. In fact, there are many differences between the CardPlayer and GPI rankings to fuel plenty of discussion amongst poker’s denizens.
Rainer Kempe is the man on the GPI POY and, as stated before, he has been able to do this while sitting on the sidelines after the 2019 WSOP. Kempe’s 13 best finishes (through the complicated GPI tabulation system) has earned him 3401.13 points. Although he hasn’t earned points since his final table finish in the partypoker MILLIONS Vegas Main Event, that is good enough to thrust him into the lead overall.
It’s a significant lead, especially when it comes down to just a few points usually on the GPI rankings. Kenney eases into the second place slot on the GPI POY, racking up 3254.17 points, while a new name, Sam Greenwood, pops up in third place on the GPI rankings with 3233.32 points. Greenwood picked up a large number of points in the “smaller” events on the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series London stop but, as a comparison, it wasn’t enough to even get him into the Top Ten on the CardPlayer board (he is 15th).
Another name that doesn’t show up on the CardPlayer standings – at least high up on the standings – is Manig Loeser. Loeser has been able to put together enough good finishes to sit in fourth place with 3052.91 points. Here’s what may make Loeser a contender; Loeser still has some room for movement with his “best finishes,” whereas much of his competition is already maxing out their numbers. This also applies to Sean Winter, another player who doesn’t appear up on the CardPlayer rankings (he’s 18th); Winter’s 3031.11 points are good for fifth place.
More deviations appear as we look at the second five on the GPI POY. Chidwick finally shows up on the countdown in sixth place with 2985.80 points, followed by Ausmus (2943.48), defending GPI Player of the Year Alex Foxen (2883.81), Daniel Tang (2786.47), and Michael Soyza (2782.41) in the sixth through tenth places. On an interesting side note, the ladies are being represented by Kristen Bicknell, who is in 12th place on the GPI POY leaderboard; Bicknell doesn’t even show up in the CardPlayer Top 50 and isn’t even the highest ranked female player (that honor goes to Maria Ho).
On Your Mark…
After a brief respite from the tournament grind after the WSOP, the players are champing at the bit to get back on the felt. They’ll have plenty of chances to do that over the next couple of months as the European Poker Tour and the World Poker Tour kick up their action. The partypoker MILLIONS will be visiting the King’s Casino in Rozvadov for a stop and the WSOP Europe is looming on the horizon. While the players that are battling it out for supremacy now may have made their mark, there will be plenty of opportunities for someone to come from the pack to make a wire charge as we move to the final third of the season. While the players that are battling it out for supremacy now may have made their mark, there will be plenty of opportunities for someone to come from the pack to make a wire charge as we move to the final third of the season.