Citizens of the States of America can have the tendency to think that they’re the only country that matters. This creates a bit of animosity, especially when the international community is called the “rest of the world.” With this in mind – and with the World Series of Poker around the corner – we here at Poker News Daily have decided to look at the players who are considered the “best” in their respective countries for this year ahead of the action in Las Vegas.
U. S. Players Dominate World Rankings
Whether it is because of the number of players or the number of tournaments, U. S. players dominate the upper echelons of the world rankings. The Top Five players in the U. S. – Justin Bonomo, Joseph Cheong, Isaac Haxton, Timothy Miles and Dylan Wilkerson – hold five of the top nine places on the Global Poker Index 2018 Player of the Year race and the sixth best player, Brian Altman, is #10 on the GPI POY. Overall, the Top 10 players in the U. S. ratings have exactly half of the Top 20 places worldwide and any of these men are a threat in Vegas this summer.
Canada Claims the Best Female Player
In looking at Canada, there may not be the numbers that once were, but they can claim the best female player in the world. As Sam Greenwood holds the top slot for all Canadians in this year’s POY race, it is Kristen Bicknell who is making some noise as the second best Canadian poker player. In addition to that prestigious slot, Bicknell is also the 12th ranked player in the world, according to the GPI POY. Considering her previous work at the WSOP, you can’t count Bicknell out for making some more noise on this list.
Rounding out the Top Five for the “Great White North” are players who are readily recognizable for the poker world. Ari Engel, Daniel Negreanu and Timothy Adams are in the three through five slots, respectively, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they were a force during this year’s WSOP.
All Hail the U. K.? Not So Fast…
While they have been a threat in tournament poker for decades, it hasn’t come to pass that a player from the United Kingdom has taken the top slot in the worldwide rankings. That was until now; Stephen Chidwick ascended to the top of the GPI Player of the Year race, thus it is natural that he would be the #1 player in all the U. K. The problem is that his countrymen aren’t exactly racing up the charts after him.
You must go to the #25 slot on the GPI POY, where Jack Sinclair is located, to find the #2 player in the U. K. this year. The news gets worse when you look at the #3 through #5 players – Toby Lewis, Guy Taylor and Chris Moorman, respectively – who barely make the Top 75 in the world or don’t make it at all (Moorman is #140). Considering that any player coming from outside North America is playing a “road game,” it is going to be tough on them – but don’t count them out of the mix.
What About Germany?
For the past couple of years, the Germans have been the dominant players in the High Roller field. But how have they fared in the total arena of tournament poker? The answer: not so well.
Other than Rainer Kempe, who is the #1 player in Germany and the #2 player as far as the GPI POY, there isn’t another German pro in the Top Ten. Manig Loeser is the second-best player in Germany so far this year, with Dominik Nitsche, Ole Schemion and Jan Eric Schwippert rounding out the Top Five; those four players are all in the Top 50 for the overall POY.
What about some of the German wunderkinds like Fedor Holz, Steffen Sontheimer and Martin Finger? They are down the board on both the German rankings (#17 for Finger, #23 for Sontheimer and Holz doesn’t even SHOW for 2018) and the overall 2018 POY race (#461 for Finger, #704 for Sontheimer).
There’s some other countries to look at out there, with players who might be ready for prime time and ready to explode at the 2018 WSOP. We’ll look at them in the second part of this look at the best of the world later this week.