Although Bryn Kenney continues to lead the various Player of the Year races in the tournament poker world, there is a humongous difference as those lists are examined. A grand total of 26 men can claim that they are one of the Top Ten players in the world, an unheard-of number by this point in the year.
On the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year leaderboard, Kenney has been the overall leader since the start of the year. After giving the poker world a chance to catch up during the World Series of Poker, Kenney got back to his “bread and butter” – the High Roller games – and has been on a tear. A victory at the inaugural Poker Masters event, along with a seventh-place finish and a runner up finish at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona’s €25,000 High Roller event, has pushed Kenney over the 6000-point mark – 6204, to be precise.
No other player on the CardPlayer rankings has more than 5000 points. Kenney’s closest competitor is Koray Aldemir, who has racked up an impressive 4956 points that included four final tables in August and September. That barely outpaces Justin Bonomo, who used a couple of middle pack finishes at the Poker Masters series to keep his name in the mix with 4346 points.
A surprise on the CardPlayer table is Italy’s Raffaele Sorrentino. The winner of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo Main Event nearly made it a two-fer when he finished in third place at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona. Those two finishes catapulted the Italian into fourth place with 4224 points, 100 points more than fifth place Jason Koon. Rounding out the Top Ten on the CardPlayer rankings are Fedor Holz (sixth place, 4097 points), David Peters (seventh, 4002), Joe McKeehen (eighth, 3907), Benjamin Pollak (ninth, 3760) and Jake Schindler (tenth, 3646)
If you’re expecting to see the same suspects on the Global Poker Index rankings, you’re in for a rude awakening. Although Kenney (3284.93 points) and Aldemir (3149.15 points) are first and second, respectively, none of the remaining CardPlayer Top Ten are even close (Peters is the closest to cracking the GPI Top Ten, sitting in twelfth place with his 2745.14 points). That leaves a whole new list of men who are looking to take down Kenney and Aldemir.
Nick Petrangelo, who finished 2016 in eighth place on the GPI rankings, is in a stronger place in 2017 with his 3058.14 points to take third place. While an Italian is a part of the GPI listings, it isn’t Sorrentino but Dario Sammartino who is representing the country in fourth place with his 2928.47 points. Finishing off the Top Five on the 2017 GPI ratings is Dan Smith, holding 2841.98 points.
If those three at the end of the Top Five weren’t what you were expecting, then the remainder of the Top Ten should serve as a shock. Spain’s Sergio Aido is nipping at Smith’s heels with his 2809.01 points in sixth place. Aido cannot get complacent as the remainder of the Top Ten is within 40 points of knocking him down the standings. Pete Chen (seventh place, 2781.4 points), Stephen Chidwick (eighth, 2778.51), Anthony Spinella (ninth, 2769.89) and Dejuante Alexander (2769.61) all are a threat to not only Aido but also to those up the ladder.
The reason that there might be more of a race with the GPI rather than the CardPlayer rankings is the way the GPI calculates its scoring. A player’s top 13 finishes are used to calculate their accumulated points. For players like Kenney and Aldemir, they have almost maxed out their points with little chance at improving one of their top 13 scores to a better one. For those players down the leaderboard, they have a chance – albeit a bit of a slim one – to improve on their scores and rise to challenge the overall leaders.
Entering the final quarter of the 2017 tournament poker season, the opportunities for players to catch Kenney or Aldemir are slipping away. The World Poker Tour has four events before the close of 2017, including their always popular stop at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (the High Roller tournament there should draw a huge field). The PokerStars Championships unbelievably has only one tournament scheduled over the next three months, the PokerStars Championship Prague, but the High Roller tournaments put on with that circuit (and the December time frame of the Prague stop) should have another huge crowd. You also can’t overlook the smaller events such as the PokerStars Festivals, the WPT DeepStacks, the WSOP Circuit and other tours and their action.
Kenney has been the dominant force since the cards hit the air at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas in January. But the same was true last year, when Fedor Holz dominated the opposition before Peters snuck up and snatched away both the CardPlayer and GPI crowns. Could we see that again in 2017? It would be a difficult task, but it can be done.
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