Posts Tagged ‘player’

WSOP Changes Player of the Year Formula

 WSOP Changes Player of the Year Formula

On Thursday, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) announced that it has made changes to the WSOP Player of Year points formula, based very much on feedback from players.

The WSOP Player of the Year formula has gone through several iterations over the years. POY standings began in 2004 and from then through 2010, the World Series of Poker had its own formula. From 2011 through 2014, poker media outlet Bluff took over as caretaker of the rankings. For the next two years, the WSOP used the Global Poker Index’s proprietary formula, and last year, King’s Casino took care of the rankings.

It is probably impossible to come up with the perfect tournament rankings system and no matter how the formula is massaged, not everyone will be pleased with it. The biggest problem with last year’s formula was that it rewarded high volume, min-cash players way too much. Most of the players at the top of the WSOP Player of the Year standings were very deserving, but the weakness of the formula was on display with the winner, poker’s persona non grata, Chris Ferguson.

On top of being a guy that almost nobody wanted to see rewarded, Ferguson’s rise to the top of the standings was fueled by tiny cashes. He cashed 17 times in the traditional WSOP in Las Vegas and another 6 times at WSOP Europe. In Las Vegas, most of his cashes were in the four-figure range, which is a lot of money for me, but nearly nothing for a WSOP event. He did make two final tables, so that’s good. In Europe, he won a bracelet in a €1,650 buy-in event with fewer than 100 players.

It’s not that Ferguson performed poorly at the WSOP – 23 cashes is certainly some nice work – but it wasn’t a performance that felt deserving of Player of the Year.

In the meantime, David Bach won two bracelets – one in a $ 10,000 championship event – and had an 11th place finish among his five cashes, and was only able to finish 87th in the POY standings.

Thus, the WSOP has adjusted its formula, trying to achieve a balance of rewarding both consistency (number of cashes) and deep runs. The new formula, the WSOP says, is loosely based on the WSOP Circuit’s points system.

The most significant change is that bracelet wins are weighted much more heavily than they have been. In examples given in a press release, the points awarded for a win ranged from 3.25 to 8.16 times the points awarded for a min-cash. This year, the winner of an event will usually win around 20 times the points of someone who min-cashes.

According to the WSOP, Chris Ferguson still would have been Player of the Year last year, so the changes aren’t that good. Interestingly, the article the WSOP put out about the new formula did not mention Ferguson by name, just referring to him as the “winner.” Could be a coincidence, but I choose to believe it was done purposely.

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Maria Lampropulos, Christopher Kruk Take Early Leads in Player of the Year Races

 Maria Lampropulos, Christopher Kruk Take Early Leads in Player of the Year Races

Yes, it is very early in the year. Yes, these folks probably won’t be here when we come to June (heck, maybe even March). But, for right now, two players – Maria Lampropulos and Christopher Kruk – can lay claim to the title of “best poker player” as they lead the Poker Player of the Year races.

On the CardPlayer Player of the Year rankings, it is the champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure who can lay claim to the crown. The Argentine sensation romped to the title and its million dollars plus payday earlier this week, earning 2100 points for her efforts. The runner up in that tournament, Shawn Buchanan, settles into the second-place slot on the CardPlayer rankings, earning 1750 points for his performance in the tournament. Also making a nice showing at the 2018 PCA was Koray Aldemir, who took third in the Main Event and finished in the runner up slot in the $ 25,000 High Roller; between the two tournaments, Aldemir earned over $ 660,000 and picked up 1610 points.

The High Roller tournaments at the PCA didn’t have as much effect on the POY races in 2018 as they did in the past. Perhaps because of some changes to their computations, the CardPlayer board didn’t overload points on the victors in the big High Roller events. Thus, players like Steve O’Dwyer (who won the $ 50K High Roller with 46 players) and Cary Katz (the champion of the $ 100K Super High Roller with 48 players) didn’t earn as many points as they might have in the past.

While he might not have gotten as much for his win in one of the $ 25K High Rollers, Christopher Kruk made the most of his time down in the Bahamas. Over the span of five days, Kruk earned three cashes, including two final tables and a win. In earning over $ 900,000, Kruk picked up 1113 points, landing in fourth place on the CardPlayer ladder ahead of the fourth-place finisher in the PCA Main Event (and defending Player of the Year) Adrian Mateos’ 1050 points.

Rounding out the bottom of the Top Ten on the CardPlayer board is Justin Bonomo (1004 points), Jason Strasser (960), defending World Champion Scott Baumstein (960), Daniel Coupal (875) and Darryl Ronconi (840) in sixth through tenth places, respectively.

Kruk has no such issues with new computations when it comes to the Global Poker Index ranking of the Player of the Year. The three cashes he earned at the PCA earned him 749.95 points, good enough to catapult him into the lead in the early going. The surprise is Norway’s Aylar Lie, who has been able to take the second slot on the GPI rankings without leaving Europe. Lie cashed six times at the Merit Poker Western Tournament, including a win in a $ 500 Bounty tournament, to rack up 631.15 points. Lie’s success is further accentuated by the fact that Lampropulos earned 606.34 points for her PCA Main Event championship and was only good enough for third place.

Another player who decided against journeying to the Bahamas makes the board in fourth place. Ole Schemion won the World Poker Tour European Championship in Berlin on Monday, to earn 423.22 points (and another cash in a preliminary) and the fourth-place post with 550.61 points. That was enough to eclipse Bonomo in fifth place (543.99 points) as the midpoint of the month is reached.

Rounding out the Top Ten on the GPI POY are a few more surprises. Benjamin Pollak (543.98, sixth), Isaac Haxton (537.95, seventh), Daniel Jones (532.38, eighth), Jeffrey Trudeau (524.91) is ninth and Kunal Patni (518.14, tenth) round out the leaderboard.

Don’t worry, there won’t be a test on this subject. By the end of the month, it is entirely possible that an entire new list of contenders will be sitting in these seats with the Aussie Millions, the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and the L. A. Poker Classis either starting or finishing up their play. But to have a great year of poker is to start off well, and the players listed above have done it. Now they can look to improve on what has been an excellent start to their season.

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Stunning Late Season Move Puts Adrian Mateos Over Bryn Kenney in Player of the Year Races

 Stunning Late Season Move Puts Adrian Mateos Over Bryn Kenney in Player of the Year Races

In a stunning, late season move that is similar to what occurred last year, Spanish poker professional Adrian Mateos has used a surge of success at the tables to pass the man who has led virtually since the start of the year, Bryn Kenney, in the Player of the Year races in tournament poker.

Mateos began the month of December in fourth place on the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year leaderboard behind Kenney and it seemed that he was going to have a tough time catching the leader. Not only did he have to climb over two people to even reach Kenney, Mateos had to make up roughly 2000 points to even have a chance at equaling Kenney. But that is exactly what Mateos has done, utilizing the final PokerStars Championship event to do it.

After finishing off November by winning the $ 5000 Eight Handed No Limit Hold’em tournament at the Caribbean Poker Party, Mateos went on a run in December that was stunning. Beginning at the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Mateos earned three final table finishes, but he wasn’t done yet. Flying back to Europe for the PSC Prague (which would turn out to be the final event ever on that circuit), Mateos earned four more cashes, three final tables and two tournaments that earned him POY points. By the end of December, Mateos had totaled up 2118 points to pass Kenney and take over first place.

It wasn’t like Kenney didn’t try to maintain his lead. He picked up 105 points for a seventh-place finish in the $ 25,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament on the WPT Five Diamond schedule, but it wasn’t enough to ward off the invading Spaniard. As of December 30 (and barring any last-minute finishes), Mateos and his 7220 points will earn the CardPlayer POY over Kenney’s 7173 points.

The remainder of the Top Ten on the CardPlayer list were seemingly OK with where they finished on the end-of-year rankings as they didn’t make a serious drive upwards. Fedor Holz, the runner-up in 2016 (more on this in a minute) will finish in the third-place slot in 2017, earning 5875 points (and more than $ 6.3 million) to hold off Koray Aldemir (5510) in fourth place. Justin Bonomo used a steady stream of cashes in the Five Diamond $ 25K tournaments to ease into fifth place (5411), while 2016 Player of the Year David Peters (5034), Stephen Chidwick (4912), Jason Koon (4859), Steffen Sontheimer (4782) and Benjamin Pollak (4660) round out the sixth through tenth places, respectively.

Mateos’ late season surge also saw him eclipse Kenney on the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race. Much like the CardPlayer ladder, Mateos was in fifth place to start the month on the GPI board with plenty of space for his numbers to rise (under the GPI rankings, only the 13 best finishes for a player, utilizing a complex calculating system, are counted towards the rankings). Of the seven cashes that Mateos had, five of them improved his 13-tournament total. That 1051.36 increase was enough to push him over the top.

As of December 30, Mateos has the top slot on the GPI POY with a total of 3504.71, while Kenney had to stand pat on his 3478.06 points because his effort at the Five Diamond didn’t knock off one of his 13 prior finishes. Chidwick also climbed a bit during the month of December, moving into third place (3247.43) over Peters (3244.62). Dan Smith, who won the $ 100,000 Super High Roller at the Five Diamond and picked up some more points in another $ 25K event, jumped up to fifth place (3235.92) to conclude 2017.

Rounding out the Top Ten on the GPI POY are Ari Engel (3206.87), Holz (3172.03), Koon (3138.27), Nick Petrangelo (3133.46) and Stefan Schillhabel (3123.39) in the sixth through tenth positions.

The final month of 2017 is remarkable in its similarity to what happened last year. In 2016, Holz dominated the POY races all season long before, in a last-minute rush, Peters was able to pass Holz and take away both POY titles. If Kenney doesn’t find a poker tournament between now and Monday, he will fall victim to the same late-season lightning strike that hit Holz in 2016, only this time at the hands of Mateos.

The end of season rush by Mateos also demonstrates one of the problems that the ranking systems haven’t been able to overcome. Of the eight tournaments (counting the Caribbean tournament) that Mateos played to overcome Kenney, four of them were High Roller events with a buy in over $ 25,000. Without those high-dollar tournaments (which add more points due to their buy-in but offer fewer obstacles in the number of players), it is unlikely that Mateos would have even gotten within sniffing distance of Kenney, who himself built the massive lead he had through primarily playing High Roller events (of his 29 cashes in 2017, 25 of them were in tournaments with more than a $ 25K buy-in).

Hopefully the CardPlayer and Global Poker Index rankings will find a way to deal with the far too numerous High Roller and Super High Roller events in 2018 (limiting the number of cashes from such events might be a good start). For 2017, however, the ink is almost dry as Adrian Mateos looks to become one of the youngest, if not THE youngest, player (23) to ever capture the awards in the two predominant Player of the Year races.

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Christmas Gifts for the Poker Player in Your Life

 Christmas Gifts for the Poker Player in Your Life

The Thanksgiving turkey’s carcass has been cast into the trash, people have gotten over their tryptophan comas and life is moving on, so you know what that means…it’s time to start thinking about Christmas! Yes, that delightful time of the year when we look at our loved ones and say to ourselves, “What the heck do I get you this year?” If that person is a poker player, there are some suggestions that we here at Poker News Daily can make.


Everyone thinks that poker books have gone out of favor. The exact opposite is true. If you look hard enough, you can come up with some great poker books that have been released over the past year. And, if you look inside the covers, you’ll probably find that D&B Publishing has been a part of bringing that book to you. There are at least three of their offerings you should take a look at.

First, there’s the autobiography of Phil Hellmuth. Poker Brat:  Phil Hellmuth’s Autobiography is as billed…the story of arguably the greatest poker player of all time in his own words. In the book, we get to find out some of the things that helped to drive the 14-time World Series of Poker champion from his quaint home in Wisconsin to reach his goals of poker superstardom. I challenge anyone to read this book and not hear Hellmuth’s voice reading it.

For a change of pace (and a bit of humility), there is the autobiography of 2016 WSOP Championship Event winner Qui Nguyen. From Vietnam to Vegas! How I Won the World Series of Poker Main Event is a hand-by-hand analysis of Nguyen’s victory at last year’s WSOP while simultaneously telling his life story. Beginning as a child in Saigon until that bright night in November 2016 when he captured poker’s World Championship, Nguyen tells a story (and offers insights into the hands that carried him to the title) that is engrossing and dramatic. (Writer’s note:  a full review of the book will be forthcoming.)

Finally, there’s the story of the United Kingdom’s Chris Moorman. Moorman:  The Inside Story of the Most Successful Online Poker Player of All Time is the book that arguably should have been released before his Moorman’s Book of Poker because it offers a bit of history behind Moorman himself rather than just throwing the reader into reviewing poker hands. There is some of that review in Moorman, but there’s some background given to the reader as Moorman delves into his life and what drove him to his success today.

These are but a few of the releases from D&B Publishing. It would behoove you to check them out if you’ve got a poker fan on your gift list.


There are those people on your list that are quite difficult to buy a gift for. In those instances, you have to go more for the uniqueness of the gift rather than maybe its functionality. ManCrates is an outlet where you can find that unique gift.

ManCrates is offering an “Ammo Can Poker Set” which will at least give the base for someone’s next poker game (they may need more chips!). A 300-chip poker set is joined with two decks of cards inside an ammunition cannister, perhaps knocking off someone who has a fondness for weapons at the same time. If the poker set doesn’t exactly meet your needs, there are a wealth of other items that you might find for a gift.


If you’ve got a bit of money to spend on that Christmas gift – and you’ve got some room in the house – then BDO Poker Tables may have something up your alley. Whether it is a simple poker table or a custom build, BDO Poker Tables should be able to come up with something that will please the poker player on your list. There’s a reason that the company is the official poker table of the World Poker Tour – they do quality work and for a fair price.


At least until they are banned, poker players can still wear sunglasses on the tables. The eyewear made by Blue Shark Optics are in high demand from poker players because of the variety of their product as well as the quality. The company states that their glasses stop “100% of UV and over 90% of Blue Light distortion with minimal color distortion.” This is critical in that UV light can damage your vision and, in extreme circumstances, can cause cataracts and macular degeneration. The company also offers eyewear for other life situations such as computer usage and driving, but it is their poker product that they are most known for.

There are usually some things out there that poker players would be excited to receive. What are some of the suggestions that you would make? Let us know and perhaps we’ll create another list of reader suggestions!

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Can Bryn Kenney Hold onto Player of the Year?

 Can Bryn Kenney Hold onto Player of the Year?

With roughly six weeks to go in the tournament poker season, there is virtually only one question left:  can Bryn Kenney, who has led the various Player of the Year races since the start of the year, hold onto those leads as the year comes to a close?

On the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race Kenney, through the usage of the High Roller tournaments, built up a tremendous lead by the halfway mark of the year. The lead was big enough that Kenney took off the entirety of the World Series of Poker and nobody came close to his point total. Although he was only able to tack on 224 points in the last month through a €25,000 non-bracelet event at the World Series of Poker Europe, Kenney has a dominant lead over the field with his 6708 points.

But is it enough? Last year the man who is currently in second place in the POY standings, Fedor Holz, thought that he had racked up enough points to take the honors. Holz took his foot off the gas and, in the final six weeks of the calendar year, saw David Peters storm past him. Peters used a third-place finish in the last-ever European Poker Tour event, a fifth-place finish in the $ 25,000 WPT Five Diamond High Roller event and won the last $ 25,000 Aria High Roller tournament on December 28 to steal the POY title from Holz.

Now Holz is in that position, at least on the CardPlayer rankings. Holz has earned 5497 points, which included a runner-up finish in the $ 1 Million (HKD) Triton Super High Roller Series for a $ 2,131,740 payday and 800 POY points. With more than 1200 points between him and Kenney (1211, to be exact), it may prove to be too tough a river to cross.

Behind Holz, the players are all jockeying to make their mark on the Top Ten for the 2017 calendar year as going for the top of the heap may be out of the question. Koray Aldemir has been able to move up the ladder into the third-place slot with his 4956 points, but he has more to worry about than trying to catch Holz. Right behind Aldemir is Adrian Mateos, who 4892 points have him right on Aldemir’s heels. Should both men falter, Justin Bonomo is lurking in the fifth-place slot with 4598 points and could pass them both.

The bottom half of the CardPlayer Top Ten has more of the “usual suspects” from the High Roller world. Stephen Chidwick (4522 points), Benjamin Pollak (4460), defending champion David Peters (4422), Steffen Sontheimer (4352) and Jason Koon (4334) are ranked in sixth through tenth places, respectively. All five men routinely can be found in the High Roller events, but it is going to take more than a decent finish in those High Rollers (perhaps a win in another tournament) to mount up enough points to even challenge Holz for second.

Kenney’s in the lead on the Global Poker Index standings, but it is a bit more precarious there. Because the GPI rankings only tabulate the best 13 finishes of a player in a complicated formula, there isn’t much room for Kenney to expand his lead. In Kenney’s case, he currently sits in first place with his 3478.06 points, but he cannot add any more points to his total unless the calculated finish beats his lowest finish of 194.27 points (from his runner-up finish in a 33-player preliminary event during the PokerStars Championships Bahamas). While it is possible that another High Roller finish might do it, it is not going to be for a huge amount of points.

The player chasing Kenney – and the one with the best chance to pass him – is Chidwick. With his 3236.07 points, Chidwick has taken the second slot from Aldemir and has low enough finishes to improve his standing. Chidwick’s 58th place finish in the $ 3000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the WSOP in Las Vegas only got him 111.37 points; another strong finish in a High Roller or even another major tournament could push him past Kenney with ease.

Aldemir is only about 40 points back of Chidwick, but he doesn’t have the room to grow that Chidwick does. With 3197.38 points, Aldemir could work his way up, but the High Roller events he favors have set his bottom level of points quite high. The same could also be said for fourth place Nick Petrangelo (3134.62 points) and fifth place Adrian Mateos (3128.58 points).

The players in the second tier of the Top Ten are probably going to have to be happy with their Top Ten finish. Dan Smith (3057.16 points), Dario Sammartino (3006.34) Stefan Shillhabel (2996.56), Steve O’Dwyer (2930.15) and Dejuante Alexander (2919.11) are the holders of the sixth through tenth slots, respectively. Alexander is notable in the fact he has amassed his point total through events with a buy in of less than $ 4000; most of his competition’s point totals have been built through the smaller fields but bigger buy in ($ 10,000 and up) “High Roller” tournaments.

With only six weeks to go, the players are going to have to do some globe hopping if they are going to get every point available. The World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas will have some effect on the standings, as will the PokerStars Championship Prague. A slew of WPT DeepStacks events and other minor events could be critical to those looking to climb into the standings also. It promises to be an interesting six weeks as Bryn Kenney looks to fight off the challenges and hold both Player of the Year awards come December 31.

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