Poker Rankings Update: Ari Engel Early Leader in GPI Player of the Year Race

Alex Weldon : June 6th, 2016

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With the World Series of Poker underway, the Global Poker Index has begun posting its standings for Player of the Year and will soon be doing the same for WSOP Player of the Year, once those results start coming in. Ari Engel holds the pole position at the moment, but it would likely be an understatement to call his lead precarious, given some of the others in the top 10, including Steve O’Dwyer, who continues to hold the lead in the overall rolling power rankings. Engel also leads the Card Player Player of the Year race, and his prospects of holding on to it look better there, due to differences in the two systems.

As well as the WSOP, this week marks the beginning of the Global Poker League’s live summer series, with heads-up matches in the Cube to be held almost daily for the next six weeks. The Montreal Nationals are crushing in the Americas conference and so their competitors have a lot of work to do, but the Eurasia conference is still a toss-up, and the summer matches will very likely cause some shakeups there.

Global Poker Index

About the rankings: The GPI World Poker Rankings rates the top players in the world according to a system which awards points for tournament cashes based on buy-in, field size and finish position. Tournaments over the past three years are considered, but the weight accorded to older results diminishes with time.

The current Top 10

#1 Steve O’Dwyer – 4,329.51 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 Anthony Zinno – 4,202.59 pts. (#10 last month)
#3 Fedor Holz – 4,092.19 pts. (#8 last month)
#4 Bryn Kenney – 4,091.83 pts. (#3 last month)
#5 Jason Mercier – 3,971.40 pts. (#4 last month)
#6 Nick Petrangelo – 3,918.08 pts. (#7 last month)
#7 Dominik Nitsche – 3,997.38 pts. (#5 last month)
#8 Thomas Marchese – 3,749.91 pts. (#9 last month)
#9 Erik Seidel – 3,720.08 pts. (NEW)
#10 David Peters – 3,712.87 pts. (NEW)

Dropouts

Connor Drinan (#6 -> #12)
Byron Kaverman (#2 -> #19)

The year may have started slowly in terms of movement in the GPI rankings, but May was a huge month; although Steve O’Dwyer continues to hold the lead, nearly everything else has changed. Anthony Zinno, despite a relatively cold first quarter, showed he’s no flash in the pan, with three final tables since our last update: a pair of 6th place finishes in Monte Carlo high rollers, followed by 3rd place in the WPT Amsterdam Main Event. Fedor Holz is also muscling his way back into the top of the rankings where he belongs, bounding from 8th to 3rd with a solid performance at the EPT Grand Final.

As one rises, however, another must fall, and it’s been a fairly awful month for Connor Drinan and Byron Kaverman, who have only a single cash between them, a 13th place finish for Kaverman in the €25,000 High Roller at the EPT Grand Final. Competition is fierce at the top of the table, and it doesn’t take long for a player to drop out of the top 10 as soon as he stops putting up final tables.

Ari Engel, who is only 38th in the overall rankings, is nonetheless leading the Player of the Year race with 2,262.23 points, over a quarter of which come from his win in the Aussie Millions Main Event back in January. Holz and O’Dwyer are hot on his heels, however, and given the frequency with which those two win Super High-Roller events, one imagines those two would be favored to be ahead of Engel at the end of the year. Meanwhile, the WSOP is inevitably a dominant factor in any Player of the Year race, so we’d expect to see major shakeups in the next two months in any case.

Player of the Year

#1 Ari Engel – 2,262.23 pts.
#2 Fedor Holz – 2,207.90 pts.
#3 Steve O’Dwyer – 2,184.01 pts.
#4 Chance Kornuth – 2,124.36 pts.
#5 Samuel Panzica – 2,059.07 pts.
#6 Brian Altman – 2,053.77 pts.
#7 Bryn Kenney – 2,005.31 pts.
#8 Dominik Nitsche – 1,981.62 pts.
#9 Jason Wheeler – 1,975.24 pts.
#10 Ivan Luca – 1,917.31 pts.

Global Poker League

About the league: The Global Poker League is a “sportified” professional poker league which builds on the Global Poker Index. In this first season, 12 teams are competing, divided into two conferences – Americas and Eurasia. Each team’s manager was selected by the league, and the managers then selected a total of 6 players each (including themselves, in most cases), at least 4 of whom had to be in the GPI 1000 and opt in to a formal draft. Each week of the regular season sees two 6-max matches for each conference, played by one representative from each team, followed by two days of heads-up matches during which each team plays one set of 3 games. The 6-max games award from 1 point (for 5th) to 7 points (for 1st), and the heads-up matches award 3 points per win.

Current top 10 GPL players by GPI Ranking

#1 Fedor Holz (Los Angeles Sunset)
#2 Bryn Kenney (New York Rounders – MANAGER)
#3 Jason Mercier (New York Rounders)
#4 Dominik Nitsche (Berlin Bears)
#5 Thomas Marchese (New York Rounders)
#6 Mustapha Kanit (Rome Emperors)
#7 Davidi Kitai (Paris Aviators)
#8 Byron Kaverman (Sao Paulo Mets)
#9 Dario Sammartino (Rome Emperors)
#10 Kevin MacPhee (New York Rounders)

The New York Rounders continue to have the strongest lineup in the GPL as far as GPI rankings are concerned, though with Holz’s assent, they no longer look quite as dominant as they did last month. Overall, GPL players have not been doing well in tournaments of late, and we now have to go all the way down to 24th in the GPI standings to find our #10 player, Kevin MacPhee.

Current standings – Americas

#1 Montreal Nationals – 106 pts.
#2 LA Sunset – 95 pts.
#3 New York Rounders – 87 pts.
#4 Sao Paulo Mets – 82 pts.
#5 San Francisco Rush – 69 pts.
#6 Las Vegas Moneymakers – 65 pts.

Although the New York Rounders have continued to fare pretty well, the Montreal Nationals are absolutely crushing the Americas conference to many people’s surprise. They’ve got a fairly solid 11 point lead on 2nd place team the Los Angeles Sunset. At 3 points per match, that means the Sunset would need to manage a 4-match advantage over the course of the summer’s 18 matches to overtake Montreal before the mid-season break. The remaining teams are fairly evenly spaced out as well, so although some changes in the rankings can be expected, it’s likely that the overall picture will remain similar for the next six weeks.

Current standings – Eurasia

#1 London Royals – 97 pts.
#2 Moscow Wolverines – 92 pts.
#3 Hong Kong Stars – 91 pts.
#4 Paris Aviators – 86 pts.
#5 Berlin Bears – 74 pts.
#6 Rome Emperors – 63 pts.

The picture in Eurasia is quite different; there, the biggest separations are seen at the bottom of the table, with the Rome Emperors in a near-hopeless position already, and the Berlin Bears faring only slightly better. At the top, however, it’s a very tight race. The London Royals are currently leading with 97 points, but the same 11-point differential that we see between 1st and 2nd in the Americas is all that’s separating the Royals from the 4th place Paris Aviators. The Moscow Wolverines have been surprisingly strong in recent weeks and are now only 5 points behind the Royals, and in a virtual tie with the Hong Kong Stars who trail them by only a single point.

Although there is some potential for surprises in the Americas, then, one would expect the Eurasian conference to be the one to follow over the course of the summer, as any conceivable ordering of the top four teams is very possible at this point.

Card Player

About the rankings: Card Player unfortunately does not have a rolling leaderboard to compete with the GPI’s, but it does provide an alternative Player of the Year leaderboard. This year’s system is different from previous years’, but still differs dramatically from GPI’s in that its honors are largely awarded based on the number of important titles and final tables had by a player, rather than their consistency of cashing in high buy-in events. Comparing the two often provides interesting insight into players’ performance.

Player of the Year

#1 Ari Engel – 3,202 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 Anthony Gregg – 2,971 pts. (#2 last month)
#3 Chance Kornuth – 2,926 pts. (NEW)
#4 Bryn Kenney – 2,674 pts. (#4 last month)
#5 David Peters – 2,561 pts. (#5 last month)
#6 Dietrich Fast – 2,498 pts. (#3 last month)
#7 Steve O’Dwyer – 2,454 pts. (NEW)
#8 Fedor Holz – 2,368 pts. (NEW)
#9 Igor Kurganov – 2,334 pts. (NEW)
#10 Tony Dunst – 2,260 pts. (#10 last month)

Dropouts

Brian Piccioli (#6 -> #11)
Ivan Luca (#5 -> #14)
Stefan Schillhabel (#9 -> #15)

Chance Kornuth is the big story of the month according to Card Player’s scoring system. He won the €10,300 No-Limit Hold’em Eight Max at the EPT Grand Final at the end of April, then managed a 2nd place finish at the €2,150 No-Limit Hold’em Six Max at the same series a few days later. Although Engel holds a more substantial lead in the Card Player rankings than in the GPI’s, things are still close enough to be likely to change over the summer, especially because most WSOP events end up counting more heavily in Card Player’s system. Kornuth and Tony Gregg are both well-positioned to overtake Engel with a couple of decent final table appearances provided, of course, that Engel doesn’t put on a similar performance of his own.

PocketFives

About the rankings: Pocket Fives rankings are the equivalent of the GPI for the online poker world. It considers only the past year’s worth of results, with older results decaying in value and only the best 40 results for each player being counted. Needless to say, this system and the fast pace of online play make this leaderboard quite volatile.

The current Top 10

#1 joaosimaobh – 8,180.29 pts (#7 last month)
#2 C Darwin2 – 8,166.34 pts. (#2 last month)
#3 lena900 – 7,914.94 pts. (#1 last month)
#4 1_conor_b_1 – 7,460.68 pts. (NEW)
#5 Pot4teUS – 7,352.04 pts. (NEW)
#6 Ariados – 7,249.35 pts. (#3 last month)
#7 RoccoGe – 7,164.28 pts. (#9 last month)
#8 NoPlanB – 7,117.79 pts. (NEW)
#9 damourinio – 6,983.04 pts. (NEW)
#10 Big Huni – 6,958.30 pts. (#4 last month)

The effects of the recently-concluded Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) on PokerStars are plainly evident in the PocketFives rankings, just looking at the magnitude of the scores involved. Last month’s #1 player, Niklas “lena900″ Åstedt, had only 7,184.52 pts., but that would barely be enough to keep him in 6th this month had he not improved. Meanwhile, Sweden’s “C Darwin2″ is back over 8000 points, which is generally enough to ensure a commanding lead, yet now he finds himself outdone by Brazil’s Joao “joaosimaobh” Simao, who has a staggering 8,180.29 points.

That’s big news for the GPL in general and the Sao Paulo Metropolitans in particular, as they’re still the only team with a player in the Top 10 online, and now the only one with a player who has been in first – a record that one expects might hold for quite some time, given how tough the online world is, and how many players are in competition, relative to the tiny fields of the high stakes live tournaments which are most important to the GPI rankings.

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