Poker Rankings Update: GPL Regular Season Concludes, Sweden’s Online Reign Disrupted

Alex Weldon : October 28th, 2016

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The regular season of the first year of the Global Poker League (GPL) is now all wrapped up, with the Montreal Nationals winning the Americas Conference, and the Moscow Wolverines on top in Eurasia. Four of the twelve teams have been eliminated before the post-season begins: The Las Vegas Moneymakers and New York Rounders in the Americas, and the Paris Aviators and Rome Emperors in Eurasia.

Very little has changed on the live tournament scene in the past month and a half; Fedor Holz still holds a commanding lead in the Global Poker Index (GPI) rankings and is likewise a favourite to take both the Card Player and GPI Player of the Year races. Online, however, there has been a bit of a shakeup, as the long-running dominance of Swedish players has come to an end – or at least has been put on hold temporarily.

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.

Current Top 10

#1 Fedor Holz – 4,864.27 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 Nick Petrangelo – 4,371.91 pts. (#3 last month)
#3 Jason Mercier – 4,303.31 pts. (#4 last month)
#4 Steve O’Dwyer – 4,231.81 pts. (#3 last month)
#5 Conor Drinan – 4,183.95 pts. (#6 last month)
#6 Anthony Zinno – 4,056.54 pts. (#7 last month)
#7 Byron Kaverman – 4,044.55 pts. (#5 last month)
#8 David Peters – 3,963.00 pts. (#8 last month)
#9 Bryn Kenney – 3,946.91 pts. (#9 last month)
#10 Dominik Nitsche – 3,847.43 pts. (NEW)

Dropouts

Adrian Mateos (#10 -> #12)

Generally speaking, none of the world’s top 10 players have managed anything particularly impressive since our last update. For the most part, scores have been declining due to expiring results, and changes in rank have been determined by who’s been treated more kindly by the vagaries of the results-aging system.

Fedor Holz and Nick Petrangelo have held their positions in first and second respectively, despite no cashes on record since EPT Barcelona in August, and Jason Mercier has climbed to third despite likewise having been silent through September and October, while Steve O’Dwyer drops to fourth, as his min-cash in Event #44 of the EPT Malta was not enough to move his score.

Byron Kaverman, who had an extremely hot 2015, is consequently suffering the worst of it when it comes to the discounting of his older results; he drops to seventh, while Conor Drinan and Anthony Zinno are the beneficiaries of his descent. Finally, at the bottom of the list, Dominik Nitsche sneaks into 10th – again, through no doing of his own – as Adrian Mateos falls to 12th.

Player of the Year

#1 Fedor Holz – 3,637.69 pts.
#2 Chance Kornuth – 3,336.54 pts.
#3 Paul Volpe – 3,192.20 pts.
#4 David Peters – 3,131.44 pts.
#5 Adrian Mateos – 3,045.89 pts.
#6 Nick Petrangelo – 3,008.21 pts.
#7 Ivan Luca – 2,992.47 pts.
#8 Jason Mercier – 2,931.51 pts.
#9 Samuel Panzica – 2,927.70 pts.
#10 Connor Drinan – 2,926.70 pts.

Here too, very little has changed. Paul Volpe and David Peters both managed moderate cashes recently – Volpe at the WPT Borgata in September and Peters early this month at the Aria – but Volpe’s was worth a few more points, enough to move him into third.

A real dark horse has appeared at the bottom end of the list, however, in the form of Samuel Panzica, a guy who was playing mostly small- and medium-stakes tournaments until this year, but went on a heater at the EPT Dublin in February, taking 5th in a €500 Hyper-Turbo, using the winnings to enter a €2,000 event, which he min-cashed, and then decided to try his luck in the €10,000 Main Event, which he ended up taking down for €375,770. He followed that up by narrowly missing the final table of the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star in March, cashing the High Roller at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, winning the Florida State Championships in July for $117,282, and now taking down the $5,000 Main Event at WPT Jacksonville for another $354,335. He’ll certainly be an interesting one to watch, as he’s gone from roughly 600th in the GPI to 67th in the past 12 months and shows no signs of stopping.

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.

Final Standings – Americas Conference

1st Seed: Montreal Nationals (199 pts.)
2nd Seed: Los Angeles Sunset (188 pts.)
3rd Seed: Sao Paulo Metropolitans (183 pts.)
4th Seed: San Francisco Rush (161 pts.)
Eliminated (5th): New York Rounders (158 pts.)
Eliminated (6th): Las Vegas Moneymakers (140 pts.)

The regular season concluded yesterday with what was meant to be three heads-up matches in the Americas conference. The scores were sufficiently spread out to begin with that most teams’ positions in the standings were already settled before the day began, and Kitty Kuo failed to show up for the San Francisco Rush, giving the Montreal Nationals a clean sweep by forfeit. That could have proven controversial, as a clean sweep for the Sunset and a 0-3 result for the Nationals could theoretically have resulted in LA finishing on top, but in any case, Sunset manager Maria Ho lost her first game against Kevin Macphee of the Las Vegas Moneymakers, making the point moot.

The way the playoffs are structured, Montreal will now play 4th seed San Francisco Rush in the semifinals with a starting chip advantage, and Los Angeles will play the 3rd seed Sao Paulo Metropolitans, likewise with the chip advantage.

Final Standings – Eurasia Conference

1st Seed: Moscow Wolverines (171 pts.)
2nd Seed: Hong Kong Stars (164 pts.)
3rd Seed: Berlin Bears (160 pts.)
4th Seed: London Royals (156 pts.)
Eliminated (5th): Paris Aviators (156 pts.)
Eliminated (6th): Rome Emperors (154 pts.)

The Eurasian conference was tighter than the Americas throughout the season, and appropriately, the standings going into the playoffs came down to wire in the final week. In the Americas, 16 points was the difference between the 1st place Nationals and 3rd place Metropolitans; in Eurasia, the difference between 1st place and elimination was only 15.

The Moscow Wolverines (1st) and Hong Kong Stars (2nd) proved this season that name recognition in the English-speaking world isn’t an accurate measure of poker skill; both were overlooked by many poker fans following draft day, as they lacked the star power of teams like the London Royals and Berlin Bears. Although those latter teams both managed to make the playoffs as well, it was a much dicier proposition for them, with the third-place Bears only four points ahead of the Royals, and the Royals just barely beating the Paris Aviators for the final playoff berth on a tie-breaker. Even the Rome Emperors, who seemed doomed early in the season, ended the season trailing the pack by a mere two points.

Moscow will hold the chip advantage over the Royals in the semi-finals, while Hong Kong will play the deeper stack against Berlin.

Current Top 10 GPL players by GPI Ranking

#1 Fedor Holz (Los Angeles Sunset)
#2 Jason Mercier (New York Rounders)
#3 Anthony Zinno (Las Vegas Moneymakers)
#4 Byron Kaverman (Sao Paulo Mets)
#5 Bryn Kenney (New York Rounders – MANAGER)
#6 Dominik Nitsche (Berlin Bears)
#7 Thomas Marchese (New York Rounders)
#8 Justin Bonomo (London Royals)
#9 Davidi Kitai (Paris Aviators)
#10 Chance Kornuth (Los Angeles Sunset)

GPL Regular Season MVPs (by %age of possible points scored, minimum 5 matches played)

#1 Martin Jacobson (Montreal Nationals, 73% efficiency)
#2 Liv Boeree (London Royals, 69% efficiency)
#3 Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal Nationals, 67% efficiency)
#4 Jason Lavallee (Montreal Nationals, 66% efficiency)
#5 Felipe Ramos (Sao Paulo Metropolitans, 65% efficiency)
#6 Alexandre Luneau (Paris Aviators, 65% efficiency)
#7 Fedor Holz (Los Angeles Sunset, 62% efficiency)
#8 Olivier Busquet (Los Angeles Sunset, 62% efficiency)
#9 Anton Wigg (San Francisco Rush, 62% efficiency)
#10 Scott Ball (Las Vegas Moneymakers, 61% efficiency)

Not only does name recognition seem to matter much when it comes to GPL performance, but GPI ranking seems to have minimal – or perhaps even negative – predictive power as well. Of the top 10 players by GPI ranking, six play for teams which have been eliminated before the playoffs. The main exception is Fedor Holz, whose performance for the LA Sunset held up to his hype as the #1 player in the GPI; although he was only the 7th most efficient player in terms of percentage of points scored (ignoring players with 4 or fewer matches), he showed a great deal of work ethic, leading the league in terms of total points and total matches played.

Looking at efficiency, it’s easy to see how the Montreal Nationals came out on top of the league; consistency is key in the regular season, and the Nationals are a team without many weak links. Half of the team is in the top 5, while Mike McDonald and Xuan Liu both have above average efficiencies of 57% and 61% respectively; only the team manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur performed poorly, at 31%, and this is a trend for many of the team managers who elected to draft themselves, Liv Boeree of the London Royals being a notable exception.

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 Fedor Holz – 6,758 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 David Peters – 5,101 pts. (#2 last month)
#3 Chance Kornuth – 4,794 pts. (#5 last month)
#4 Connor Drinan – 4,512 pts. (#3 last month)
#5 Justin Bonomo – 4,470 pts. (#4 last month)
#6 Ari Engel – 4,369 pts. (#6 last month)
#7 Sam Soverel – 4,165 pts. (NEW)
#8 Ivan Luca – 3,958 pts. (#7 last month)
#9 Cary Katz – 3,930 pts. (NEW)
#10 Tony Dunst – 3,740 pts. (#8 last month)

Dropouts

Joseph McKeehen (#9 -> #11)
Nick Petrangelo (#10 -> #12)

There are now even more players in contention for the runner-up spot than there were in September, but first place still looks like a lock for Fedor Holz. Chance Kornuth has climbed into 3rd and now sits almost exactly halfway between David Peters and Connor Drinan. Meanwhile, Sam Soverel and Cary Katz have clawed their way into the leaderboard, the latter with a pair of Aria High Roller final tables early in October. Katz also managed a cash in the €1 Million Big One for One Drop, but as that event was an invitational this time around, it does not count for rankings or Player of the Year races.

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 SixthSenSe19 – 9,432.27 pts. (NEW)
#2 alexd2 – 8,609.35 pts. (#5 last month)
#3 joaomathias – 8,564.72 pts. (#4 last month)
#4 C Darwin2 – 8,265.58 pts. (#1 last month)
#5 lena900 – 7,852.44 pts. (#2 last month)
#6 r4ndomr4gs – 7,488.57 pts. (#10 last month)
#7 pleno1 – 7,322.83 pts. (NEW)
#8 1_conor_b_1 – 7,088.70 pts. (#6 last month)
#9 Greenstone25 – 6,993.53 pts. (#9 last month)
#10 joaosimaobh – 6,968.92 pts. (#3 last month)

Though the first half of the PokerStars World Championship on Online Poker (WCOOP) had surprisingly little effect on the standings, the final stretch saw some big shakeups indeed. Fabricio “SixthSenSe19″ Gonzalez came second in Event #70, the $21,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High-Roller, for $355,731 and a whopping 910.96 PocketFives leaderboard points. Even without that, he’d be narrowly ahead of 2nd place “alexd2,” thanks to strong performances in several other WCOOP events, as well as PartyPoker’s PowerFest High Roller.

Surprisingly, alexd2 – from Bulgaria – does not have many WCOOP results at all, but has been extremely active in regularly-scheduled PokerStars events, as well as in PowerFest’s High Rollers and across multiple other sites and has climbed the rankings through an accumulation of 200-400 point cashes rather than a single huge result.

Along with João Mathias, who has inched ahead into third, these players have succeeded in breaking the Swedish dominance of the online podium which has been the story through most of this year. Former leaders Simon “C Darwin2″ Mattsson and Niklas “lena900″ Åstedt have been displaced to fourth and fifth respectively, and with WCOOP over, it’ll be hard for anyone to threaten Gonzalez’s score for the foreseeable future.

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