Poker Rankings Update: Holz Back in Top 10 as GPL Kicks Off, Shariati Wins WPT Player of the Year

Alex Weldon : April 22nd, 2016

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It’s been an exciting month for the railbirds of the world, but there’s been almost no movement in the upper echelons of the Global Poker Index (GPI) rankings. In large part, that’s because most of the excitement has come by way of the newly-launched Global Poker League (GPL) rather than in the conventional, paid buy-in tournaments tracked by the GPI. The GPL is a star-studded affair, with seven of the current top-10 GPI players participating. One of these is the German prodigy Fedor Holz, who was drafted in the first round by manager Maria Ho for the Los Angeles Sunset. Holz had dropped out of the Top 10 last month, but has bounced right back.

We don’t generally include WPT Player of the Year standings in these Poker Rankings Updates because comparing only those players who focus primarily on WPT stops is somewhat arbitrary and pointless. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the current season of the WPT has wrapped up and Mike Shariati has won Player of the Year honors. It came down to the wire, too, as Cate Hall made the final table of the last open event of the season, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. She needed to place 3rd to overtake Shariati, but was short-stacked and failed to catch the cards necessary to avoid a 9th place exit.

Last month, we began listing the Top 10 GPL players by GPI ranking, as well as the Top 10 players overall; now that the league has begun, we’ll be expanding that coverage to include the standings of the teams themselves.

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 – 4,324.24 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 Byron Kaverman – 4,244.32 pts. (#2 last month)
#3 Bryn Kenney – 4,162.78 pts. (#3 last month)
#4 Jason Mercier – 4,032.33 pts. (#4 last month)
#5 Dominik Nitsche – 3,997.38 pts. (#6 last month)
#6 Connor Drinan – 3,975.62 pts. (#7 last month)
#7 Nick Petrangelo – 3,887.33 pts. (#5 last month)
#8 Fedor Holz – 3,878.63 pts. (NEW)
#9 Thomas Marchese – 3,787.49 pts. (NEW)
#10 Anthony Zinno – 3,756.48 pts. (#8 last month)

Dropouts

David Peters (#9 -> #12)
Stephen Chidwick (#10 -> #11)

Very little has changed in terms of the ordering of players in the top part of the standings; in fact, the only movement has been from Nick Petrangelo, who has dropped from 5th to 7th, promoting Jason Mercier and Dominik Nitsche in the process. That’s not to say that nothing important has happened, as 2nd and 3rd place players Byron Kaverman and Bryn Kenney came 2nd and 1st, respectively, in $25k High Rollers at the Aria at the beginning of the month. The points they earned as a result may not have changed anything in the relative standings yet, but it has helped both men to close in on frontrunner Steve O’Dwyer. More importantly, O’Dwyer hasn’t had any results big enough to change his own score since late January; the GPI only awards full points for events completed in the past six months, so O’Dwyer’s score may plummet sharply between now and the World Series of Poker if his dry spell continues.

More has changed at the bottom of the list, as Fedor Holz has bounced back into contention, as has fellow GPL player Thomas Marchese. Both men have squeaked past Anthony Zinno, runner-up for last year’s Player of the Year award, who has fallen to 10th. Meanwhile, David Peters and Stephen Chidwick have both been dumped out of the Top 10. This movement has little to do with anything accomplished recently by the players involved, however, and more to do with how seriously each player has been affected by the GPI’s aging factor, as their older results diminish in value.

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

The New York Rounders are definitely in the best shape of any team overall, doing well in their conference, while also dominating the GPI rankings with their lineup. Tom Marchese has joined his team mates Jason Mercier and Kevin MacPhee, and manager Bryn Kenney in the top 10, meaning that the Rounders now have more top-10 players than the rest of their conference combined, and as many as all of Eurasia. That said, GPI rankings don’t necessarily tell the whole story when it comes to the GPL format and interestingly, aside from the Rounders, the teams who have players in the Top 10 are doing worse overall than those who don’t.

Current standings – Americas

#1 New York Rounders – 40 pts.
#2 Montreal Nationals – 38 pts.
#3 Las Vegas Moneymakers – 31 pts.
#4 LA Sunset – 28 pts.
#5 São Paulo Metropolitans – 28 pts.
#6 San Francisco Rush – 24 pts.

Unsurprisingly, given how stacked their lineup is, the New York Rounders lead the Americas conference, having stolen the lead from the Montreal Nationals in the third week with an exceptional performance in the 6-max games by wildcard pick Tyler Kenney, the brother of team manager Bryn Kenney. Despite not having nearly the same credentials as his brother, Tyler managed a win and a runner-up finish for a total of 12 points. The Nationals standing in second place may be a surprise to some, due to the comparative lack of name recognition of some of the team members, but there were whispers from the community before the season started that they were being underrated and likely to perform well.

The remaining standings are a little more surprising, as the Las Vegas Moneymakers have fared somewhat better than expected, while the LA Sunset and San Francisco Rush have underperformed relative to expectation so far.

Current standings – Eurasia

#1 Paris Aviators – 40 pts.
#2 Hong Kong Stars – 37 pts.
#3 Moscow Wolverines – 35 pts.
#4 London Royals – 28 pts.
#5 Rome Emperors – 27 pts.
#6 Berlin Bears – 22 pts.

By contrast, the Eurasian conference is shaping up rather differently than most people expected. The London Royals were heavy favorites before the first matches were played, while nearly everyone had written off the Hong Kong Stars before they’d even begun. We now see the Stars battling it out with the Paris Aviators for the top spot, while London has put on a fairly poor showing so far. Most shocking of all is the formerly 3rd-rated Berlin Bears languishing in dead last, largely due to Daniel “Jungleman” Cates putting up only a single point in four six-max appearances and going 2-4 in heads-up play. Cates was hailed as an excellent wildcard pick for the Bears, and can’t really be assigned all the blame for his losses, many of which came down to bad luck in all-in situations.

Comparing the two divisions, the most interesting thing to observe is how similar the score distributions are. The distance between 2nd and 3rd is much smaller in Eurasia than in the Americas, but aside from that, the scores for each team are very close if not identical to the equivalently-positioned team in the other division. In particular, both first place teams have 40 points, suggesting that scoring an average of 13 points per week may be the pace to hit in order to win the division. There are many ways to hit that target, of course, but one example would be a team taking 2nd and 4th in the 6-max matches, then winning its heads-up series 2-1.

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 – 3,070 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 Anthony Gregg – 2,546 pts. (#2 last month)
#3 Dietrich Fast – 2,498 pts. (#4 last month)
#4 Bryn Kenney – 2,474 pts. (NEW)
#5 Steve O’Dwyer – 2,454 pts. (#3 last month)
#6 Bryan Piccioli – 2,216 pts. (NEW)
#7 David Peters – 2,162 pts. (NEW)
#8 Ivan Luca – 2,046 pts. (#5 last month)
#9 Stefan Schillhabel – 1,968 pts. (#10 TIE last month)
#10 Tony Dunst – 1,900 pts. (#6 last month)

Dropouts

Joseph McKeehen (#7 -> #11)
Connor Drinan (#8 -> #12)
Samantha Abernathy (#9 -> #14)
Michael Watson (#10 TIE -> #16)

Little has changed up top in the past month, except that Ari Engel has extended his lead on Anthony Gregg with a few final tables in smaller events and a cash in the $10,000 Event #22 of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Gregg has failed to put up any additional points of his own in the meantime, but had a solid enough grip on second that he’s still a few points ahead of Dietrich Fast, who has overtaken Steve O’Dwyer for the third place spot.

Further down the list, things have been changing much more rapidly, as one would expect early in the year, with everyone’s scores still fairly low and not much separating players from one another. Bryn Kenney has come out of nowhere to rocket into 4th with a win in a $25,000 High Roller at the Aria, while Bryan Piccioli and David Peters have likewise pushed their way into the Top 10, displacing Main Event champ Joe McKeehen, Connor Drinan and Samantha Abernathy in the process. Stefan Schillhabel has meanwhile managed to break his tie with Michael Watson, moving up into 9th while the latter falls to 16th.

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 lena900 – 7,184.52 pts (#3 last month)
#2 C Darwin2 – 7,003.85 pts. (#1 last month)
#3 Ariados – 6,954.65 pts. (#6 last month)
#4 Big Huni – 6,931.30 pts. (NEW)
#5 veeea – 6,878.74 pts. (#10 last month)
#6 hellohellohello – 6,658.65 pts. (NEW)
#7 joaosimaobh – 6,646.28 pts. (NEW)
#8 damourinio – 6,522.03 pts. (NEW)
#9 RoccoGe – 6,520.41 pts. (NEW)
#10 MendaLerenda – 6,449.09 pts. (#4 last month)

There aren’t quite as many Swedes in the Top 10 as there were last month, but they continue to dominate the podium, with all three of the top spots occupied by some familiar names from that part of the world. Their ordering is different, however, as Niklas “lena900″ Åstedt overtakes the mysterious “C Darwin2″ for the lead, while last month’s #2 and former frontrunner Christian “eisenhower1″ Jeppsson drops out of the Top 10 entirely.

Five new names make their appearances, some familiar, some less so. Chris “Big Huni” Hunichen should be one addition well known to most railbirds, both online and live. Meanwhile, big news for the GPL’s São Paulo Metropolitans, as their player Joao Simao makes it into 7th; since the regular season GPL games are all to be played online, Simao’s performance in the digital arena should be seen as being at least as significant as some other players’ GPI standings for live events.

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