Poker Rankings Update: O’Dwyer Pulls Away from Kaverman as Kenney Closes In

Alex Weldon : March 16th, 2016

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It’s been a quiet month in the rankings. The Global Poker Index (GPI) still has yet to declare its 2016 Player of the Year race underway, while there’s been relatively little movement in the top 10 of its rolling rankings. Steve O’Dwyer has been on top for two months running, and now more comfortably so. Former frontrunner Byron Kaverman holds on to second for the time being, but Bryn Kenney and Jason Mercier are both breathing down his neck.

Now that the Global Poker League (GPL) draft has been completed and the first season prepares to kick off, we’ll be introducing a new feature to our monthly Poker Rankings Update. The GPI and GPL are intimately connected, not only because they are both Mediarex properties, but because the GPI rankings are used in order to determine draft eligibility and will likely feature prominently in the official commentary. For that reason, starting this month, we’ll list not only the Top 10 players overall in the GPI, but also the Top 10 GPL players by GPI ranking.

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 – 4,480.92 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 Byron Kaverman – 4,131.99 pts. (#2 last month)
#3 Bryn Kenney – 4,064.73 pts. (#6 last month)
#4 Jason Mercier – 4,039.56 pts. (#3 last month)
#5 Nick Petrangelo – 3,978.59 pts. (#4 last month)
#6 Dominik Nitsche – 3,888.09 pts. (NEW)
#7 Connor Drinan – 3,757.80 pts. (#10 last month)
#8 Anthony Zinno – 3,746.34 pts. (#5 last month)
#9 David Peters – 3,733.56 pts. (#8 last month)
#10 Stephen Chidwick – 3,704.94 pts. (#9 last month)

Dropouts

Fedor Holz (#7 -> #14)

The skinny: Not much has changed in the upper echelons of the rankings in the past month. If anything, the situation seems to have stabilized a little, as Steve O’Dwyer has turned a narrow 35-point lead over Byron Kaverman into a much more comfortable 277-point one. It’s unlikely now for a single tournament result to change the lead, but things could have been worse for those with their eye on the crown: O’Dwyer won a $250,000 super high-roller at the Aussie Millions at the end of January, which would have been worth a load of points, except that it only drew 16 entrants, five short of the number required for an event to qualify for GPI status.

Anthony Zinno and Fedor Holz have fared poorly, meanwhile, dropping from 5th to 8th and 7th to 14th respectively. That’s only to be expected in Zinno’s case, because his position in the rankings was largely due to a hot streak he was on around this time last year: in the GPI system, the points awarded for an event drop after one year, so unless he manages to repeat that performance in the coming months, we should see his ranking continue to decline. Holz, on the other hand, has simply had a bad month with no significant cashes, but given the regularity with which he crushes the highest stakes available, it’s probably only a matter of time before he makes it back into the Top 10.

On the move: Bryn Kenny nearly went back-to-back at the beginning of the month, winning a $25,000 High Roller at the Aria for $422,400, then jumping into a $3,250 event at Bally’s the very next day, in which he ended up placing 6th. The latter didn’t score quite enough points to affect his ranking, but the former boosted him from 6th to create a log jam between himself, Kaverman and Jason Mercier, all of whom are now in what you could probably call a statistical tie for second.

Also having a good month is Dominik Nitsche, who put together a monster performance at the UKIPT Dublin, with four cashes including a win and two runner-up finishes. That was enough to slot him into to the middle of the Top 10, with not too much separating him from Kaverman, Kenney and Mercier. I would expect to see him continue to climb in coming months.

Top 10 GPL-drafted players

#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 Anthony Zinno (Las Vegas Moneymakers)
#6 Davidi Kitai (Paris Aviators)
#7 Fedor Holz (Los Angeles Sunset)
#8 Mustapha Kanit (Rome Emperors)
#9 Kevin MacPhee (New York Rounders)
#10 Mike McDonald (Montreal Nationals)

The skinny: If you go by GPI ranking alone, the New York Rounders are the stone cold nuts for the first season of the GPL. A full half of the team is in the Top 10, including Kenney, who manages the team. No other team managed to snag more than one, and four teams don’t have any players in the Top 10.

The list also shows just how stacked the GPL lineups are, as it’s only necessary to go down to 19th overall to find Mike McDonald, our 10th place GPL player. Meanwhile, Dzmitry Urbanovich (Moscow Wolverines) and Igor Kurganov (London Royals) are both poised to make their way onto the list, while the remaining New York Rounders, Tom Marchese and Jason Wheeler, are also both within the Top 30 overall in the GPI and Top 20 GPL players.

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 – 2,614 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 Anthony Gregg – 2,546 pts. (#6 last month)
#3 Steve O’Dwyer – 2,454 pts. (#2 last month)
#4 Dietrich Fast – 2,210 pts. (NEW)
#5 Ivan Luca – 2,046 pts. (NEW)
#6 Tony Dunst – 1,900 pts. (#3 last month)
#7 Joseph McKeehen – 1,892 pts. (#10 last month)
#8 Connor Drinan – 1,872 pts. (#9 last month)
#9 Samantha Abernathy – 1,840 pts. (#4 last month)
#10 TIE : Stefan Schillhabel / Michael Watson – 1,824 pts. (NEW / #5 last month)

Dropouts

Nick Maimone (#7 -> #23)
Christopher Leong (#8 -> #24)

The skinny: As you’d expect early in the year, things are changing rapidly in the Player of the Year race. Ari Engel is still on top, but not by much anymore as he has failed to increase his score since his Aussie Millions win. Only 68 points now separate him from Anthony Gregg, who narrowly missed the Bay 101 Shooting Star official final table last week after busting out in 7th. Steve O’Dwyer is also still in contention, though his recent scores have not been worth as much in the Card Player system as they are in the GPI rankings. Dietrich Fast and Ivan Luca are also coming up fast, having recently won the Los Angeles Poker Classic and Eureka Rozvadov main events, respectively.

Aside from Engel, the players who have failed to put up additional results in the past month have fallen rapidly. Tony Dunst and Samantha Abernathy have dropped towards the bottom of the list, while Nick Maimone and Christopher Leong have dropped much further, not just out of the Top 10, but out of the Top 20, due to what is becoming a fairly massive log jam of players with between 1400 and 1800 points. Even towards the bottom of the Top 10, you can see just how close the scores run: Stefan Schillhabel and Michael Watson are in an exact tie for 10th, and both are a mere 16 points behind Abernathy. By contrast, the difference between 6th and 1st is over 700 points, so the exact ordering of players is much more significant in the top half of the list than the bottom at this juncture.

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 C Darwin2 – 7,423.89 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 eisenhower1 – 6,953.38 pts. (#4 last month)
#3 lena900 – 6,813.83 pts. (#7 last month)
#4 MendaLerenda – 6,800.96 pts. (#9 last month)
#5 jbrown8777 – 6,796.49 pts. (NEW)
#6 Ariados – 6,681.93 pts. (#8 last month)
#7 SvZff – 6,664.73 pts. (#3 last month)
#8 gray31 – 6,600.55 pts. (#6 last month)
#9 DeathbyQuads – 6,368.92 pts. (NEW)
#10 veeea – 6,307.75 pts. (#2 last month)

The skinny: If you want to know whether a given player is up or down in the online rankings this month, it’s probably sufficient to ask yourself “does this person live in Sweden?” If the answer is yes, there’s a good chance they’ve been running hot and if not… well, then they’ve probably lost a lot of money to a Swede recently. Not only has the mystery player “C Darwin2″ continued his reign of terror atop the PocketFives rankings, but his closest competition is fellow countryman Christian “eisenhower1″ Jeppsson, who also happens to be the guy who had held that top spot for the previous four months. In third is Niklas Astedt, aka “lena900,” who has been the winner of the PocketFives Tournament Leaderboard for two months running, and I’ll give you one guess as to his nationality. Also representing for the land of meatballs, do-it-yourself furniture and unstoppable poker monsters are 6th place “Ariados,” 9th place “DeathbyQuads” and 10th place “veeea.” This last is seemingly the only Swede having a bad month, having dropped all the way from 2nd place last month, and only hanging onto a Top 10 spot by a hair.

All told, then, 60% of this month’s top players are from Sweden. The only other nations clinging to some dignity at the moment are the United Kingdom, Canada, Malta and Costa Rica, in that order. The UK’s Oscar Serradell aka “MendaLerenda” has the best shot at putting an end to the Swedish dynasty at the moment, trailing lena900 by only a few points, but still a long way off from challenging the father of evolutionary theory himself.

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