Adrian Mateos had a spectacular run down the final stretch of 2017, snagging Player of the Year honors from Bryn Kenney who, up until November, had seemed to be a lock. In the process, he also managed to claim the top spot in the Global Poker Index.

His hot streak has continued into the new year, as he’s both widened his lead in the GPI and put up some decent starting numbers for 2018’s Player of the Year race. So far, no player has won GPI Player of the Year twice, but this could easily be the year: aside from Mateos, past winners who are still near the top of the GPI charts include Dan Smith, Dan Colman and David Peters, while Ole Schemion and Byron Kaverman have been quiet of late, but not so much so that we should count them out.

Online, Andras Nemeth has been making some waves, but neither he nor anyone else looks like they’ll be catching Simon Mattsson any time soon.

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 Adrian Mateos – 3,588.10 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 David Peters – 3,277.36 pts. (#3 last month)
#3 Ari Engel – 3,253.51 pts. (#6 last month)
#4 Bryn Kenney – 3,246.69 pts. (#2 last month)
#5 Koray Aldemir – 3,243.98 pts. (NEW)
#6 Rainer Kempe – 3,239.20 pts. (#9 last month)
#7 Jason Koon – 3,211.88 pts. (#10 last month)
#8 Stephen Chidwick – 3,183.01 pts. (#5 last month)
#9 Stefan Schillhabel – 3,140.03 pts. (NEW)
#10 Nick Petrangelo – 3,132.00 pts. (#8 last month)


Dan Smith (#4 -> #19)
Fedor Holz (#7 -> #20)

Adrian Mateos established that 2017 was no fluke for him by making the final table of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event when 2018 was barely two weeks old. He ended up finishing a respectable fourth place, for $372,600 and 415.81 GPI points. For his part, Bryn Kenney managed a cash in the $100,000 PCA Super High Roller, but this wasn’t enough to keep him from losing further ground to Mateos.

It also opened the door for David Peters and Ari Engel, who both managed to get their noses out front of Kenney. Like Mateos, Peters ran deep in the PCA Main Event, but came up just short of a final table, in 11th. Engel was at the PCA and managed a couple of cashes there, but did his best work later in the month, at the Lucky Hearts Poker Open, where he won a $1,100 side event to put some points on the board.

Koray Aldemir has been in and out of the top 10 of late, and rocketed back into fifth this month by beating out Mateos for third place in the PCA Main Event. He also took second in the REG Charity Event there, though the GPI does not award points for that event.

Player of the Year

#1 Christopher Kruk – 749.95 pts.
#2 Aylar Lie – 631.15 pts.
#3 Ari Engel – 630.61 pts.
#4 Maria Lampropoulos – 606.34 pts.
#5 Thomas Mühlöcker – 579.41 pts.
#6 Jeffrey Trudeau – 568.22 pts.
#7 Yang Zhang – 556.86 pts.
#8 Ole Schemion – 550.61 pts.
#9 Justin Bonomo – 543.99 pts.
#10 Benjamin Pollak – 543.98 pts.

At this point in the year, the Player of the Year standings are determined almost entirely by performance at the PCA, plus perhaps a few results from the Lucky Hearts Poker Open. Up top is Christopher Kruk, someone whose name is probably unfamiliar to most readers, but who has the potential to explode onto the scene this year. His first significant cashes came in 2016, but he spent 2017 running them up in a big way, beginning to make appearances at Super High Rollers in the second half of the year.

He’s kicked off 2018 with a bang, winning one $25,000 High Roller at the PCA, coming seventh in the other, and also managing to cash a $2,100 Turbo. He’s now ranked #110 in the world by the GPI, so if he continues to run well this year, it won’t be long before he’s in the spotlight.

Ari Engel is of course in the running as well, as is Maria Lampropoulos, who won the PCA Main Event. Ahead of them, however, is another surprising name in Aylar Lie. Lie is a woman from Norway, who didn’t even attend the PCA, but rather went on an incredible heater at the Merit Crystal Cove Casino in Cyprus, cashing six times in just over a week. The largest of these was just $8,230, for winning a $500 Bounty event, but the sheer volume is, for now, enough to put her second in the race. The odds are long against her staying there, however.

Notably absent from the list is Adrian Mateos, but don’t be misled; he’s currently in eleventh, and a strong favorite against anyone in the top ten save Ari Engel, Ole Schemion (#8) and Justin Bonomo (#9).

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 Maria Lampropoulos – 2,100 pts.
#2 Shawn Buchanan – 1,750 pts.
#3 Koray Aldemir – 1,610 pts.
#4 Adrian Mateos – 1,305 pts.
#5 Justin Bonomo – 1,208 pts.
#6 Hafiz Khan – 1,128 pts.
#7 Chris Kruk – 1,113 pts.
#8 Jason Strasser – 960 pts.
#9 Scott Baumstein – 960 pts.
#10 Stefan Schillhabel – 885 pts.

Scoring for Card Player’s Player of the Year race is much the same this year as last. As always, it leads to considerably different results than GPI’s, though at least the two were in agreement on Adrian Mateos’s win last year.

Card Player currently has Maria Lampropoulos as the front-runner, giving wins against large fields more credit than GPI does, and therefore weighting her PCA Main Event win more highly. Mateos fares better here than in the GPI’s reckoning, appearing in fourth. Koray Aldemir appears in the top 10, ahead of Mateos, because Card Player awards points for the REG Charity event in which he came second, while GPI does not.

Chris Kruk looks much more like an underdog in Card Player’s accounting than in GPI’s; the small fields of the $25,000 High Rollers mean his win is only worth a modest number of points, and his seventh-place finish almost none.


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 – 10,665 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 SvZff – 9,298.63 pts. (#2 last month)
#3 lena900 – 8,511.03 pts. (#3 last month)
#4 probirs – 7,849.69 pts. (NEW)
#5 r4ndomr4gs – 7,585.94 pts. (#8 last month)
#6 Sheater – 7,522.10 pts. (#6 last month)
#7 josef_shvejk – 7,439.45 pts. (#4 last month)
#8 1_conor_b_1 – 7,198.72 pts. (NEW)
#9 hellohellohello – 7,153.64 pts. (#7 last month)
#10 veeea – 7,068.34 pts. (#10 last month)

The year has gotten off to a fairly sedate start, despite the recently-concluded PokerStars Winter Series, plus 888poker’s XL Blizzard and PartyPoker’s Powerfest VII, both of which are running now.

Steven “SvZff” van Zadelhoff’s chances of wresting the top spot away from Simon “C Darwin2” Mattsson are fading fast, as the latter has piled on another 500 points or so, while van Zadelhoff has slipped by 600. No one else is looking very likely to do so in the near future either; despite a good performance in XL Blizzard, Niklas “lena900” Astedt has seen his score remain roughly unchanged, while the mysterious “josef_shvejk” seems to have run out of steam in his heater and has fallen to seventh.

Hungary’s Andras “probirs” Nemeth is rising quickly, however. There’s no one huge score to point to, but rather a large number of wins and runner-up finishes in smaller events over the past month, which have propelled him into fourth. With 7,849.69 points, however, he’s still got less than three-quarters of what Mattsson is sitting on, so he’ll need to do even better if he hopes to be a threat to the Swede’s dominance.