Career years are, by definition, outliers, usually born of a convergence of good fortune and peaking abilities.
If 2015 was Byron Kaverman's career year, it was an impressive one indeed, as he put up $3.4 million in cashes, more than double his previous best year, 2014. Furthermore, Kaverman accumulated enough results to top the Global Poker Index rankings and take home GPI Player of the Year. He edged out fellow Americans Anthony Zinno, Steve O'Dwyer, and Nick Petrangelo for the honors.
"It was a pretty rewarding feeling," Kaverman said. "It was fun competing with guys like Anthony and Steve. We all wanted to win, and they had tremendous years as well. They probably did better than I did, money-wise. We were all friendly about it, and it made for a cool competition."
Though being at the summit of the profession is on the mind of any top tournament player, Kaverman said one tour stop in particular changed the course of his year and really set him on a mission. At European Poker Tour Barcelona in late August, Kaverman put together a string of cashes with ninth in the €50,000 Super High Roller for €123,600, seventh in a €5,200 Hyper Turbo side event for €23,680, and 38th in the €10,300 High Roller for €24,600.
Those cashes pushed Kaverman to third in the GPI rankings after a summer that saw him claim his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet and more than $650,000 in prize money for winning the prestigious $10,000 Six-Max Championship. At that point, he decided to go for it.
"I only planned on playing Barcelona and Vegas stuff this fall," he said. "I made [GPI Player of the Year] a goal after Barcelona to really go for it. I put a lot of time and effort into traveling and playing a lot of tournaments that would qualify. To be fortunate enough to get there was a good feeling."
Still, the grind took a bit of a toll on Kaverman, as it involved constant travel as he pushed himself to accumulate as many points as possible. He was rewarded when he shipped the €10,300 High Roller at EPT Malta for $430,800, and he hung on to the top spot despite O'Dwyer taking down the €50,000 High Roller at EPT Prague.
"I went from Vegas to Prague to Florida and back to Vegas," Kaverman said of his journeys. "I wouldn't say burned out, but I was definitely pretty tired when it came to mid-December. It's definitely not something I'm going to be going for this year."