Each week, the Global Poker Index releases a list of the top tournament poker players in the world using a formula that takes into account a player's results over six half-year periods. For a look at the entire list, visit the official GPI website.
Let's start with the much anticipated first look at the 2016 Global Poker Index Player of the Year rankings that finally debuted this week. Here's what the 2016 POY race looks like as of June 2, 2016:
2016 GPI Player of the Year
It's no surprise to see Ari Engel as the early frontrunner in this year's GPI POY race. Currently sitting at No. 40 in the overall GPI rankings, Engel has accumulated over $3.5 million in tournament earnings over the last decade, consistently putting up scores while traveling all over the globe to play a wide variety of tournaments.
Engel's 2016 has been highlighted by a career-high cash of AU$1,600,000 (about $1.12M USD) for winning the 2016 Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event in January. He additionally won his eighth career World Series of Poker Circuit ring at Harrah's Atlantic City (just one behind the record nine owned by Alex Masek) among numerous other cashes and final tables.
Engel leads these initial POY rankings unveiled last week, with Fedor Holz not far behind him in second position. That said, these rankings do not include a couple of big points-getting finishes by Holz over the last week — a runner-up in the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl and a victory in the $50,000 Super High Roller, both at the ARIA Resort & Casino. That means Holz is primed to assume the top spot in the POY race when the rankings are next updated, with the 2016 World Series of Poker results also sure to keep the leaderboard in constant flux going forward.
Current overall No. 1 Steve O'Dwyer sits in third in the POY race at the moment — exactly where O'Dwyer finished the 2015 GPI POY race. Meanwhile last year's GPI POY Byron Kaverman has three cashes so far in 2016, although only one of them afforded him any POY points, meaning he's way down in 5,190th in the race after five months this year.
Worth noting — the GPI has tweaked its POY formula this year, and once more is powering the 2016 World Series of Poker Player of the Year rankings. As the GPI explains, this year they have "normalized their data, analyzed tournament trends and made alterations in hopes of rewarding players on a more balanced level going forward, making adjustments to its key components: size of field, buy-in and finishing position."
Among the changes being introduced this year is to increase the minimum number of entries in a tournament for those cashing to qualify for points. Whereas 21 was the minimum before, now it is 32. (For example, two of Kaverman's three 2016 cashes came in events with less than 32 players, hence earning him no GPI POY points.) "Also, event winners will see their scores earn an even larger percentage of points compared to the scores of others, for the most part," says the GPI.
GPI 300 Top 10
Meanwhile the GPI overall rankings were updated more recently on June 8, 2016, which means they do take into account those recent finishes by Fedor Holz who moves up to a career-high ranking of No. 2. The young German is only a small cash away from overtaking Steve O'Dwyer, who marks 22 straight weeks at No. 1 in the overall rankings.
There was a bit of small shuffling below those two over the last seven days, although the top 10 players remain the same from a week ago.
Looking just below this group, Sean Winter moved up from No. 25 to No. 12 after taking third in that $50K High Roller at the ARIA, while Dan Smith jumped from No. 45 to No. 24 by finishing fourth in that event just after painfully bubbling the $300K Super High Roller Bowl.
Welcome to the GPI Top 300
Nine players jumped into this week's GPI top 300, with Chad Eveslage coming in as the highest-ranking of the bunch. Eveslage went from No. 361 to No. 226 after picking up a couple of nice cashes in the 2016 Deepstack Series at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at the end of May.
While Chris Bolek (No. 261 this week) also got his points at the Seminole, most the others on this list earned cashes at the 2016 WSOP to join the top 300, among them a recent bracelet winner — Robert Mizrachi who picked up his fourth career WSOP bracelet by winning the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship on Monday. Mizrachi moved from No. 574 to No. 281 thanks to that finish.
George Danzer (who owns three bracelets himself) took third in that same event, helping him move up from No. 439 to No. 291.
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Mizrachi, Danzer, Eveslage, and Bolek lead this week's "Biggest Gains" list thanks to their upward moves into the top 300. Sam Soverel was already in the top 300 last week, and he made a nice move from No. 233 to No. 175 (a career-high ranking for him) after making it to the round of 16 in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Heads-Up Championship at the WSOP.
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Finally, looking only at players who remained inside the GPI top 300, Ben Dobson slipped the furthest after falling from No. 216 to No. 284.
What to Expect Next Week
The WSOP enters its second week, and that's where most of the poker world's attention will remain. However, other Las Vegas series continue as well including the 2016 Goliath Phamous Poker Series at Planet Hollywood, the Grand Poker Series at the Golden Nugget, and the Deep Stack Extravaganza III at the Venetian.
Meanwhile among the action over in Europe, the Estrellas Poker Tour and United Kingdom Ireland Poker Tour unite for a stop in Marbella, Spain, starting early next week.