Greg Merson Making Push on Dan Smith for Player of the Year RacesFriday, November 23rd, 2012 by Ryan
The 2012 poker tournament calendar is quickly winding down, and we’ve finished up many of the biggest tournaments out there that go towards the Player of the Year rankings in many of the different races out there. You are going to find that in the major races there are about four weeks remaining for players to work their way up through the ranks, and right now the current leader Dan Smith has a well-known name following him hot on his heels. The player is none other than the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion, Greg Merson. Merson is putting the pressure on right now in the bulk of the races.
After September came around, Smith was the leader in the three largest Player of the Year races out there, and it seemed that he’d be almost a walkaway favorite to win the bulk of the awards, but after Merson’s incredible run to win the Main Event things have gotten interesting quickly. Actually, in one of the three major races Merson has overtaken Smith for the top spot and will actually just be looking to hold on to his own lead! The different races that we’ll cover mainly will be the Bluff Magazine Player of the Year, the Global Poker Index, and the Card Player Magazine Player of the Year,
For the Bluff Magazine race, Merson actually made the move into second place passing Marvin Rettenmaier after his big win. Merson has 1157.55 points in total, but still has a bit of work to do in order to catch the 1288.51 points that Smith has. Smith actually had a lead of 154 points on Rettenmaier back in September, but while 130 points for Merson to be behind may seem like a lot, he’s definitely in striking distance, especially if he’s able to make another deep run in a tournament at some point within the next four weeks before the poker year comes to a close. Joseph Cheong is another interesting player to watch in this race, as he’s had a strong past few months to work his way into fourth place with 961.42 points. A big part of this is due to the fact that he’s made it to three final tables since September and brought in around $700k.
Just behind Cheong in 5th place is the popular (or unpopular I guess) Phil Hellmuth who took down the WSOP Europe Championship, and is followed up by Phil Ivey, Michael Mizrachi, Cle Schemion, Jonathan Duhamel, and Kyle Julius. There were a few players who dropped out of the top ten since the end of September though, including players such as Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, Oliver Speidel, John Dolan, and Tommy Vedes.
For the Card Player Magazine race is the one that has seen Merson overtake the top spot though, as his two gold bracelet wins were enough to push him past Smith in the rankings. He has a total of 5100 points, but Smith is definitely still able to catch up as he has 4625 points. Interestingly, Julius, who is in 10th place in the Bluff rankings is in third place with 3752 points. In the rest of the top ten for the Card Player race, Cheong is sitting in 4th place currently, while Rettenmaier is in 5th. Hellmuth is in sixth place and is followed up by Speidel, Anthony Gregg, Schemion, and Mizrachi.
The only Player of the Year race that hasn’t seen Merson have a huge move is the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race. Merson finds himself ranked down in 47th place right now, and the top hasn’t seen any major changes. Smith remains in the lead there, with Rettenmaier 132 points behind him. Julius is actually in third place in this race, and Hellmuth is in fourth, followed up by Cheong in fifth. As far as sixth through tenth places go, Andrew Lichtenberger is in 6th place, and is followed up by Justin Bonomo, David “ODB” Baker, Daniel Negreanu, and Jason Mercier.
There are going to be a few more tournaments running over the coming weeks, and this includes two World Poker Tour events, two World Series of Poker Circuit event stops, and a final stop on the European Poker Tour as well. It’s going to make up a few fun races to watch, and we’ll keep you updated on any major changes that come out of these as well.