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Player of the Year Update: Ben Lamb Takes Lead After World Series of Poker Main Event

Kovalchuk and Trickett Crack Top 10

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Ben LambThe World Series of Poker’s $10,000 championship is unquestionably the largest poker tournament in the world, with a sizable buy-in and a massive field. As a result, this event has consistently made a huge impact on the Card Player Player of the Year race.

The 2011 running of the WSOP Main Event was no exception. The event attracted 6,865 players, building a prize pool of more than $64 million dollars. The event was eventually won by young German poker pro Pius Heinz, who took home $8,711,956 and 3,600 POY points.

Combined with his final-table finish in a WSOP $1,500 no-limit hold’em event for $83,286 and 360 POY points, Heinz’s 3,960 points are good enough to move him into 12th place in the overall standings.

American pro Ben Lamb finished third in the event for $4,019,635 and 2,400 POY points, bringing his point total to 6,036 and putting him in the overall lead.

Lamb already had an incredible year prior to making the WSOP Main Event final table. He had three other huge final-table finishes and one massive win at the 2011 WSOP.

He finished runner-up in a $3,000 pot-limit Omaha event, earning $259,918 and 1,200 POY points. He followed that score up by winning the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha championship only one week later, banking $814,436 and 2,160 POY points. He also made deep runs in two of the other largest events at the WSOP, finishing 12th in the $10,000 no-limit hold’em six-max event and eighth in the $50,000 eight-game Poker Players Championship.

In total, Lamb has amassed an impressive $5,351,467 in earnings this year.

WSOP runner-up Martin Staszko leaped into 29th place in the overall standings on the merit of his Main Event finish, which was good for $5,520,844 and 3,000 POY points.

Matt GiannettiFourth-place finisher Matt Giannetti took home $3,012,700 and 1,800 POY points. After making the Main Event final table in July, Giannetti was the most successful member of the November Nine on the tournament circuit in the intervening months. He had a final table in a prelim at the European Poker Tour London festival and a win at the World Poker Tour Malta main event for $276,457 and 864 POY points.

As a result, Giannetti currently sits in 31st in the overall standings with 2,856 POY points and more than $3.3 million in earnings.

France Factors into POY Race

Much like the WSOP’s November Nine, the Partouche Poker Tour €8,500 main event also played down to a final table of nine earlier in the year and then resumed to play to a champion in November.

Sam Trickett won the massive event, defeating a 579-player field to earn $1,364,671 and 2,400 POY points. Trickett has had a great year already, and this most recent victory vaulted him into eighth place overall in the rankings.

Sam TrickettThis was Trickett’s third six-figure score of the year, after winning the $100,000 Challenge at the Aussie Millions for more than $1,525,000 and then following it up with a second-place finish to Erik Seidel in the $250,000 Super High Roller event for just under $1.5 million.

Trickett has made a total of six final tables so far this year, and now has cashed for roughly $4.7 million in 2011 POY qualifying events, increasing his lifetime earnings to about $6.3 million.

Another player to make a big move as a result of the Partouche Poker Tour main event was Oleksii Kovalchuk, who finished third in the event and picked up €379,760 and 1,600 POY points. The score moved Kovalchuk into third place behind Chris Moorman and Ben Lamb.

Kovalchuk has three other wins in 2011, having taken down a Russian Poker Tour event, the main event at the Italian Poker Tour Nova Gorica and a WSOP bracelet this summer.

French pro Roger Hairabedian moved into 46th place in the overall rankings after finishing in fifth place for $313,874 and 1,000 POY points. Hairabedian has made six final tables this year, including a win in a €2,000 six-max no-limit hold’em preliminary event at the EPT San Remo.

These two massive final tables have clearly made a major difference in the overall standings.

Here is a look at the current top 10 point totals:

1. Ben Lamb: 6,036
2. Chris Moorman: 5,875
3. Oleksii Kovalchuk: 5,380
4. Marvin Rettenmaier: 4,554
5. Sam Stein: 4,505
6. Elio Fox: 4,320
7. Galen Hall: 4,284
8. Sam Trickett: 4,096
9. Eugene Katchalov: 4,048
10. Matthew Waxman: 4,005