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Player of the Year Update -- World Series of Poker Champion Greg Merson Takes The Lead

WSOP Main Event Has Huge Impact on POY Standings

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The biggest poker tournament of the year, the World Series of Poker main event, came to a close this week and it has had an absolutely massive impact on the 2012 Card Player Player of the Year race, sponsored by Lock Poker. Here is a look at how that event and others have changed the landscape of the POY race as they main contenders begin their sprint to the finish.

World Series of Poker Main Event

2012 WSOP Champion Greg MersonA total of 6,598 players entered the 2012 WSOP main event, building a $62 million prize pool and making it the fifth-largest live poker tournament in history. After more than 400 hands, only one player remained: Greg Merson, your 2012 poker World Champion.

For the win, the 24-year-old poker pro earned the game’s most prestigious title, the championship diamond bracelet and the $8,531,853 first-place prize.

In addition to the honors and the money, Merson also scored 3,300 POY points, the single largest amount of points awarded so far in 2012. Even without prior scores this would have been enough to move Merson inside the top five in the POY standings.

Merson, however, did in fact have a prior score. The Maryland native took down one of the biggest bracelet events at this summer’s WSOP, just days before the main event began. The $10,000 WSOP no-limit hold’em six-max championship 474 entrants to build a $4.4 million prize pool. Merson topped a stacked final table to earn $1,136,197 and 1,800 POY points.

With these two huge tournament wins, Merson has overtaken the lead in the POY race with 5,100 points, leaving former leader Dan Smith 475 points behind. Merson’s year-to-date tournament earnings now exceed $9.6 million.

A number of other players also jumped up the leaderboard as a result of their main event finishes. Runner-up Jesse Sylvia climbed to 12th place in the standings after earning 2,750 and $5.3 million. Third-place finisher Jacob Balsiger moved into 30th place, with 2,200 points and nearly $3.8 million in earnings.

Isle Open Main Event

Michael MizrachiWhile the WSOP main event final table was resuming in Las Vegas, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi was busy winning his the 22nd title of his career at the 2012 Isle Open main event. The no-limit tournament featured a $2,200 buy-in, drawing 230 entrants to create a $460,000 total prize pool.

Mizrachi earned $128,800 and 384 points for the win. This was his sixth final table and second title of the year, after he won the $50,000 WSOP Poker Players Championship for the second time this summer.

All told, Mizrachi has garnered 2,942 points and $2,155,179 in year-to-date earnings in 2012, which is good enough to move him into ninth in the overall standings. Mizrachi is the only player inside the top twenty in this year’s race to have previously won, earning that honor in 2006.

Festa al Lago Classic

David SandsLate last week the Bellagio played host to the Festa al Lago Classic $10,300 no-limit hold’em championship event, which drew 131 entrants to build a $1,270,000 prize pool.

The eventual champion was Hyon Kim, who earned $423,965 and 660 POY points for the win. Plenty of recognizable names made deep runs as well, including runner-up Matt Waxman (2nd – $273,944), and fourth place finisher David “Doc” Sands (4th – $87,164).

This was Sand’s third final table of the year, and as a result he moved to 25th place in the overall standings with 2,385 points and $933,251 in year-to-date earnings.

Other notables with deep finishes include Prahlad Friedman (5th – $65,373), Nick Schulman (6th- $52,921), Tim West (7th – $40,469), Matt Hyman (9th – $19,923), and Marvin Rettenmaier (10th – $16,188).

Here is a look at the top twenty in the 2012 Player of the Year race:

Rank Player POY Points Earnings
1 Gregory Merson 5,100 $9,664,179
2 Dan Smith 4,625 $3,538,078
3 Kyle Julius 3,752 $2,103,282
4 Marvin Rettenmaier 3,530 $1,943,043
5 Phil Hellmuth 3,210 $4,293,213
6 Oliver Speidel 3,046 $1,767,371
7 Anthony Gregg 2,984 $1,004,155
8 Ole Schemion 2,956 $1,663,559
9 Michael Mizrachi 2,942 $2,155,179
10 Vadzim Kursevich 2,829 $1,379,987
11 Joseph Cheong 2,780 $825,030
12 Jesse Sylvia 2,770 $5,294,344
13 Faraz Jaka 2,720 $1,009,964
14 Joe Kuether 2,716 $548,411
15 David Baker 2,689 $700,386
16 Phil Ivey 2,635 $3,546,334
17 John Dibella 2,512 $1,781,418
18 Daniel Kelly 2,508 $766,317
19 Davidi Kitai 2,474 $1,039,657
20 Mohsin Charania 2,420 $1,904,899
20 Brendon Rubie 2,420 $510,790