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Player of the Year

by Ryan Lucchesi |  Published: Aug 20, 2010


Card Player Player of the Year

Moritz Kranich Wins Second Major Title, While Phil Ivey Enters Player of the Year Fray

With all of the preliminary-event bracelets awarded at the World Series of Poker and the main event still playing down to the “November Nine” at press time, the World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup VI was the only game in town awarding major Card Player 2010 Player of the Year (POY) points in mid-July.

The event attracted 353 players, which represented a 32 percent increase from last year’s field size. It was a promising turnout for the first event on the season IX schedule for the WPT.

The final table featured one of the biggest names in poker. Phil Ivey made a record ninth WPT final table, but in the end, he fell short and busted out in third place. He received 1,400 points for his efforts, which gives him 2,840 on the year and puts him in 15th place overall. This also put Ivey 32 points ahead of the 2,808 that he scored in the 2009 POY race, and he now has scored at least 2,800 points in each of the last three years.

The other headliner who made the Bellagio final table was Justin Smith, who finished third in the same event last year. This time around, Smith finished runner-up, which was good for 1,750 points. Smith now has 1,813 points for the year.

Young German Moritz Kranich won his second major tournament title with his victory at Bellagio. Kranich previously won the PokerStars European Poker Tour Deauville main event in 2009, for $1.1 million. The 2,100 POY points that he was awarded are the first of his 2010 campaign, and he is now tied for 35th place in the standings with Bay 101 Shooting Star winner McLean Karr.

Here is the breakdown of the prize money and POY points awarded at the Bellagio Cup VI final table:

1 Moritz Kranich $875,150 (2,100 points)
2 Justin Smith $594,755 (1,750 points)
3 Phil Ivey $363,650 (1,400 points)
4 John Caridad $237,902 (1,050 points)
5 Rob Akery $169,930 (875 points)
6 Eric Afriat $118,950 (700 points)

Spade Suit

Valdemar KwaysserLook Out: Valdemar Kwaysser

Valdemar Kwaysser won the $10,000 pot-limit hold’em world championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker, and was awarded a gold bracelet and $617,214. He also won 1,620 Card Player 2010 Player of the Year (POY) points. This gave Kwaysser a total of 3,190 points for the year and vaulted him into seventh place in the standings.

The 26-year-old native of Budapest, Hungary, had cashed six times previously at the WSOP. His seventh cash made him the third Hungarian bracelet winner at the WSOP in the past two years. “I truly believe that Hungary has done so well — considering the size of the country, which is small — because we all stick together, and we learn together and discuss poker together,” said Kwaysser.

Kwaysser is part of a big poker family, and a biological one, as well; he has seven brothers and sisters, and is starting a family of his own. His fiancé was present throughout the final table to root him on. “She gives me confidence and takes care of me. This [win] is part hers, as well,” said Kwaysser after his win.

He has been playing poker since the age of 21, but pot-limit hold’em is not his area of expertise. In fact, he rarely plays the game. “I have barely played it. I know that the structure and the lack of an ante makes it a much tighter game,” said Kwaysser. “In the beginning of the tournament, I played very tight. Then later, I started to play more hands. People started respecting my raises, and that is how I won some pots. In no-limit hold’em tournaments, there are usually antes, so you cannot just wait for a hand, because you will get blinded out.”

The bracelet victory gave him his third career title, but his previous victories in the PokerStars Italian Poker Tour main event in San Remo ($307,501) and the PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour main event in Costa Rica ($274,103) were for smaller six-figure amounts.

If Kwaysser continues to win on multiple continents, he could be a threat in the POY race during the second half of the year. Spade Suit

Ty "puffinmypurp" ReimanOPOY Spotlight: Ty “puffinmypurp” Reiman
By Julio Rodriguez

The Card Player Online Player of the Year (OPOY) award honors the best tournament player across the major online sites in a given calendar year. Here, we take a look at one of the current top contenders.

Tyler Reiman made headlines in 2010 in the poker world, but they had nothing to do with his online play. Reiman stormed through the field at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, finishing runner-up to Harrison Gimbel for a monstrous $1,750,000 payday. That score was life-changing for the 22-year-old poker pro, but it didn’t stop him from the grind that is online multitable tournaments.

Reiman got right back to work, and within a week, he had secured his first win of the year, earning $65,488 for taking down event No. 1 of the UB Online Championship Series. After his stop at a WPT final table, the Morton, Illinois, resident proceeded to then rattle off seven final-table appearances online, which put him into OPOY (Online Player of the Year) contention.

After a quiet summer at the World Series of Poker, Reiman made amends by winning the biggest weekly tournament online, the PokerStars Sunday Million. He banked $228,150 for taking down the $200 buy-in tournament, and earned 1,440 OPOY-qualifying points, putting him in eighth place overall. He has now earned more than $575,000 in 2010, and has more than $1.5 million in career online tournament winnings. Spade Suit

You can check out more about the 2010 OPOY race and leader board by visiting