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Look Out: Player of the Year Challengers for 2011

by Ryan Lucchesi |  Published: Feb 01, 2011


Thomas Marchese proved in 2010 that you can win the Card Player Player of the Year (POY) award in just your first full year on the tournament trail. Let’s take a look at a few players who could become a threat in 2011 after successful tournament performances in 2010 while playing limited schedules. Think about what Vanessa Selbst was able to accomplish in the 2010 race (fourth place) while playing a limited tournament schedule due to Yale Law School occupying most of her time.
Joseph Cheong
No other player made a better impression at the 2010 World Series of Poker main-event final table in November than Joseph Cheong. He played an aggressive game and eventually finished in third place to take home more than $4 million. He scored a total of five POY cashes in 2010 to finish in 12th place overall, and could be a consistent contender in major tournaments in 2011.
Jose Barbero
He won three tournament titles at PokerStars-sponsored events in 2010, and became a member of Team PokerStars. Two of those wins came in Latin American Poker Tour main events (Punta del Este and Lima), while the other came in the EPT London high-roller event. Barbero finished 2010 in 18th place, and if he continues to dominate on the LAPT while playing in more major tournament in the United States and Europe, he could top his 2010 performance in 2011.
Sam Trickett
He won more than $1 million in tournaments in 2010, and finished in 26th place in the POY race. Trickett just missed winning World Series of Poker gold when he finished second in a $5,000 no-limit hold’em event. He also made a final table on the PokerStars European Poker Tour, in Vilamoura, Portugal. If he travels more frequently from his native England to be more active on the U.S. tournament trail, he could make a push for 2011 POY honors.
The Under-21 Set
Harrison Gimbel proved in 2010 that you can be competitive in the POY race even if you aren’t 21 years of age. You just need to make each cash count, and that is exactly what he did. He won one of the largest tournaments of the year, the $10,000 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event, to bank $2.2 million. He then followed that up with a win in the $5,000 World Poker Tour Fall Poker Open Championship at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Florida. He finished sixth in the POY race in 2010, and also did well in the Card Player Online Player of the Year race.
It will be interesting to see what Gimbel is capable of doing when he has the full selection of live tournaments to choose from once he turns 21. Until then, another possible contender in the 2011 POY race from the under-21 set could be “Isildur1,” who recently became a member of Team PokerStars. If he is able to dominate European events the way that he has high-stakes online cash games, he could be a threat in the 2011 POY race. ♠