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Player of the Year

Vivek Rajkumar Takes Player of the Year Lead

by Ryan Lucchesi |  Published: May 06, 2011

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The Card Player 2011 Player of the Year (POY) race continues to be populated by some of the biggest names in poker. After the first three months of the year, professional poker player Vivek Rajkumar has taken the lead, with 3,200 points. He holds a slight lead of 80 points over PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion Galen Hall.

Rajkumar has just two cashes so far in 2011, but when he has cashed, he has made them count. He has made the final table of two World Poker Tour events, and has won $1,204,530 in prize money. His first cash was a runner-up finish at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic in early March. He survived a field of 681 players to advance to heads-up play, but fell to winner Gregory Brooks (currently tied for fifth place in the POY standings with 2,400 points). Rajkumar took home $908,730 and 2,000 points for that
performance in L.A.

A few weeks later, Rajkumar traveled to Northern California for the Bay 101 WPT Shooting Star main event, and found himself at another final table. This time, he finished fourth, and was awarded $295,800 and 1,200 points.

The eventual champion was Alan Sternberg, who won $1,039,000 and 2,400 points for his efforts. His first career title put Sternberg in a tie for fifth place in the standings with Brooks and Aussie Millions champion David Gorr.

Mike Matusow finished third at Bay 101, for $369,800 in prize money and 1,600 points. That puts him in the top 20 in the POY standings. He is tied for 20th place with Carlos Mortensen and Joe Hachem, and with Erik Seidel a few spots ahead of them in 15th place, there is a very talented collection of professionals who will be gunning for Rajkumar’s lead in the coming months.

Tim West Racks Up 1,500 Points in a Week

Just as Vivek Rajkumar had a strong month of March with multiple final-table appearances, Tim West had a strong final week of March that earned him just over 1,500 points. West won the Wynn Poker Classic main event, capturing $318,738 in prize money and 1,008 points. A few days later, he made another final table, and this time he scored a runner-up finish in the World Series of Poker Circuit Western Regional Championship. That performance added $174,443 and 500 points to his 2011 haul, and he now has 1,568 points and is in 25th place in the standings.

EPT Snowfest Awards Thousands of Points

The European Poker Tour returned to the Austrian Alps in March, and once again, hundreds of poker players — 482, to be exact — entered the event. Champion Vladimir Geshkenbein took home $552,901 and 1,920 points, which puts him in 13th place in the standings. Two other players made four-digit POY scores in Austria; they were Kevin Vandersmissen (1,600 points) and Koen De Visscher (1,280 points). ♠