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Card Player Announces Changes For 2012 Player of the Year Formula

Minimum Buy-In Requirements Raised, More Points For High Roller Events


A Look At The Last Three POY WinnersThe Card Player Player of the Year award was started in 1997 and has since turned into one of poker’s highest honors. Past notable winners include T.J. Cloutier, Men Nguyen, Daniel Negreanu, Michael Mizrachi, David Pham, Eric Baldwin, Tom Marchese, Tony Ma, John Phan and most recently, Ben Lamb.

That being said, Card Player recognizes that the poker tournament landscape changed dramatically in 2011 thanks to a surge in international events. Just five years ago in 2006, the POY race featured just three non-American players in the top 25. This year, that number jumped to 11 and included representatives from countries such as England, the Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Sweden and France.

These developments have pushed Card Player to make adjustments to the Player of the Year formula in order to more accurately reflect the evolving international tournament circuit. The 2012 Card Player Player of the Year race sponsored by Lock Poker will be the first to implement the new criteria.

The Major Changes

1. The minimum buy-in has been increased from $300 to $500. Buy-ins are calculated with the entry fee, meaning that an event listed as $450+$50 will still qualify.

2. There are new multipliers for tournaments with larger buy-ins. Previously, there was no distinction between a $25,000 and a $100,000 tournament.

3. The minimum field size has been decreased from 60 to 50 entrants. Tournaments that generate a prize pool of over $250,000 will automatically qualify regardless of field size.

4. Everyone at the final table that finishes in the money will receive POY points. Field sizes of over 2,500 players will award POY points to the final three tables.

For a full breakdown of the 2012 formula, visit the Card Player Player of the Year rules page.

The End Result

Below, you’ll find a side-by-side comparison for the top 20 players in 2011 using both the old and new POY formula. As you can see, there is no change in the top two spots. Regardless of how you break it down, Ben Lamb was the clear winner in 2011.

You do begin to see some changes, however, when you take a look at the players who excelled in high roller events this season such as Erik Seidel, Sam Trickett and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier. A total of five events were played this year with buy-ins of at least $100,000. One event in Australia even boasted a $250,000 buy-in. Furthermore, high roller events continued to run on nearly every European stop, usually costing the players around €25,000 to enter.

Card Player is committed to ensuring that the best tournament players are recognized for their accomplishments year after year and we feel that the recent tweaks to the Player of the Year formula will more accurately produce a winner that is worthy of that honor.

Rank Player 2011 Points Rank Player 2012 Points
1 Ben Lamb 6,036 1 Ben Lamb 5,027
2 Chris Moorman 5,875 2 Chris Moorman 4,780
3 Oleksii Kovalchuk 5,494 3 Erik Seidel 4,654
4 Marvin Rettenmaier 5,056 4 Oleksii Kovalchuk 4,220
5 Sam Stein 4,505 5 Sam Stein 4,056
6 Jason Mercier 4,396 6 Jason Mercier 4,046
7 Elio Fox 4,320 7 Marvin Rettenmaier 3,937
8 Galen Hall 4,284 8 Sam Trickett 3,907
9 Eugene Katchalov 4,258 9 Eugene Katchalov 3,828
10 Steve O’Dwyer 4,174 10 Bertrand Grospellier 3,733
11 Sam Trickett 4,096 11 Galen Hall 3,701
12 Matt Waxman 4,005 12 Pius Heinz 3,600
13 Erik Seidel 3,966 13 Maxim Lykov 3,481
14 Pius Heinz 3,960 14 Elio Fox 3,468
15 Maxim Lykov 3,876 15 Andrey Pateychuk 3,409
16 Alessio Isaia 3,828 16 Steve O’Dwyer 3,370
17 Taylor von Kriegenbergh 3,672 17 Martin Jacobson 3,159
18 Andrey Pateychuk 3,636 18 Anton Ionel 3,000
19 Bertrand Grospellier 3,611 19 Vivek Rajkumar 2,950
20 Vanessa Selbst 3,544 20 Alessio Isaia 2,939


over 10 years ago

Instead of lowering the field size from 60 to 50 maybe you should raise it to 100 or 150 to qualifying event. Also events that are closed to players should not be counted. The flaw in your new system is evident just by the move up Erik Seidel makes under the new format. He made nearly all his points in small field high buy in closed to most player[NBC Headsup 432 pts Epic Poker 1000 pts]. 3966 pts for year and 3300 were for 20k to 250k buy ins with small fields not really a true indicator. Seidel is a great player but the new system over rewards him for being a very high stacks player.


over 10 years ago

So you produced a new system that would propel Eric Seidel to third place and you didn't see that something is very wrong here? Seidel made almost all his points in closed events and high roller events.

High rollers events are glorified sit-and-gos that are completely closed off to everybody except the super-rich and the players who have lucrative backing from poker sites. Why are you emphasizing these events even further? It's not enough that any shred of legitimacy that the career money list rankings had are getting completely blown away by these events? The player of the year points have to get raped too?

Why would an event like the National Heads Up earn you any points at all? It is invite-only and besides that, the invitation criteria are extremely questionable. Clearly Full Tilt had some influence on the invitations as players like Phil Gordon and Andy Bloch were brought back year after year. This event has no place in any legitimate points system.

The Epic Poker events, at least you could say their player selection is slightly more transparent than the National Heads Up. But still, how is it fair that these invite-only events are counted?

You say you raised the minimum buy-in for qualifying events from $300 to $500. Maybe I need to read the article more thoroughly but I didn't catch the reasoning for this. I can't really speak for international trends, but the U.S. tournaments are still a very big piece of the puzzle, and right now the U.S. poker tournament scene is contracting, not expanding. Buy-ins across the board are being DECREASED. This is not a time to be increasing minimum buy-ins for a tournament points system. There are still lots of prelims to major tour events which are in the $300-499 range. You just wiped out a lot of qualifying events and I don't understand how that is a positive.

I guess you could say the changes concern me just a bit! The CardPlayer POY still carries a lot of respect, certainly more than any other comparable title. Don't make it into a joke.


over 10 years ago

Just wanted to address a few concerns. Yes, the high roller events now count for slightly more points, but keep in mind that previously, there was no distinction between $25,000 events and $250,000 events. The new rule change simply gives slightly, and I stress the word slightly, more points to the bigger buy-ins.

The only reason that Erik Seidel is ranked so high, is because he managed to win or finish deep in EIGHT high roller events. That is not a typo. He did it EIGHT times, and that doesn't even include the points he earned for final tabling a WPT event, and two prelims at the PCA and LAPC. All that being said, he still wouldn't have won the POY award.

You can't simply win a high roller event to win the POY award.

In 2011, a U.S. event needed to have a buy-in of $300 and an international event needed a buy-in of $500. This is obviously not fair to any international players, so the buy-in criteria was raised in the States to level the playing field.


over 10 years ago

The link above points to the results for the first $100,000 event of the year. Notice that Viktor Blom would need to WIN a similar event NINE times to claim the POY award in 2012. Last year there were only five events that took place with buy-ins of $100,000 or more. Once again, you can't win the POY award with only high roller results.


over 10 years ago

Under the new system Seidel would have missed player of the year by less then 400 pts. basically just cashing in short field high roller tournaments or invitation tournaments. Closed tournaments epic poker 2 against total fields of 234 players [137 and 97] 1000 pts. Nat'l Heads Up 64 player invite 432 pts. Then 4 tournaments 100k 29 players, 250k 20 players 100k 38 players 25k 151 players for a total of 1692 pts. So he was awarded 3124 pts for year by playing in 3 closed tournaments against fields totaling 298 and open high roller tournaments 4 with total fields of 238[this is skewed by the 151 that played in Carribean HR which could be legitimately counted] for 1692 pts. Seidel received 3124 pts by beating combined fields of 536 players while Ben Lamb received 2400 pts for beating 8500+ in ME and that's under old system under new system Seidel gains almost 700 pts. and Lamb would lose 1000+ pts. It might not be possible to win player of the just winning high roller events but it gives a tremedous advantage to anyone who plays in them and cashes. No field with less then 100 players should be counted and definitely no invitation tournaments should be counted toward any legitimate player of the yr. count.


Army Eye
over 10 years ago

Card Player wants the pretend-superstars who have their buy-ins bought and paid for, to all be at the top of the Player of the Year standings. I would laugh if a rich whale like Dan Shak won a bunch of the high roller SNGs, and got Player of the Year. But most likely, it'll go exactly as they figure. Somebody who hits all of the High Roller events and of course has the golden invite to the "Epic Poker" events, and also supplements it with a couple WSOP/WPT final tables will win, and Card Player will get their sexy Seidel photo shoot in the Player of the Year issue.


Army Eye
over 10 years ago

Julio: you say that the threshold for US events was $300 and the threshold for international events was $500

So your solution was to raise the threshold for everything to $500.

Do you not see a very simple, alternative solution to that problem that would not have marginalized >50% of the prelims on the WPT/WSOPC schedule?