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The 2013 Poker Year In Review: Part Two

Big Names Make Their Presence Felt In Tournament Poker

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The following is part two of a three-part series looking back at the 2013 year in poker. This excerpt will appear in the Jan. 8 issue of Card Player Magazine.

Big Names Make Their Presence Felt In Tournament Poker

By the time December rolls around the top twenty in the Card Player Player of the Year race usually features a mix of a few established pros among plenty of previously unheralded up-and-comers.

The 2013 POY standings, however, look like a who’s-who list, with top television names from the early-2000’s boom battling it out with the stars of the Internet era. This state of affairs is a result of these big names putting up huge results throughout the year, which made 2013 an exciting year to follow tournament poker. Here is a look at the year on the circuit broken down by season.

Winter

Once again the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure kicked off the year, with the very first major event of 2013 being the $100,000 buy-in super high roller. A record turnout of 59 entries in this reentry tournament made it the largest field ever in an event with a buy-in of six-figures or higher. In the end American pro Scott Seiver emerged victorious, earning just over $2 million for the win. Seiver went on to make 10 total final tables in 2013. Bulgarian poker pro Dimitar Danchev topped the field of 987 in the PCA $10,300 main event to win $1,859,000 and take an early lead in the POY race.

Rounding out the trio of seven-figure winners at the PCA was Vanessa Selbst, who won the $25,000 high roller event for $1.4 million and as a result overtook Kathy Liebert to become the all-time winningest female poker player in the history of live tournaments.

Later in January the 2013 Aussie Millions continued its tradition of huge events, with Andrew Robl winning the $100,000 super high roller for $1 million and Sam Trickett capturing the $250,000 buy-in event for $2.1 million. Mervin Chan topped a field of 629 to win the $10,000 AUD main event for $1.7 million.

Back stateside Mike “The Mouth” Matusow made his way through the field of 64 in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship to defeat Phil Hellmuth for the title and $750,000. This seemingly made-for-TV moment was a fitting end for the return of this unique event, which did not take place in 2012.

As winter began to wind down, Canadian Paul Klann beat online poker pro Paul Volpe to win the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic and win just over $1 million. Volpe went on to finish third in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star just weeks later to become a major POY contender.

Spring

Daniel Negreanu got his run to the top of the 2013 rankings started at the inaugural World Series of Poker Asia Pacific, where he won the main event to capture his fifth career gold bracelet and $1,038,825 AUD. Negreanu was far from done in 2013, though.

Up next on the increasingly international tournament circuit was the PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo. As in previous years, this series hosted a number of gigantic events, including the €100,000 Super High Roller event, won by Max Altergott for €1.75 million, a €25,000 event won by Steven ‘Zugwat’ Silverman, and of course the EPT Grand Final main event title which went to Steve O’Dwyer, along with €1.2 million.

With summer approaching, the World Poker Tour closed out its 11th season with a bang at Bellagio with the $25,000 WPT Championship, won by Chino Rheem for $1.1 million. Rheem defeated Erick Lindgren heads-up to capture his second WPT title.

Summer

With 79,471 total participants in 2013 the World Series of Poker once again proved why it is the marquee poker series, with 62 events paying out more than $197 million in prize money. The long list of notable winners included Matthew Waxman, Cliff Josephy, Mike Matusow, Mark Radoja, Taylor Paur, Davidi Kitai, Martin Finger, David Chiu, Erick Lindgren, Jeff Madsen, Jared Hamby, Steve Gross, Marco Johnson, Barny Boatman, Steve Sung, Matt Perrins, Eli Elezra, and Daniel Alaei.

Tom Schneider kept alive the incredible 14-year streak at the WSOP of at least one player winning multiple bracelets when he won both the $1,500 and $5,000 H.O.R.S.E. events.

Anthony Gregg won the $111,111 One Drop high roller no-limit event for his first bracelet and $4.8 million. In the $50,000 eight-game Poker Player’s Championship Matthew Ashton emerged victorious with $1,774,089 at his fourth final table of the summer.

The centerpiece of not just the summer, but the entire year in tournament poker is still the WSOP main event. This year young pro Ryan Riess topped a field of 6,352 players to win the title of world champion, his first bracelet and the $8.3 million payday, the largest awarded in 2013.

August normally sees somewhat of a lull after the Series, but this year saw one of the largest events take place as summer wound down. A total of 2,384 entries were made in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $10 million guaranteed, $5,300 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, and in the end Blair Hinkle defeated Justin Bonomo to win $1.7 million.

Fall

In late September Anthony Zinno defeated Vanessa Selbst heads-up in the WPT Borgata Poker Open $3,500 main event, topping a field of 1,189 entries. This was Selbst’s second huge score of the year, and put her near the top of the leaderboard in the POY race.

As the weather continued to grow colder, much of the focus of the tournament world turned towards Europe for huge events on the European Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker Europe. This marked the first year that the WSOPE was held outside of Paris, France. Adrian Mateos, a 19-year-old Spaniard, won the main event for €1,000,000. Daniel Negreanu won his second huge title of the year in the €25,000 no-limit high roller, good for a €725,000 payday and his sixth gold bracelet. In addition to the title, the hardware and the money, the 39-year-old Canadian born poker pro also extended his already sizable lead in the POY race by 1,562 points over his nearest competitor, Paul Volpe. He made seven final tables in total in 2013, with year-to-date earnings of $3.1 million.

German high-roller tournament specialist Philipp Gruissem won his third title of 2013, each coming in an event with a buy-in of $50,000 or higher, when he took down the WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts $100,000 super high roller as November wound down. As a result he moved into the top ten in the POY race, with year-to-date earnings of $4,494,419. He has made seven final tables in total in 2013, each of which earned him a six-figure payday.

It was an action packed year on the tournament circuit, with big money and huge titles going both to old-school champions intent on proving they still have it and to the young-guns who are intent on being the next superstars of the game. If 2014 can even come close to the past year in terms of excitement, we are in for another great year.

The Lucky 13 In ’13

This baker’s dozen all cashed for more than $3 million in live tournaments in 2013. Some found their way into this prestigious group by finishing inside the top three in the biggest event of the year, the WSOP main event, which sported a prize pool of nearly $60 million. Of course eventual champion Ryan Riess had the largest single score of the year at $8.3 million.

Many of the other players on this list took advantage of the continued global growth of super high roller events with six-figure buy-ins and seven-figure paydays.

Others have simply put up a ton of cashes in 2013, with Scott Seiver making ten final tables and Daniel Negreanu, Philipp Gruissem, and Igor Kurganov making seven final tables each.

However they made it to this list, it’s safe to say that these 13 players each had an incredible 2013.