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2015 Card Player Player of the Year Race -- Joe Kuether's Closing The Gap

With Third Title Of The Year Kuether Is Now Just 562 Points Behind Current Leader Anthony Zinno


We are down to the 12th and final month of the 2015 Card Player Player of the Year race. As time runs out the top POY contenders are scrambling to make one last push. Here is a look at the many tournaments that made the biggest impact on the POY standings over the action-packed past seven days:

WSOP Circuit Planet Hollywood High Roller

Joe KuetherJoe Kuether has quietly been one of the most consistent players on the live tournament circuit since 2012. In the past three years he has finished inside the top 40 in the Player of the Year standings each time, with his highest finish being 14th place in 2012. In those three years he made 26 POY-qualified final tables and won nine of those events.

In 2015 he has continued his incredible streak of success, making 13 final tables so far this year and winning three titles. His most recent victory came in the 2015 World Series of Poker Circuit Planet Hollywood $3,250 no-limit hold’em high roller event.

He topped a field of 104 entries in that tournament, earning $93,559 and 360 POY points for the win. Just days after this win he made another small final table, finishing eighth in a $1,650 bounty event at the Seminole Hard Rock Rock’n’ Roll Poker Open for $4,860 and 52 POY points.

Kuether was already sitting in second place in the overall standings, but with this title he closed the gap between him and current leader Anthony Zinno. Kuether is now only 562 points behind Zinno, with 6,070 total points and year-to-date earnings of $2,084,691.

Seminole Hard Rock Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open Main Event

Jacob BazeleyA total of 766 players turned out for the 2015 SHR Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open $2 million guaranteed $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, easily surpassing the promised pot to build a final prize pool of $2,451,200.

In the end Jacob Bazeley emerged victorious, earning $568,687 and 1,368 POY points for the win. This was the Cincinnati, Ohio native’s fourth final table of the year, including a third-place finish in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star main event for $461,470 and 1,216 points this spring. With 3,051 total points and year-to-date earnings of $1,134,414 he has moved into 24th place in the POY rankings.

Bazeley wasn’t the only player to make a big move in the standings as a result of this event. Seventh-place finisher Nipun Java climbed inside the top twenty as a result of the $88,243 and 342 points he earned at this final table.

This was the Los Angeles, California resident’s eighth final table showing of the year. Three of his eight finalist showings ended in runner-up finishes, including a $3,000 pot-limit Omaha six-max event which saw him secure $270,509 and 1,050 points. With 3,240 and $603,262 in earnings so far this year Java now sits in 19th place on the leaderboard.

Here is a look at the current top 20 in the POY standings:

Rank Player POY Points Earnings
1 Anthony Zinno 6,632 $3,442,769
2 Joe Kuether 6,070 $2,084,691
3 Nick Petrangelo 5,526 $2,347,061
4 Byron Kaverman 5,342 $3,008,957
5 Benjamin Zamani 4,561 $1,095,924
6 Jason Mercier 4,294 $1,896,195
7 Mario Javier Lopez 3,898 $1,204,412
8 Steve O’Dwyer 3,890 $3,733,359
9 Mustapha Kanit 3,860 $2,259,859
10 Joseph Mckeehen 3,748 $7,774,650
11 Dzmitry Urbanovich 3,723 $3,646,914
12 Rainer Kempe 3,720 $920,555
13 Kevin MacPhee 3,710 $1,795,306
14 Taylor Paur 3,564 $1,719,944
15 Ivan Luca 3,493 $1,508,323
16 Igor Yaroshevskyy 3,396 $1,045,372
17 Jack Salter 3,331 $784,954
18 Paul Volpe 3,275 $1,003,036
19 Nipun Java 3,240 $603,262
20 Michael Wang 3,158 $806,474