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2016 Card Player Player of the Year Race -- Christopher Leong Climbs To Eighth Place

Reigning WSOP Main Event Champ Joe McKeehen Also Joins The Top Ten


February is off to a fast start for the Card Player Player of the Year race. The first week of the second month of 2016 saw several big tournaments wrap up, awarding huge payouts and chunks of POY points. Here is a look at the events that most impacted the standings over the past seven days:

2016 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open

Chris LeongThis year’s running of the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open $3,500 no-limit hold’em main event sported a $3 million guarantee. The promise of a massive payday to the eventual champ drew a sizable field of 1,171 entries, easily surpassing the guarantee to build a final prize pool of $3,748,371.

In the end Christopher Leong came out on top, earning $816,246 and 1,440 Player of the Year points for the win. This was his first tournament score of the year, but was big enough on it’s own to launch him into eighth place in the overall standings unaided.

Leong overcame a tough final table on his road to the title, outlasting the likes of Yevgeniy Timoshenko (5th – $206,160) and reigning World Series of Poker main event champion Joseph McKeehen (4th – $249,267).

This was McKeehen’s third final table finish of the year, having already finished runner-up in the $100,000 super high roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and second in a $5,300 six-max no-limit hold’em event also held at the PCA. The 720 points he earned with his latest deep run were enough to see him climb to 10th place in the overall standings.

Aria High Roller XXIV and XXV

Dan ShakFor the last few years Aria has played host to back-to-back $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em high roller events each and every month. The 2016 February runnings of these small-field, high-stakes tournaments took place over the past weekend.

The first of the two tournaments drew 53 total entries to build a prize pool of $1,272,000. In the end the final three players decided to make a deal, evenly splitting the remaining prize pool between them. Erik Seidel, Barry Hutter and Dan Shak all earned $296,800 for their performance in the event, with Shak locking up the title and the trophy by holding the most chips at the time the deal was struck.

Bryn Kenney finished sixth in the event for $76,320 and 140 POY points. This was already his third final table of the year. He made his fourth the following day when he finished fourth in the second of the $25,000 buy-in events, earning $82,080 and 210 POY points. He now sits in 16th place in the overall standings.

A total of 38 entries were made the second time around to bring the prize pool to $912,000. In the end Justin Bonomo came out on top, defeating Barry Hutter heads-up to secure the title and the top prize of $383,040.

2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event runner-up Anthony Gregg finished third for $127,680 and 280 points and currently occupies the sixth-place spot on the POY leaderboard as a result.

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

Rank Player POY Points Earnings
1 Ari Engel 2,614 $1,148,102
2 Steve O’Dwyer 2,178 $2,820,030
3 Tony Dunst 1,900 $700,000
4 Samantha Abernathy 1,840 $448,532
5 Michael Watson 1,824 $728,325
6 Anthony Gregg 1,800 $739,855
7 Nick Maimone 1,444 $1,007,060
8 Christopher Leong 1,440 $816,246
9 Connor Drinan 1,428 $1,907,147
10 Joseph Mckeehen 1,420 $1,531,847
11 Sean Winter 1,295 $966,180
12 Chance Kornuth 1,260 $746,172
13 Phillip McAllister 1,252 $362,060
14 David Peters 1,250 $3,392,805
15 Rafael Yaraliyev 1,200 $487,288
16 Bryn Kenney 1,154 $2,031,480
17 Alex Lynskey 1,140 $311,500
18 Ivan Luca 1,108 $664,350
19 Andy Philachack 1,080 $393,188
19 Salomon Ponte 1,080 $344,420