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2017 Card Player Player of the Year Race -- March Update

A Look At The Biggest Poker Tournament Results Of The Past Month


The first quarter of action is in the books in the 2017 Card Player Player of the Year race, which is brought to you this year by the Commerce Hotel & Casino. There were massive poker tournaments taking place all around the world throughout March. Here is a look at the events this past month that had the biggest impact on the 2017 POY leaderboard:

WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event

Sam Panzica climbs to 4th placeSam Panzica topped a record field of 806 entries to win the 2017 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star $7,500 no-limit hold’em main event. For the win the poker pro earned his second WPT main event title, the first-place prize of $1,373,000 and 1,824 Player of the Year points. This was his second final table of the year, having previously finished fifth in the WSOP Circuit Palm Beach Kennel Club 41,675 no-limit hold’em main event in February for $42,554 and 350 points. With 2,174 total points and $1,415,554 in year-to-date earnings he now occupies the fourth-place spot on the POY leaderboard.

Second-place finisher Anthony Spinella also became a factor in this year’s POY race as a result of his impressive run in this event. He followed up his huge score for $786,610 and 1,520 POY points by taking down a $200,000 guaranteed $600 buy-in no-limit hold’em event in Venetian Las Vegas’ March Weekend Extravaganza for another $57m798 and 420 points. As a result he has climbed to sixth place in the standings.

WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event

The World Poker Tour closed out their ‘California Swing’ with the WPT Rolling Thunder $3,500 no-limit hold’em main event at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

Sorel Mizzi joins the top 20A total of 421 entries were made in the event, building a $1,347,200 prize pool. In the end the lion’s share of that money was awarded to Michael Del Vecchio, who topped a stacked final table to capture the title and the top prize of $284,638. He also earned 1,080 POY points for the win. This was his second final table of the year, moving him into 23rd place in the POY rankings with 1,290 points.

As previously mentioned, Del Vecchio had to outlast a tough final six that included Connor Drinan, Olivier Busquet and Sorel Mizzi. The final six had more than $30 million in combined earnings heading into this final table, in fact.

In the end Sorel Mizzi finished second for $190,105 and 900 POY points. This was his second final table of the year and it earned him enough points to catapult him into a tie for 22nd place on the POY leaderboard. Mizzi’s highest finish in the POY race came in 2010, when he placed third with 16 final table finishes and four titles won.

WSOP Circuit Bicycle Casino Main Event

Dylan Wilkerson wins 2017 WSOPC Bike Main EventDylan Wilkerson took down the 2017 World Series of Poker Circuit main event at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino, defeating a field of 705 entries in the $1,675 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament to win his first gold ring and the $216,790 top prize.

Wilkerson overcame a tough final table himself, having to face the likes of 2011 WSOP main event champion Carlos Mortensen, (8th – $25,550), WSOP Circuit ring holder Matt Stout (5th – $55,150) and 2010 European Poker Tour Villamoura champion Toby Lewis ( 2nd – $134,145).

Wilkerson earned 912 POY points as the champ. This was his second final table of the year, and he now sits in 28th place after taking down this event.

PokerStars Championship Panama

The PokerStars Championship tour made it’s way to Panama in March for a massive festival, highlighted by a $5,300 no-limit hold’em main event and a number of high roller tournaments.

Kenneth SmaronThe main event drew a field of 366 entries to build a $1,775,100 prize pool. Kenneth Smaron emerged victorious, capturing the title, the $293,860 first-place prize and 1,200 POY points. This is his lone score so far this year, but it alone was enough to move him into 32nd place in the standings.

Ben Tollerene took down the $50,000 super high roller no-limit hold’em event, defeating a field of 33 players to win $538,715 and 510 points. Justin Bonomo finished third for $237,680 and 340 points. This was his fourth final table of the year, and he climbed to 25th place as a result.

Stephen Chidwick won the $25,500 shot clock high roller event, outlasting 44 entries to win $366,500 and 420 points. He now sits inside the top 40 in the standings. Runner-up Koray Aldemir earned $253,340 and 350 points for his latest deep run. He has made a total of five final tables this year, winning two titles along the way. As a result he has climbed to 13th place in the standings with 1,546 points and $1,733,453 in to-date earnings.

Aria High Rollers

Bryn KenneyA total of 31 entries were made in the $25,000 Aria High Roller 54, creating a prize pool of $744,000. The top five players made the money in this tournament, with the largest payout of $342,240 going to eventual champion Scott Seiver. Seiver scored 420 points. Seiver defeated Bryn Kenney heads-up for the title. Kenney was at his ninth final table of the year, earning $186,000 and 350 points for his latest big score. The Long Beach, CA native was far from done for the weekend, though.

The second $25,00 event, the Aria High Roller 55, attracted 30 entries to create a $720,000 prize pool. Once again the top five finishers made the money, and once again Bryn Kenney found himself at a final table. This time he was part of a three-handed deal that saw him finish in second place for $211,000 and 350 POY points.

With ten final tables in 2017 Kenney now has 2,896 total POY points and $2,855,121 in year-to-date earnings. As a result he has moved into second place on the overall standings.

While Kenney’s back-to-back second places finishes might have stolen some of the limelight, the title and top payout in this second event were in fact awarded to Brian Rast. This was his second title of the year, having won the $50,000 Aria Super High Roller 15 back in February. For this most recent victory he earned $237,555 and 420 POY points.

Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $50,000 High Roller

Dietrich FastThe $50,000 super high roller event at the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown drew a field of 28 entries. German poker pro Dietrich Fast came out on top, striking a heads-up deal with Adrian Mateos that saw him secure the title, a payday of $483,693 and 408 Player of the Year points.

As you’d expect from an event like this, the five players that made the money were all some of tournament poker’s biggest names. Third-place finisher Rainer Kempe was at his fourth final table of the year. The $220,864 and 272 points he earned here were enough to see him move into 12th place on the POY leaderboard. Fifth-place finisher Jason Koon scored $110,432 and 170 points at his fourth final table of the year. He now sits just outside the top 20, with 1,330 points and $1,985,852 in earnings on the year.

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

Rank Player POY Points Earnings
1 Ben Heath 2,976 $1,059,369
2 Bryn Kenney 2,896 $2,855,121
3 Shurane Vijayaram 2,280 $1,216,000
4 Samuel Panzica 2,174 $1,415,554
5 Daniel Strelitz 2,100 $1,001,110
6 Anthony Spinella 1,940 $844,408
7 Christian Harder 1,912 $435,363
8 Sergio Aido 1,806 $1,933,908
9 Simeon Naydenov 1,750 $672,190
10 Nick Petrangelo 1,628 $1,514,932
11 Byron Kaverman 1,575 $1,369,280
12 Rainer Kempe 1,568 $1,175,904
12 Koray Aldemir 1,546 $1,733,453
14 Daniel Colman 1,546 $1,916,548
14 Tobias Hausen 1,520 $471,200
16 Cliff Josephy 1,520 $403,448
16 Daniel Weinman 1,440 $892,433
18 Darren Elias 1,440 $335,436
19 Jared Griener 1,400 $431,340
20 Xuan Liu 1,368 $228,042