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2017 Card Player Player of the Year Race Update -- Adrian Mateos Makes Three Final Tables To Close The Gap On Bryn Kenney

A Look At The Movement Atop The POY Leaderboard Over The Past Week


Only a few weeks remain in the 2017 Card Player Player of the Year, race presented by the Commerce Casino & Hotel. With several massive tournaments wrapping up around the world, there has been a lot of action at the top of the POY leaderboard. Here is a look at the tournaments over the past week that most impacted the standings.

2017 Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic

Alex FoxenThe 2017 Five Diamond World Poker Classic series at Bellagio has definitely influenced the POY rankings heading into the final stretch, with a plethora of events held in the second week of the series that saw top contenders making deep runs.

The World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10,400 no-limit hold’em main event drew a record-breaking field of 812 entries, with Ryan Tosoc improving on his 2016 runner-up finish in this event to win, earning $1,958,065 and 2,280 points.

Second-place finisher Alex Foxen was awarded $1,134,202 and 1,900 points at his fifth final table of the year. He jumped to 25th place, with 3,771 total points and nearly $1.5 million in earnings on the year.

The Bellagio Poker Room also hosted a number of impactful side events. Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Kristen Bicknell outlasted a field of 147 entries in a $5,200 no-limit hold’em tournament to win $199,840 and 576 points. 23-year-old Spanish superstar Adrian Mateos finished fourth for $58,818 and 288 points at his 19th final table of the year. Mateos was not done for the week, though, so more on him later.

Koray AldemirA few days later a second $5,200 event was held that drew 152 entries. Christopher Frank won for $235,903 and 576 points. Top POY contender Koray Aldemir placed third for $88,464 and 384 points. Like Mateos, Aldemir was not done for the week either.

The Five Diamond closed out with a couple of $25,000 buy-in high roller events. The first began on Dec. 8 and drew a strong turnout of 53 entries. Adrian Mateos managed yet another final table showing, busting from this event in third place for $185,500 and 280 points. This was his 20th final table of the year, and yet he was still not done making deep runs this week.

Jason Koon made his 15th final table of 2017 in that event, placing seventh for $66,250 and 105 points. He moved into fifth place in the standings with 4,859 total points and $3,835,191 in POY cashes so far this year.

Stefan Schillhabel finished sixth in that event for $79,500 and 140 points and then turned around and won the second $25,000 high roller the following day. He emerged victorious from a field of 58 entries to win $356,250 and 420 points at his 12th final table of the year. He moved into 24th place in the rankings as a result.

Bryn KenneySeveral other top POY contenders joined Schillhabel at the final table. POY race leader Bryn Kenney finished seventh for $72,500 and 105 points. With $8,201,128 in yearly earnings and 71,73 points he still holds the outright lead, although several top contenders are managing to gain ground on him. Steffen Sontheimer placed sixth for $87,000 and 140 points at his 16th final table and now occupies the seventh-place spot on the leaderboard.

Dan Smith earned $116,000 and 175 points as the fifth-place finisher and moved to 13th in the overall standings. The 2012 POY race second-place finisher has made 15 final tables in 2017. Darren Elias finished fourth for $145,000 and 210 points. This eighth POY-qualified final table finish of 2017 put Elias in 15th place in the POY rankings.

The final POY contender to cash in this event was Christopher Hunichen, who earned $203,000 and 280 as the third-place finisher. His 3,616 are good for 27th place.

2017 PokerStars Championship Prague 50,000 Super High Roller

Timothy Adams has won the 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague €50,000 super high roller no-limit hold’em event, outlasting a field of 34 total entries to capture the title, the €555,000 ($654,900 USD) first place prize and 510 points. This was Adam’s second title and 14th final table finish of the year, which shot him into 21st place in the overall rankings.

Adrian MateosMikita Badziakouski was the runner-up in this event. The $452,648 USD and 425 points he earned moved him inside the top ten in the POY standings. The Belarussian’s 4,579 points are good enough for ninth place at the moment.

Who finished third? Who else but Adrian Mateos, who scored $288,982 USD and 340 points at his 21st final table of the year and third in just over a week. The 23-year-old Spanish superstar has now won four titles and cashed for $5,505,571 in 2017. As a result of this late push he now currently in second place on the POY leaderboard with 7,010 POY points, only 163 behind Kenney.

Koray Aldemir earned $134,874 USD and 170 as the sixth-place finisher. This was his 17th final table, and with 5,510 points and $4,105,519 in year-to-date earnings, he has moved into fourth place in the standings. Sam Greenwood’s fifth-place finish for $173,460 USD and 213 points moved him into 20th place. He’s made nine final tables and won one title so far.

2017 Heartland Poker Tour Championship

Ari EngelAri Engel defeated a field 316 entries to win the 2017 Heartland Poker Tour Championship no-limit hold’em main event at the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles, Missouri. Engel overcame Jacob Bazeley heads-up to secure his third title of the year, earning the $162,154 first-place prize and 720 POY points.

This was Engel’s 13th final table finish of 2017. The 2016 POY race fourth-place finisher has kept up his incredible consistency and once again finds himself as one of the top contenders for the Player of the Year award. With 4,405 points and $768,353 in earnings so far in 2017, Engel now occupies the 14th-place spot on the leaderboard.

Bazeley earned $102,647 and 600 points as the runner-up. This was his third final table finish of the year. He also finished 25th in the World Series of Poker $10,000 no-limit hold’em main event for $263,532. With 1,097 points and $418,604 in earnings, he sits in 386th place in the rankings.

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

Rank Player POY Points Earnings
1 Bryn Kenney 7,173 $8,201,128
2 Adrian Mateos 7,010 $5,505,571
3 Fedor Holz 5,707 $6,299,713
4 Koray Aldemir 5,510 $4,105,519
5 Jason Koon 4,859 $3,835,191
6 Justin Bonomo 4,808 $4,051,750
7 Steffen Sontheimer 4,782 $6,812,332
8 David Peters 4,710 $3,078,980
9 Mikita Badziakouski 4,579 $4,558,290
10 Rainer Kempe 4,559 $3,002,132
11 Stephen Chidwick 4,522 $3,262,942
12 Benjamin Pollak 4,460 $4,866,801
13 Dan Smith 4,449 $4,031,694
14 Ari Engel 4,405 $768,353
15 Darren Elias 4,290 $1,169,729
16 Raffaele Sorrentino 4,224 $1,621,325
17 Jake Schindler 4,116 $5,811,021
18 Cary Katz 4,083 $1,840,961
19 Steve O’Dwyer 3,983 $4,147,919
20 Samuel Greenwood 3,938 $2,318,599