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2018 Card Player Player of the Year Update: Bonomo, Chidwick and Kempe Make Moves Inside The Top Five

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


With March in the books the 2018 Card Player Player of the Year race is now officially more than one quarter complete. A number of big events wrapped up this past month that have help to shape the top of the leaderboard. Here is a chronological look at the tournaments that have most impacted the standings over the past several weeks.

WPT Rolling Thunder

Joseph McKeehenDavid Larson came out on top in the 2018 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder $3,500 no-limit hold’em main event, overcoming a field of 440 total entries to win the $295,128 top prize, his first WPT title and 1,080 POY points. This was the San Jose, California resident’s second final table finish of 2018, and as a result he now sits in 53rd place in the overall standings.

2015 World Series of Poker main event champion Joseph McKeehen finished third in this event for $131,081 and 720 points. This was his third final table of 2018, having placed fourth in a $25,000 high roller at the Lucky Hearts Poker Open in January for $169,688 and 294 points and fourth in the $3,500 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open main event in February for another $240,251 and 720. With 1,734 points and $541,020 in year-to-date earnings McKeehen has climbed into 15th place on the POY leaderboard. He has been a consistent presence in the race in recent years, finishing 11th in 2015, 20th in 2016 and 22nd in 2017.

WSOP Circuit Bicycle Hotel and Casino

David PhamA total of 705 total entries were made in the 2018 World Series of Poker Circuit Bicycle Hotel and Casino $1,675 no-limit hold’em main event, surpassing the $1 million guarantee by nearly $60,000. In the end 51-year-old David “The Dragon” Pham emerged victorious from a tough final table to win the $216,790 first-place prize, the championship gold ring and 912 POY points.

Pham took down this event just eight days after emerging victorious in the $1,600 no-limit hold’em main event at the Wynn Classic for another $240,254 and 912 POY points. As a result of these two title runs Pham has climbed into a tie with Viktor Blom for ninth place in the rankings with 1,824 total points. Pham, who is a three-time WSOP bracelet winner, has already won the Player of the Year award twice, in 2000 and 2007.

Super High Roller Bowl China

Justin BonomoJustin Bonomo defeated a field of 75 entries to win the $2,000,000 HKD ($271,115 USD) buy-in 2018 Super High Roller Bowl China, scoring $4,820,299 USD and 840 POY points as the champion of this massive event.

Bonomo has been incredibly consistent on the live tournament circuit in recent years, finishing third in the POY race in 2016 and fifth in in 2017. He is maintaining his impressive pace in 2018, having made six final tables and won three titles already this year. In addition to this latest win he also took down the $25,000 high roller at the Lucky Hearts Poker Open in January for $556,873 and 588 points and a $10,000 no-limit hold’em event at the US Poker Open for another $190,400 and 360 points. With $7,152,722 in year-to-date earnings and 2,996 points, Bonomo now sits in second place in the overall standings behind only Toby Lewis.

Rainer KempeAs you might expect, Bonomo was far from the only POY competitor present at this massive super high roller final table. 2016 Player of the Year winner David Peters place seventh for $1,112,377 and 210 points at his sixth final table of the year and climbed into 17th place in the standings.

2016 Super High Roller Bowl Rainer Kempe finished third for $2,039,357 USD and 560 points. This was his sixth final table finish already in 2018, but he was not yet done making big scores in Asia. See the next section on the APPT Macau for more from Kempe. Stephen Chidwick placed sixth for $1,297,773 and 280 points, his seventh final table showing so far this year. Like Kempe, he also had more to come in March.

APPT Macau

The 2018 Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau played host to many large tournaments over an 11-day span. Kristen Bicknell defeated David Peters heads-up in an early event for the second largest score of her career: $284,960 and 600 points. Later on in the series there were a number of high roller events that have helped shape the standings near the top of the POY leaderboard.

Stephen ChidwickRainer Kempe followed up his deep run in the SHRB China by winning a $100,000 HKD ($12,740 USD) buy-in event for $156,390 and 240 points, topping a small but tough field of 38 entries. This was Kempe’s seventh final table finish and second title of the year, and with 2,072 points and $2,842,877 in year-to-date earnings he now sits in fifth place in the rankings.

In another $100,000 HKD event that finished on the same day Stephen Chidwick placed third for $242,840 and 560. This was Chidwick’s eighth final table finish of the year, having put together an incredible performance at the US Poker Open that saw him win two titles and make five final tables at that series alone. As a result of his final table spree the British poker pro now sits in third place on the POY leaderboard.

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

Rank Player POY Points Earnings
1 Toby Lewis 3,780 $1,756,835
2 Justin Bonomo 3,038 $7,197,442
3 Stephen Chidwick 2,610 $2,875,663
4 Maria Lampropulos 2,100 $1,081,100
5 Rainer Kempe 2,072 $2,842,877
6 Koray Aldemir 1,940 $791,336
7 Brian Altman 1,904 $261,876
8 Stefan Huber 1,900 $721,300
9 Viktor Blom 1,824 $1,054,000
9 David Pham 1,824 $457,044
11 Dennis Blieden 1,800 $1,000,000
12 Adrian Mateos 1,795 $1,083,850
13 Tim Rutherford 1,760 $254,514
14 Shawn Buchanan 1,750 $672,960
15 Joseph McKeehen 1,734 $541,020
16 Mike Leah 1,680 $352,985
17 David Peters 1,666 $2,094,298
18 Keith Morrow 1,647 $229,878
19 Francois Billard 1,638 $287,418
20 Stefan Schillhabel 1,592 $1,433,066