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Player of the Year Update: It's Anyone's Game

Top 55 Players Have at Least 1,000 Points

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It’s about to be April, and a spring logjam has formed with the top 10 tournament poker players of 2008. Only 920 points separate the Card Player Player of the Year (POY) leader, Michael McDonald, from those tied in 10th (Quinn Do, Andreas Gulunay and Hafiz Khan, all with 2,000 points). With so many big buy-in tournaments taking place around the world that continue to attract hundreds of players, there are thousands of POY points to go around, and the best will continue to collect them.

Right now, there are 55 players who have at least 1,000 POY points, which is essentially one victory at a major event away from taking over the lead. Another astonishing figure generated by the POY race is the money won so far this year. Out of the top 100 players on the POY list, only six have made less than $100,000 playing tournament poker in 2008.

Ten players have made $1 million or more this year (one man, Bertrand Grospellier, has made more than $2 million).

Those right outside of the top 10 include several great players, including Erik Seidel, who sits in a seven-way tie in 21st place with 1,600 points (all of which came from his second-place finish in the Aussie Millions, good for $880,000). Lee Watkinson sits in 19th place with 1,766 points thanks to four final tables and a victory in a preliminary event at the Aussie Millions. He’s won $513,979 in 2008.

Michael Binger is also stringing together quite a year. With six cashes and four final tables, the third-place finisher of the 2006 World Series of Poker main event is showing his run in that tournament was no fluke. Since then, he’s cashed 19 times, but his only victory came this year at a preliminary event at the L.A. Poker Classic. He sits in 18th place with 1,796.

Tournament poker players are about to enter the meat of the year’s schedule, first with the European Poker Tour Grand Final (April 12-17). The World Poker Tour $25,000 championship event, which is held at the Bellagio’s Five-Star World Poker Classic, takes place from April 19-26. Preliminary events, all of which will count in the POY race, start Wednesday.

Then it’s the World Series of Poker, which takes place from May 30-July 17. That series will, of course, rein havoc on the POY race. Stay tuned.