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New Top Two in the Player of the Year Race

Erik Seidel Takes Over Top Spot With His Win At Foxwoods and Michael Binger Moves into Second Place With Bellagio Prelim Victory

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Erik SeidelWith the end of April drawing near and almost 25 percent of the 2008 almost over, the top ten spots in the Card Player Player of the Year (POY) race are becoming increasingly more difficult to crack. But the recent drastic movements prove that any player still has a chance.

The player currently owning the race is eight-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Erik Seidel. He started the year off right by placing second in the Aussie Millions main event for $880,000 and 1,600 POY points back in January. Then, at this year’s Foxwoods Poker Classic, Seidel took home his first World Poker Tour title, along with almost $993,000 and 2,100 POY points, making his total 3,700 points. This was enough to surpass Michael McDonald for first place.

McDonald held the top spot for several weeks after an impressive showing at the Aussie Millions and a first-place finish at the European Poker Tour German Open. He received a whopping 2,400 POY points for that win, but with 2,920 total points, Michael BingerMcDonald wasn’t safe even in second place for long. Michael Binger has been on a tear so far this year and with his most recent cash, he moved McDonald down another spot into third place.

Binger has racked up six final table finishes this year including two six-figure wins in WPT preliminary events. Binger won a $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em event at the L.A. Poker Classic for almost $126,000 and 768 POY points as well as a $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event at the Five-Star World Poker Classic just a couple days ago. He snagged more than $317,000 and added 864 points to his standings, making his total 3,040. Binger has also been added to the list of writers for Card Player and will contribute articles to show his insight on the game.

Both Brandon Cantu and Phil Ivey were boosted into the top ten from big WPT title wins and are standing in fourth and fifth places respectively. Cantu won the Bay 101 Shooting Stars event for $1 million and 2,280 POY points, bringing his total points to 2,772. Ivey is right behind him with 2,610 points, 2,400 of which came from winning the $1.6 million for first at the L.A. Poker Classic.Michael McDonald

It’s no surprise to anyone that two-time POY winner David Pham is in sixth place. His name always seems to be at or near the top of the list every year, and 2008 is no different. Just after being named the 2007 POY, Pham kicked off 2008 with a final-table finish at the EPT PokerStars.net Caribbean Adventure. He placed fourth for $600,000 and 1,200 points. After stringing together a few final tables at L.A. Poker Classic prelim events and making a WPT final table at the World Poker Challenge, Pham has 2,590 points.

Seventh through tenth places are separated by only a mere 140 points. Bertrand Grospellier is seventh with 2,540 points, Men Nguyen is eighth with 2,486 points, David Tran is ninth with 2,419 points, and there is a three-way tie for tenth. Tim Vance, Glen Chorny, and Gavin Griffin all have 2,400 points.

There are a number of players just a few hundreds points away from breaking into the top ten, and for those who aren’t even in the top 50, all it takes is one big hit. The WPT Championship starts tomorrow, and with the field and prize pool the event usually attracts, a high finish can boost players into top contention even with no previous points accumulated. For a full list of the 2008 POY standings, click here.