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POY Update: Players Creep Up But Erik Seidel Remains No. 1

John Phan and David Benyamine Move to Second and Third Place Respectively With Recent WPT Final Table

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Erik SeidelThe 2008 Card Player Player of the Year race has sprinted past the halfway mark, and with the finish line still so far away, the competitors aren’t slowing down. With the World Series of Poker and the first event of Season VII of the World Poker Tour in the books, the leader board has inevitably seen lots of changes. However, the one place that has remained constant throughout the summer is the only one that matters, in the end.

Like Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, and Michael Phelps, Erik Seidel has been ranked number one for what seems like forever this year. In actuality, he snagged the top spot back in April John Phanafter winning the WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic on top of placing second in the Aussie Millions main event and has kept his lead by making two WSOP final tables. Seidel will need to keep adding points to his score, because the two competitors closest on his heels are simply on fire.

After winning his first … and second WSOP bracelet this summer, John Phan rocketed into the No. 4 spot. He then parlayed his great run at the Rio over to Bellagio and made the final table of the WPT Bellagio Cup IV. Phan finished in fifth place for almost $194,000 and 1,000 POY points. With momentum on his side, he currently sits in second position, a mere 399 points behind Seidel.
David Benyamine
In the same fashion, David Benyamine carried over his success at the WSOP into the Bellagio Cup IV. After making three WSOP final table appearances with a win in event No. 37, the world championship Omaha eight-or-better event, for almost $536,000, Benyamine was still unable to keep a spot in the top 10 on the leader board. That is, however, until he made the WPT final table along with Phan. Benyamine finished second, which was good for more than $840,000, 2,000 POY points, and a third-place spot on the leader board with 4,148 points.

Also cracking the top 10 is a person who should be no surprise to David Phamanyone, David Pham. He has won this race in both 2000 and 2007, as well as finished second in 2004. At the Bellagio Cup IV, Pham made three top 10 finishes, including ninth place in the main event. These finishes, along with the three final tables he made at the L.A. Poker Classic and a WPT final table at the World Poker Challenge earlier this year, put his score up to 3,582. Arguably one of the most consistent players on the circuit today, Pham is a fixture on the leader board year after year, and will likely remain a top contender in the race.
Shannon Shorr
Shannon Shorr broke his way into the top 10 by continuing to make final tables of preliminary events in major tournament series. He started out the year by making three final tables at the Five-Star World Poker Classic, accumulating a good starting base of points. At the WSOP, Shorr came close to winning his first bracelet in event No. 7, a $2,000 no-limit hold’em event, but he had to settle for more than $349,000 and 1,000 POY points. Then, at Bellagio, where he has a history of considerable tournament success that includes winning the Bellagio Cup II main event in 2006, Shorr won a preliminary event and finished third in another at the Bellagio Cup IV. He now has 3,388 points and is in seventh place.

With less than 1,500 points separating first and 10th place, it is still anyone’s game.