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Card Player Player of the Year: World Series of Poker Update

The WSOP has Created Many New Contenders for the POY Crown, Including Four-Time Champion Men Nguyen

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Thomas MarcheseThe first 31 events at the 2010 World Series of Poker produced little movement in the Card Player Player of the Year Race. Then two players (Jeffrey Papola and Men “The Master” Nguyen) jumped into the top 10 at the final table of event No. 32 ($5,000 six-handed no-limit hold’em) on June 19, and kicked off a week of big POY movement.

Current leader Thomas Marchese (pictured right) was among those that increased his point total. He grew his total to 4,442 points thanks to a final-table appearance at event No. 38 ($10,000 pot-limit hold’em world championship) on June 22. He finished in sixth place and took home 540 points. His closest competitor, Sorel Mizzi supplemented his point total earlier at the WSOP. Mizzi added 320 points to grow his total to 3,862 when he finished in sixth place at the final table of event No. 21 ($1,500 seven-card stud).

Papola locked down the third spot in the standings thanks to a bracelet victory in event No. 32 last Saturday that awarded him 1,920 points. Papola now holds 3,420 points overall. He was the runner-up in event No. 26 ($2,500 six-handed no-limit hold’em event), which ended on June 16. His first WSOP final-table appearance of 2010 gained him 1,500 points.

The Master won his seventh gold bracelet on June 6 when he defeated 149 opponents and was awarded 900 POY points. That put his 2010 total at 1,170 points when combined with previous cashes. Nguyen joined the top 10 this past week when he made his second final table of the summer and finished in second place at event No. 32 to score 1,600 points.

Nguyen now holds 2,770 points in all and he is in ninth place in the standings. All of his fellow competitors should be worried, because The Master has lived up to his nickname in previous POY races. He is the most dominant player in the history of the award. He is the only four-time POY, claiming the title in 1997, 2001, 2003, and 2005. Since the POY award began in 1997 he has won it 30 percent of the time.

The aforementioned final table of event No. 38 ($10,000 pot-limit hold’em championship) was another hot bed of POY movement. It is where Marchese increased his overall lead and it is where current eighth-place competitor Sam Stein scored his first POY points of the summer (10th place — 81 points).

Valdemar KwaysserThe final table also introduced a new player into the top 10, in bracelet winner Valdemar Kwaysser (pictured left) from Budapest. He won event No. 38 and 1,620 points. When combined with a tour victory and cash scored earlier in the year on the PokerStars Italian Poker Tour he now holds 3,190 points in all, which is good for fifth place in the standings.

Here is how the rest of the POY leader board has been affected during the WSOP:

Top 20:

12: Kevin MacPhee

2,520 points (600 won at WSOP)

MacPhee added to his total when he finished in fifth place at event No.33 ($2,500 pot-limit hold’em/Omaha) and took home 600 points.

Frank Kassela17: Frank Kassela (pictured right)

2,352 points (all won at WSOP)

Kassela became the first double bracelet winner of the summer when he won event No. 40 ($2,500 razz) and took home 1,332 points. His first bracelet was won at event No. 15 ($10,000 seven-card stud eight-or-better world championship), where he was awarded 1,020 points.

19: Al Barbieri

2,322 points (1,256 won at WSOP)

Barbieri has made two final tables this summer. His first was a sixth-place finish at event No. 23 ($2,500 six-handed limit hold’em) that netted him 456 points. The most recent was a runner-up finish at event No. 31 ($1,500 H.O.R.S.E.) that added 800 points.

Top 30:

22: James Mitchell

2,154 points (360 won at WSOP)

Mitchell finished in seventh place at the final table of event No. 33 ($2,500 pot-limit hold’em/Omaha) and he added 360 points to his POY total.

John Juanda23: John Juanda (pictured right)

2,117 points (all won at WSOP)

Juanda has been impressive at the 2010 WSOP, appearing at four final tables. His biggest POY score was booked thanks to third-place finish at event No. 37 ($3,000 H.O.R.S.E.) that gave him 960 points and took him to 23rd place.

25: Matt Keikoan

2,095 points (1,020 points won at WSOP)

Keikoan won his second career gold bracelet in event No. 29 ($10,000 limit hold’em world championship) and he was awarded 1,020 points.

26: Sirous Jamshidi

2,090 points (150 points won at WSOP)

Jamshidi made the final table of event No. 10 ($10,000 seven-card stud world championship), where he finished in eighth place and won 150 points at his fifth final table for the year.

27: Neil Channing

2,080 points (1,440 points won at WSOP)

Channing finished second in event No. 6 ($5,000 no-limit hold’em shootout) and he was awarded 1,440 points.

29: James Dempsey

2,010 points (all won at WSOP)

Dempsey won a gold bracelet at event No. 9 ($1,500 pot-limit hold’em) to capture 960 points and he followed that up with a runner-up finish at event No. 25 ($10,000 Omaha eight-or-better world championship), adding 1,050 points.