By Paul Hewson
How do you decide who the best poker player in the world is? Since 2011, the Global Poker Index has been tracking tournament results and crowning its Player of the Year. Tournaments aren't the be-all and end-all of poker, but they are the most competitive form of the game – and therefore ideal for a Player of the Year competition.
Since its inception, the GPI Player of the Year award has been claimed by Dan Smith (2012), Ole Schemion (2013) and Daniel Colman (2014). Who will win this year's POY award? Here's how the 2015 GPI Top 10 looks at press time:
1. Byron Kaverman 4736.90 points
2. Anthony Zinno 4649.05
3. Nicholas Petrangelo 4406.04
4. Steve O'Dwyer 4333.58
5. Jason Mercier 4175.44
6. Dzmitry Urbanovich 4095.19
7. Connor Drinan 3996.08
8. Dominik Nitsche 3848.66
9. Fedor Holz 3834.30
10. Scott Seiver 3834.10
That is an impressive collection of poker players. The GPI assigns points based on a somewhat complicated system that takes field size and buy-in level among other things into account. Suffice to say this is a fairly close race with EPT Prague still to go before the end of the year. Zinno had an opportunity to take first place by cashing the €50,000 Super High Roller, but he was the bubble boy on Tuesday.
This has been a tremendous 2015 campaign for Kaverman, who finished No. 15 in the 2014 GPI Player of the Year race. The Ohio native and staunch Liverpool FC supporter has won nearly $3.5 million in prize money this year. Kaverman also earned his first WSOP bracelet by taking down the $10,000 Six-Max No-Limit Hold'em Championship for a cool $657,351.
Zinno is no stranger to poker fans. He's a three-time WPT champion, joining Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen in that elite club. This year, the pride of Rhode Island made the final table at five WSOP events, winning his first bracelet at the Pot Limit Omaha High Roller and bagging $1.1 million for his efforts.
Kaverman and Zinno had better watch their backs because O'Dwyer is about to make a big move up the standings. O'Dwyer ended up winning the aforementioned Super High Roller at EPT Prague on Thursday, taking home €746,543 in the process. Nobody else in the POY Top 10 made it to the final table at that event. This will put O'Dwyer in third place once the rankings are updated, just a shade behind Zinno. May the best man win.