Who’s the real leader in the poker POY race?

Who's the real leader in the poker POY race?

The first quarter of the year is almost over, and the race for the Player of the Year (POY) award is still up for grabs. There’s still a lot of time left until the award will be presented, but the impressive starts of a couple familiar faces—and a relatively unknown player—will turn up the heat.

Who's the real leader in the poker POY race?CardPlayer Magazine’s POY leaderboard is currently topped by Toby Lewis out of the UK. He had a great start to 2018, taking control of the Aussie Millions Main Event and picking up just over $1 million in the process. He has now accumulated 3,780 points in the POY race.

Despite having about $500,000 more than Lewis on the year, Justin Bonomo is currently second in line for the POY award. He’s had some impressive high-roller tournament finishes but has racked up only 2,156 points in the race. The WSOP bracelet winner is only just ahead of Maria Lampropulos, who took down the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament in January. The Argentinian champ has earned more than $1 million this year, and only trails by 56 points.

Out of those three players, only one appears on the Top 10 of the Global Poker Index (GPI) rankings—Bonomo. He currently sits in ninth with 1,371.99. The name that tops that list is a surprise to most: Greece’s Georgios Zisimopoulos is ranked first on the GPI with 1,631.11 points. He’s had four first-place finishes this year already, as well as several final table appearances. To date, he’s earned a little more than $2 million in live action, all of which has been at European-based tournaments. Zisimopoulos is followed by Nick Pupillo (1,618.23 points) and Joseph McKeehan (1.478.17).

The difference in ranking comes from how the points are awarded. The GPI ranks based on factors including the player’s finishing place relative to the playing field, and the buy-in of the event, which has to be at least $1,000. CardPlayer, on the other hand, considers events with a buy-in of $300 or more to be enough to qualify, and events must have at least 50 entrants or a prize pool of $250,000 or more for it to be considered for qualification.

There is still a lot of action left in the year, and the leaders could—and probably will—change frequently. Could the title go to a seasoned veteran, or will someone like Zisimopoulos surprise everyone?  It’s time to start placing the bets.