Dan Smith Rockets Into Sixth Place on GPI 300

Dan SmithAmerican Dan Smith has shot into the top 10 of the Global Poker Index (GPI) 300 after scoring a terrific treble triumph at the recent European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final in Monte Carlo.

The Las Vegas poker pro climbed an impressive 99 places on the rankings to secure sixth place – just 8.85 points behind Ukrainian Team Poker Stars Pro Eugene Katchalov – on 2,430.18 after a trio of victories in €5,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em events in Monaco.

Smith started the Grand Final with victory in the Six-Max Turbo event for $201,972, then took down a $330,724 success in another No-Limit Hold’em side tournament, before concluding his highly profitable stay at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort by winning the Six-Max competition for $155,790.

American Enjoying An Incredible 2012

However, it’s no great surprise to see Smith zooming up the top 300 as he won the Aussie Millions AUD$100,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Challenge event for $1,041,828 back in January, before following up with two more cashes in mid-April as the EPT stopped off in Berlin.

Incredibly, Smith has already made the money in six events this year, winning four, to ensure that his rapid rise up the GPI continues since he first appeared inside the top 300 back on December 5.

As if that wasn’t enough to convince you of this rising star’s pedigree – Smith has managed to secure $1,748,943 in live tournament earnings within the first four months of this year, as opposed to $628,688 from the previous three years combined since he recorded his first cash way back in September of 2008 when he pocketed $30,383 for taking seventh in the EPT Barcelona €2,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event.

Daniel Negreanu Climbs Into Top 10

However, Smith is not the only big-name pro to break into the top 10, with Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu striding in at 10th place after climbing 33 places following the Canadian’s runner-up finish for $790,304 in the €25,000 buy-in High Roller in Monaco.

The four-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion from Toronto – who holds 2,280.75 points to sit just 7.71 behind fellow Canadian Team PokerStars Pro Jonathan Duhamel – also boosted his position on the GPI by earlier taking sixth place in the €100,000 buy-in Super High Roller in the tiny principality for $409,279.

Florida’s Noah Schwartz also enjoyed a notable rise of eight places into seventh on 2,414.38 points after also performing well in Monte Carlo’s High Roller event – taking sixth for $219,162 – that reported for this latest rankings list.

Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier Remains Top

After what has been a fairly quiet few weeks on the top 10, it’s almost all-change as only the leading two – Frenchman Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier (number one on 2,927.31 points) and his fellow Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier (second on 2,909.39), of Hollywood – retain their positions.

Sticking with the top 10 for now, Montana’s David ‘Doc’ Sands moved up two places into third on 2,581.69 points – displacing Canadian Sorel Mizzi (fourth on 2,553.66) and Katchalov (fifth on 2,439.03) – after adding 106.34 to his overall score.

Sands enjoyed a fantastic WSOP last year, making the money so often that the previous GPI list could find no place in Period 2 for his third spot in event #22, a $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, for $113,383 as he had already hit the maximum four results.

David ‘Doc’ Sands Enjoys Points Boost

However, with Sands’ fourth place for $200,371 at last year’s EPT Grand Final €25,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em High Roller ageing into Period 3, that PLO score now counts in Period 2 to boost his score by 25 points.

Additionally, the Vegas-based pro picked up 81 more points when his eighth place for $26,818 at last year’s EPT San Remo €10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event aged into Period 3 – having previously been excluded from Period 2.

However, while Negreanu, Schwartz and Smith soar ever-higher, a third Canadian in former Full Tilt Pro Shawn Buchanan slipped 11 places into 17th on 2,244.14 points – exiting the top 10 for the first time since September 12.

The 29-year-old British Columbian has just two scores counting in Period 1 after his 41st place finish for $6,537 at last November’s BC Poker Championships CAN$2,700 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event in Richmond aged into Period 2.

Now, with no result replacing that ageing tournament in Period 1, Buchanan lost 122.81 points because he already has four higher scoring results in Period 2, so meaning the British Columbia result does not count for now.

Incidentally, American Steve O’Dwyer fell one place into eighth on 2,363.78 points.

Philipp Gruissem Climbs Into 23rd

While Smith enjoyed the biggest points gain and second largest move up the rankings, there were other pros that also made big climbs following the Monte Carlo poker festival.

Negreanu secured the second biggest points gain after his runner-up in the Eight-Max High Roller event to move into 10th, while Germany’s Philipp Gruissem took third for $483,213 to climb 29 places into 23rd on the GPI when adding 434 points to have an overall score of 2,168.23.

Vegas’ Justin Bonomo – who finished fourth in the same event for $351,188 – added 401 points to sit on 2,013.07 and boost his ranking by 44 places to 30th after only just having returned to the list the previous week.

Bonomo hadn’t recorded a money finish for seven months to drop out of the GPI 300 in March, but bounced back with a vengeance into 74th place after winning the Super High Roller in Monte Carlo for $2,165,217.

He also picked up $46,209 for finishing in 28th at the €10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event in Monaco, with his third score – which was only added to his Period 1 for this latest list – really putting the exclamation mark on his incredible return.

Max Lykov Zooms Up Rankings

Team PokerStars Pro Max Lykov, of Moscow, finished eighth for $132,025 in the Eight-Max High Roller to add 322 points and 91 places – the third biggest upward move – to now sit in 85th on 1,605.65, while fellow Russian Igor Kurganov made his GPI debut at 181st on 1,285.79 points after taking down that very same event for $1,425,874.

The fifth place finisher, Artem Litvinov – also from Russia – picked up $285,175 to make his first appearance at 155th on 1,343.65 points.

Meanwhile, eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey might have just missed out on the final table in that tournament, but his ninth place for $96,643 was enough to see the American superstar return at 278th on 1,077.48 points.

Phil Ivey Back In Top 300

The 36-year-old – who boycotted last year’s WSOP in support of the many American online poker players who have still to gain access to their frozen accounts with Full Tilt Poker – did not play any tournaments last autumn, resulting in his omission from the GPI since September.

However, the one-time WPT champion returned to the live poker scene in January to take the Aussie Millions AUD$250,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Challenge for $2,058,948, just days after finishing in 12th for $102,947 at the AUD$10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event for $102,947 in Melbourne.

Unfortunately, for Ivey, his victory Down Under does not count towards his GPI score as only events with at least 21 starters can be included, so resulting in the 16-player Challenge being excluded.

But his other Australian cash, combined with his Monte Carlo finish, ensures that Ivey now has two results counting in the crucial Period 1 category.

James Calderaro Returns at 204th

While I’m mentioning players returning to the GPI, Florida’s James Calderaro made his presence felt at 204th on 1,195.36 points when finishing second for $236,560 at the WPT Jacksonville $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event.

Calderaro dropped off the list in mid-December, having not made the money since his 260th place for $40,654 at the WSOP $10,000 buy-in main event last July, before finally picking up $10,185 for 18th in January’s $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event of the Southern Poker Million Dollar Heater in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Now, with this WPT cash adding to his Period 1 score, Calderaro is back where he will undoubtedly feel he belongs.

Oliver Speidel Debuts At 257th

Over in the Philippines, Australian Oliver Speidel exited in fourth place for $37,000 at the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Manila $2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event to debut on the GPI at 257th on 1,110.46 points, while Hong Kong’s David Steicke (1,655.78) picked up 147 points to climb 31 places into 72nd– his highest ranking yet – after taking ninth spot for $11,700.

Indiana’s Mclean Karr moved up 33 places in to 53rd on 1,766.84 points after finishing in 15th for $8,000 in Manila.

Five other players returned to the GPI, and they are Italian Team PokerStars Pro Massimiliano Martinez (in at 208th place on 1,190.04 points), Maryland’s Anthony Gregg (212th on 1,186.33) – who took third for $109,317 in the EPT Six-Max Turbo High Roller – Englishman Chris Brammer (225th on 1,158.91), Frenchman Lucien Cohen (241st on 1,126.53) and Germany’s Max Lehmanski (295th on 1,045.71), who was sixth in the Monaco High Roller for $41,984.

David Sonelin Exits GPI

Of course, with 10 players either returning or debuting on the GPI, the equivalent number had to exit. Those 10 were German Torsten Brinkmann, Californian pair Joseph Cheong and David Pham, Dutch duo Jasper Wetemans and Paul Berende, Vegas-based Michael Benvenuti, London’s Max Silver, Frenchman Hugo Lemaire, Sweden’s David Sonelin and Connor Drinan, of Illinois.

Returning to Monte Carlo for a moment – or two – Idaho’s Kevin MacPhee climbed 19 spots into 39th on 1,882.46 points after taking the runner-up spot in the EPT Grand Final Six-Max Turbo High Roller for $184,968.

This is only MacPhee’s second time inside the top 50 on the GPI, but he has been steadily rising throughout spring to now have four scores counting in Period 1. The American has now made the money three times since his EPT Deauville victory in the €5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max High-Roller for $65,757 back in early February.

Dominykas Karmazinas Rises 80 Spots

Lithuanian Dominykas Karmazinas picked up $79,875 for exiting in fourth place – just two spots behind MacPhee in Monaco – to record the fourth biggest climb by moving up 80 places into 98th when adding 268 points to now hold 1,544.19.

However, Florida’s Alex Venovski notched the biggest climb on this latest rankings list after his 11th place finish for $87,797 at the €25,000 High Roller in Monte Carlo saw him rocket up 129 places into 150th on 1,362.22 points.

Returning to Jacksonville, New York State’s Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla not only earned $54,704 for his sixth place finish in the WPT main event to climb six spots into 20th on 2,190.52 points, but once again moved to the top of the WPT Player of the Year Race leaderboard.

American Trio Enjoy Florida Event

Ohio’s Byron Kaverman, Darren Elias, of Los Angeles, and New Jersey’s Daniel Buzgon all enjoyed notable improvements in their rankings after also cashing during the main event in Orange Park, Florida.

Kaverman finished seventh for $47,312 to move up 41 places into 50th on 1792.28 points, Elias jumped 79 spots into 70th on 1,666.14 after earning $147,850 for third place, and Buzgon collected $94,624 for fourth to rise 48 spots into 86th on 1,599.99.

Three other pros secured notable improvements in their rankings after good performances in Monte Carlo, with the Czech Republic’s Vojtech Ruzicka climbing 65 spots into 138th on 1,390.97 points, London’s Toby Lewis rising 49 to 45th on 1,827.04, and Ukrainian Alexander Dovzhenko taking 49th after zooming up 47 on 1,793.01.

Fernando Brito Drops 116 Places

Portugal’s Fernando Brito, meanwhile, suffered the largest tumble as ageing scores saw him fall 116 places to 282nd on 1,074.27 points. Brito’s fifth place for $61,216 in the EPT San Remo €10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em side tournament last May fell into Period 3, where it was joined by his 37th spot for $44,527 from last year’s EPT Grand Final main event in Madrid.

Other players to suffer significant downward movement were German duo Thorsten Schafer (down 83 places to 292nd on 1,049.66 points) and Benny Spindler (down 65 to 256th on 1,111.76), Ukrainian Andrey Danilyuk (down 75 to 298th on 1,043.35), Slovakia’s Jan Bendik (down 55 to 266th on 1,099.94), Frenchman Jean-Paul Pierre Pasqualini (down 54 to 255th on 1,111.82), Mexico City’s Jose Manuel Nadal (down 54 to 247th on 1,118.51), Montreal’s Will Molson (down 50 to 294th on 1,045.75), Finland’s Kimmo Matias Kurko (down 44 to 219th on 1,171.22) and Austrian Erich Kollman (down 44 to 200th on 1,210.62).

Little Calm Before the Storm!

It has certainly been a busy few weeks on the poker calendar – and that won’t change now that the EPT Grand Final is out of the way. There is very little time for us to catch our collective breaths as the WPT Championship begins in Vegas on Saturday.

The eight-day poker festival at The Bellagio will include a $25,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event that brings the tournament to a close on the 26th.

Then there is the small matter of the 43rd staging of the WSOP, when thousands of players from throughout the planet will converge on the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino at the end of the month to compete in 61 bracelet events.

The $500 buy-in Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em tournament kicks off the series on Sunday, May 27.

However, results from both these enormous festivals won’t affect the GPI for some time yet, so expect to see little movement inside the GPI 300 – other than through ageing scores – over the next few lists.

The Global Poker Index Top 10

1. Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier (France) – 2,927.31 (no change)

2. Jason Mercier (USA) – 2,909.39 (no change)

3. David ‘Doc’ Sands (USA) – 2,581.69 (up two places)

4. Sorel Mizzi (Canada) – 2,553.66 (down one place)

5. Eugene Katchalov (Ukraine) – 2,439.03 (down one place)

6. Dan Smith (USA) – 2,430.18 (up 99 places)

7. Noah Schwartz (USA) – 2,414.38 (up eight places)

8. Steve O’Dwyer (USA) – 2,363.78 (down one place)

9. Jonathan Duhamel (Canada) – 2,288.28 (up one place)

10. Daniel Negreanu (Canada) – 2,280.75 (up 33 places)