So it appears that we were slightly out in our belief that poker superstar Phil Ivey would return to the Global Poker Index (GPI) 300 following four months outside the rankings.
The eight-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner did, however, come very close to breaking into the top 300, only falling short because his $2,058,948 pay day – the 36-year-old’s biggest ever live tournament cash – for winning the AUD$250,000 buy-in Super High Roller could not be counted towards his ranking points as the event did not reach the minimum required 21-player field for qualification.
Just 16 players paid the huge buy-in, meaning that American Ivey – although picking up some vital GPI points from his 12th place and $102,947 in the AUD$10,000 buy-in main event in Melbourne – hasn’t quite cracked the GPI just yet as he is 35 points behind New York State newcomer Kevin Calenzo, who sits in 300th place on 1050.97 points.
Californian Ivey did collect 359 points from his super high roller success at the Crown Casino, but that score was not enough to take him back into the top 300 for the first time since September – although it does appear that it is only a matter of time before the star’s name is back on that exclusive list.
Concern for Eight-Time WSOP Bracelet Winner
The former Team Full Tilt Poker Pro might have started off 2012 with a bang – following a barren 2011 – but he’ll be concerned that he has been mentioned specifically, along with other high-profile poker pros, in a critical statement made by Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) lawyer Behnam Dayanim.
The French investment company’s solicitor stated in an interview with online gaming journal Gaming Intelligence that several stars, including Ivey, Erick Lindgren, Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow, David Benyamine and Barry Greenstein, are causing problems with Full Tilt’s sale to GBT as they have still to repay debts owed to the troubled poker room of up to $20 million.
We’ll see if this latest revelation hinders Ivey’s progress and level of play in future events, but for now he will still be thrilled to have started the year off with a success.
With the top seven places remaining unchanged on the GPI, Canadian Sorel Mizzi’s climb of 15 places into 12th spot on 2,273.85 points is more significant than the fact American Erik Seidel remains at number one on 3,069.84.
Sorel Mizzi Climbs Into 12th Place
The Las Vegas-based Canuck – who had been fifth on the rankings back in late October, had dropped out of the top 10 by the end of November and was outside the leading 20 last week – made his big move up the rankings after finishing second at the Aussie Millions AUD$5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up event for $41,179 and 183 points.
American Faraz ‘The Toilet’ Jaka also enjoyed a successful Aussie Millions, with his runner-up spot in the AUD$2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event for $79,269 saw him jump 54 spots to 91st on 1,569.10 points.
The San Jose native has seen his ranking improve dramatically recently, following on from his low of dropping to 300th back at the start of last month.
However, a third-place finish in the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event of the European Poker Tour (EPT) PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $755,000 back on January 13 took Jaka to 145th place, while his runner-up spot in Melbourne gave him an extra 210 points to see him break into the top 100.
Faraz Jaka Zooms Up Rankings
Incredibly, since his massive slump in January, Jaka has collected 522 points to leap up 209 places on the GPI.
Let’s take a quick look at the top 10 anyway, even if it doesn’t make particularly riveting reading.
As previously mentioned, eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Seidel – who has topped the GPI for a record 14 of its 32-week existence – remains top on 3,069.84 after adding 16 points to his score.
The New Yorker is followed by fellow American Jason Mercier (2,986.07 points), French Triple Crown winner Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier – who added 19.7 points to stand at 2,839.23 – Ukrainian Eugene Katchalov (2,760.52), Canadian ex-Team Full Tilt Poker Pro Shawn Buchanan (2,672.49), English pro Sam Trickett (2,436.82) and States star Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla (2,423.22) as the leading seven positions show no changes.
Erik Seidel Holds On To Number One Spot
But former Team Full Tilt Poker Pro Seidel – who also enjoyed a record-setting eight successive weeks as number one from October 10 to November 28 – hasn’t managed a cash finish since placing 21st at the WSOP Europe (WSOPE) €10,000 buy-in main event last October for $49,427.
Still, as he recorded numerous high finishes during last year, Seidel has retained his place at the top of the pile, with big scores in Periods 1 and 2 ensuring that, for now, Mercier can’t close the gap sufficiently to oust his fellow American.
In fact, Seidel has four Period 1 scores that count towards his GPI ranking, including a runner-up spot at the inaugural main event – a $20,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed tournament for $604,330 – of the Epic Poker League (EPL) back in August, as well as a fourth place for $184,100 at the EPL’s $20,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Eight-handed main event, also at The Palms Casino Resort in Vegas the following month.
Incredibly, just three players have been top of the GPI during its eight months, with Team PokerStars Pros Mercier and Grospellier – who fill spots two and three right now – the others behind Seidel.
EPT Deauville Will Influence GPI 300
Hollywood-based pro Mercier has recorded 12 weeks at number one, while Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy’s Grospellier managed six weeks at the top, but Seidel still holds an 83.77-point lead over his countryman while there is a 230.61-point gap between the leader and the French star.
It’s again unlikely that there will be any major movements inside the top 10 next week as the €5,300 buy-in main event of the EPT Deauville was only completed today.
However, numerous side events also took place at the Casino de Deauville tournament and ought to encourage some place changes further down the list.
While the leading seven places are filled by the same names as last week, there was some movement inside the top 10 as Florida’s Matt Waxman (2,400.18 points) climbed one spot above Brooklyn’s Vanessa Selbst – who dropped 15.01 points – into eighth.
Mike McDonald Back in Top 10
That duo swapped places last week, but now Team PokerStars Pro Selbst (2,397.30) has seen her points drop to just 59.77 above 10th-placed Canadian Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald, who sits on 2,337.53.
McDonald replaced French-Canadian Jonathan Duhamel after the 2010 WSOP main event champion slipped six places to 16th on 2,239.66 points after just one week inside the top 10.
Unfortunately, for Duhamel, he recorded the greatest loss on this week’s rankings as his score fell by 137.92 points to 2239.66 after his $272,209 win from last January’s EPT Deauville’s €10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em High Roller event aged into Period 3.
The other players to benefit from Team PokerStars Pro Duhamel’s fall are 12th-placed Mizzi, Toronto’s Matt Marafioti, who moved up two spots into 11th on 2,295.53 points, Vegas-based pro Sam Stein (up one place to 13th on 2268.94) and New Jersey’s Chris Klodnicki (up one place to 14th on 2264.34).
While London-based Swede Martin Jacobson (2258.73) lost three spots as he fell from 12th to 15th, he still remains above Duhamel.
Five New Names in Rankings
Eleven players entered the top 300 on the latest rankings, with five of those pros – Calenzo, Sebastian Winkler, Grant Levy, Connor Drinan and Daniel Chevalier – making the list for the very first time.
Canada’s Daniel Idema made the most impressive return to the rankings after his eighth place in the Aussie Millions main event for $128,684 propelled him into 158th on 1,323.23 points.
However, the Vancouver native’s impressive re-entry was overshadowed by Aussie Chevalier’s debut at 164 on 1,304.80 points following his 24th place finish for $52,000 at the $10,000 buy-in PCA No-Limit Hold’em main event on Paradise Island and his 13th spot in the AUD$10,000 No-Limit Hold’em main event at the Aussie Millions for $77,211.
The Victoria pro wasn’t the only player to make an impact on the top 300 for the first time, though, as Drinan, of Illinois, debuted at 289th on 1,076.66 points – just above Ivey – Sydney’s Levy entered at 274th on 1,093.92, German star Winkler (1,094.21) shot up into 273rd spot, and New York State’s Calenzo (1,050.97) just made it in at 300 following his first ever tournament triumph from the $1,600 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event for $197,451 at the WSOP Circuit (WSOPC) stop at Caesars Palace in Vegas late last month.
The five other players to re-enter the GPI were Brian Hawkins (257th place on 1,122.06 points), Team PokerStars Pro Nacho Barbero (262nd on 1,113.64), Taylor von Kriegenbergh (266th on 1,105.10), Daniel Reijmer (288th on 1,078.21) and Paul Berende (298th on 1,053.79).
Eleven Pros Drop Outside GPI 300
Therefore, a total of 11 pros dropped off the list, with Swedish star David Sonelin showing the most dramatic exit from his previous position of 247th.
The Norrköping native’s best result arrived last April, when he took down the €10,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller event at The Everest Poker ONE in Monte Carlo for $108,352.
Unfortunately, for Sonelin, that event didn’t meet the 21-player requirement to be included in the GPI’s points scoring system after the Scandinavian outlasted a field of just 17 starters.
The other 10 to exit were two-time WPT champion Cornel Cimpan, who – after cashing for more than $3 million back in 2009 – has only managed one Period 1 score so drops away from 263rd place, Denys Drobyna (292nd), Jacob Bazeley (297th), Lucien Cohen (261st), Maria Ho (288th), Martin Finger (299th), Maurizio Sepede (293rd), Owais Ahmed (298th), Sigurd Andreas Eskeland (286th) and Stefan Huber (300th).
The relegation of Germany’s Finger and Swiss Huber might have been particularly tough to take as they had only just made their debuts the previous week.
California’s Ho will also be disappointed after her three-month stay in the 300 has ended. However, with no cashes to count towards her Period 1 scores, Ho – who made her debut on the GPI on October 24 last year – has slipped away.
Jason Koon Jumps 121 Places
It’s never all negative on the GPI, though, as you well know, so we also saw some impressive climbers – and none more so than the leap of 121 places and 434 points attained by Vegas pro Jason Koon.
The American outdid every other player to shoot up to 68th on 1,663.88 points following some good recent results, including his biggest ever live cash with the $271,950 he pocketed for finishing fourth in the PCA’s $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em Eight-Handed High Roller event back on January 12.
He added $36,032 a few weeks later in Melbourne with 27th in the Aussie Millions main event, so ensuring that he has three Period 1 scores.
Some of the other players to enjoy a positive week are Khiem Nguyen, who moved up 100 places to 162nd on 1,316.74 points, Alain Roy (up 94 to 186th on 1,248.77), Michael Tureniec (up 93 to 127th on 1,424.61), Manuel Bevand (up 87 to 182nd on 1,261.49), Lock Poker Elite Pro Matt Stout (up 72 to 112th on 1,479.75), Jeff Lisandro (up 64 to 185th on 1,297.85), Faraz Jaka (up 54 to 91st on 1,569.10), Dominykas Karmazinas (up 44 to 151st on 1,344.84) and David Steicke (up 43 to 82nd on 1,610.00).
Incidentally, Finland’s Juha Helppi – who is a former poker dealer – climbed 18 places to 20th, after almost three months outside the top 20.
The 34-year-old Helsinki star gained 258 points and $94,296 following his second place at the €10,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller event at the Euro Finals of Poker in Paris last week.
Tom Marchese Eyeing Up GPI Top 10
American Tom Marchese also zoomed up the rankings from 74th to 45th as he attempts to reclaim his high point of fifth back on September 5.
The New Jersey pro has started that climb well with 14th place in the PCA’s $5,000 Eight-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event.
On the flipside, several pros suffered huge falls on the latest rankings list, with Belgian Kenny Hallaert falling 80 places to 256th on 1,122.33 points after his sixth in the EPT Deauville €5,000 No-Limit Hold’em main event for $210,962 at the end of January last year dropping into Period 3.
Hollywood’s Mike Beasley – a consistent in-the-money finisher – recorded the second biggest fall when he fell 70 places to 295th on 1,056.92 points, while other notable losers were Daniel Colman (down 60 to 282nd on 1,087.26), Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano (down 52 to 246th on 1,142.87), ex-Team Full Tilt Poker Pro Cristiano Guerra (down 46 to 226th on 1,174.08), Marco Leonzio (down 40 to 223rd on 1,178.74), Tristan Wade (down 37 to 128th on 1,423.84), Jeff Papola (down 35 to 259th on 1,119.94), former Team Full Tilt Poker Pro Justin ‘Boosted J’ Smith (down 35 to 227th on 1,173.91) and Kristijonas Andrulis (down 35 to 168th on 1,292.75),
The Global Poker Index Top 10
1. Erik Seidel (USA) – 3,069.84 (no change)
2. Jason Mercier (USA) – 2,986.07 (no change)
3. Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier (France) – 2,839.23 (no change)
4. Eugene Katchalov (Ukraine) – 2,760.52 (no change)
5. Shawn Buchanan (Canada) – 2,672.49 (no change)
6. Sam Trickett (UK) – 2,436.82 (no change)
7. Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla (USA) – 2,423.22 (no change)
8. Matt Waxman (USA) – 2,400.18 (up one place)
9. Vanessa Selbst (USA) – 2,397.30 (down one place)
10. Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald (Canada) – 2,337.53 (up one place)