PokerNewsBoy picks the 2012 Player of the Year

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Nov 21, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

Cardplayer Magazine, the Global Poker Index, and Bluff Magazine all have their fancy algorithms and formulas for determining the tournament poker Player of the Year, but here at we prefer the eyeball test, picking the player who has pushed the storylines throughout 2012 and performed the best in the biggest moments over the course of the year. So with that in mind here are our Top 5 choices for the 2012 Poker Player of the Year.

#5 – Greg Raymer

While I don’t like handing out a POY nomination for any particular good run (at the WSOP or elsewhere) Greg Raymer’s four Heartland Poker Tour victories in four months is a pretty impressive feat, and is good enough for the #5 spot on this list.

The reason I included Raymer is because he really doesn’t play a full schedule, which makes the four victories all the more impressive.

#4 – Antonio Esfandiari

Antonio’s WSOP was a very impressive run, highlighted by his $18 million payday in the Big One for One Drop tournament. But Antonio has more on his 2012 resume than One Drop, having won a second WSOP bracelet in Europe, as well as a 3rd place finish in another WSOP event prior to One Drop (an event that he lost under strange circumstances).

Overall Antonio had eight cashes in 2012, all at the WSOP and WSOPE, with five Top 16 finishes and a cash in the Main Event.

#3 – Marvin Rettenmaier

Rettenmaier’s 2012 campaign really got started in April when he final tabled a high-roller event at the ET Berlin, followed by a side-event win at the EPT Monte Carlo. Then in May the German Poker Pro signed with Party Poker and immediately won the $25k WPT Championship at the Bellagio (his first seven-figure score) followed by another WPT victory at the merit Cyprus Classic in August –sandwiched in between his back-to-back WPT victories were six WSOP cashes.

#2 – Dan Smith

Smith is the 2012 version of Tom Marchese, basically coming from the online tables and decimating the live poker scene. Smith’s 2012 started with a seven-figure win in the $100k Super-High-Roller at the Aussie Millions, and in April he won THREE $5,000 events at the EPT Monte Carlo in the span of a week! From there Smith racked-up six WSOP cashes, including a third-place finish in the $5k NLHE event (what is it with this guy and $5k events?), and finished up his 2012 (so far) with a final table appearance at the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event.

#1 – Phil Hellmuth

The three-time bridesmaid for the WSOP Player of the Year award gets my nod as the Player of the Year in 2012. First off, nobody is under more pressure and scrutiny than Hellmuth, and he didn’t just put-up good results in 2012, he did so in big tournaments by coming up big.

Hellmuth added 10 WSOP cashes to his already record number; four final tables to his already record number; and two bracelets to his… yup, you guessed it… already record number. Overall Phil had seven Top 15 finishes in WSOP events, and his 2012 was highlighted by his WSOP Europe Main Event victory; making Hellmuth the only player to have won the WSOP Main Event and the WSOPE Main Event.

Honorable mention goes to 2012 WSOP Main Event Champion and double bracelet winner Greg Merson; Ole Schemion for his Partouche Poker Tour and Masters Classic victories; Mike Mizrachi for his Poker Players Championship win along with several smaller victories; and Phil Ivey (who really should be in the Top 5 now that I think about it and would be one of the reasonable betting picks for the win) for his impressive WSOP run and victory in the Super-High-Roller event at the Aussie Millions.


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