Phil Ivey creeps up POY standings

Phil Ivey

With two months completed in the 2008 tournament poker season, more top professionals now figure in the standings.

Thanks to successes he racked up at the beginning of the year, Men "The Master" Nguyen is still atop the POY race. With seven final tables in the first two months (and four wins overall), Nguyen sits with 2,436 points.

Although he wasn't able to add to his point total in either the World Poker Tour's $10,000 L.A. Poker Classic championship event or the WPT Invitational, he has still garnered over $500,000 in winnings and will continue to be a player to watch throughout this poker year.

EPT champion Mike McDonald holds on to his second-place standing, but there's a new contender challenging him and the rest of the field.

After his huge weekend at the end of February, where he won the WPT L.A. Poker Classic and then jetted off to Las Vegas for the 2008 National Heads-Up Poker Championship (tying for third), Full Tilt pro Phil Ivey entered the Top 10 for the first time.

Considered one of the best in the game, Ivey could snag the POY championship if he focuses on the tournament scene instead of the more lucrative cash games.

Joining the Top 10 this week is European Poker Tour Scandinavian Open champion Tim Vance. His winnings of $1,210,699 put him in seventh place at this point.

Another champion from the past two weeks, World Series of Poker Circuit Council Bluffs victor Ben Hock, sits with the same points as Vance but loses out on the 2008 earnings tiebreaker and is in 12th place.

The Top 10 for the PokerListings Player of the Year race looks like this as we enter the second week of March:

Player
Country
Points
FTA
2008 Earnings
1. Men Nguyen
United States 2,436
7
$514,426
2. Mike McDonald
Canada
2,140
3
$1,487,214
3. Phil Ivey
United States
2,000
1
$1,721,100
4. Bertrand Grospellier France
1,600
1
$2,000,000
5. Alexander Kostritsyn Russia
1,600
1
$1,452,000
6. Gavin Griffin
United States 1,600
1
$1,401,109
7. Tim Vance United States
1,600
1
$1,210,699
8. Howard Lederer
United States
1,600
1
$1,100,000
9. Brett Faustman
United States
1,600
1
$892,413
10. Bart Tichelman
United States
1,600
1
$415,595

Completed qualifying events: 2008 L.A. Poker Classic, Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza, 2008 Midwest Regional Poker Championship Main Event, 2008 Oklahoma State Poker Championship (Event 2; Championship Event), EPT Scandinavian Open, 2008 Heartland Poker Tour Mille Lacs Championship Event, 2008 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, WPT Invitational, WSOPC Council Bluffs, 2008 Broadway Festival Main Event, 2008 Campeonata de España-Valencia, 2008 CAPT Bregenz Open (Events 2, 3, 4; Championship Event), 2008 Great British Poker Tour Edinburgh Main Event

Bubbling just under the Top 10 on the POY standings is the aforementioned Hawk in 12th place, as well as another player who won big during the first weekend of March, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. With his takedown of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship (the third time in the four-year history of the tournament that he has made the final two), Ferguson enters the second tier.

Michael Binger also numbers among this group in 18th place after a victory in one of the preliminary events at the L.A. Poker Classic.

Victory in Los Angeles puts new leader atop Ladies POY race

The Ladies Player of the Year race saw changes at the top this week due to a decisive victory by Marisol Banuelos at the L.A. Poker Classic. Banuelos, a Los Angeles resident, defeated a field of 605 in Event 26, $500 No-Limit Hold'em, and with its prize pool of almost $300,000 earned enough points to place her atop the Ladies POY race.

Former leader Diane Nguyen was unable to earn any more points over the last couple of weeks; she's now in second, albeit with a solid hold on the slot. Two other early-season contenders, professional Vanessa Selbst and Jennifer Golin, are in third and fourth place respectively.

Joining the Ladies Top 10 this week are two recently crowned champions. By becoming the first woman to win a WPT open event, Van Tuyet Nguyen (the wife of Men) jumps up into fifth place, in a tie with several other women. One of them is Lorraine Bane, who won the High Heels Poker Tour stop in Council Bluffs.

The Ladies Top 10 lines up like this:

Place
Player
Points
1stMarisol Banuelos
640
2ndDiane Nguyen
410
3rdVanessa Selbst
347
4thJennifer Golin
326
5thLorraine Bane
320
 Regette Bechara
 
 Marga G. Dominguez
 
 GiGi Dong
 
 Christy King
 
 Irina Liepina
 
 Van Tuyet Nguyen
 
 Louise Rocchio
 

Over the next two weeks, several events are unrolling that will have a significant impact on the PokerListings POY race. The Wynn Classic in Las Vegas, the WPT's Bay 101 Shooting Star tournament in San Jose, California, the WSOPC stop in Atlantic City and the EPT's Polish Open will all crown champions.

Smaller events will also make their mark, so join us in a couple of weeks to see how the PokerListings Player of the Year races shape up by then.

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