The POY is a prestigious title, despite its only having been in existence since 2004. Plus, you'll get a gigantic picture of yourself affixed to the wall, which will look pretty cool ... if you can see it behind all the advertising, that is.
In 2004, Daniel Negreanu was the first POY, picking up one bracelet and six cashes, as well as five final tables.
This year he's already picked up a bracelet and made the final of the PLO $5,000 w/Buy a Bracelet, I mean w/Rebuys, as well as just missing the Stud final table and cashing in one of the low-buy-in donkaments.
Can Kid Poker become the first two-time Champion? It's certainly possible, as he's currently in fifth place, but he'll most likely need to win at least one more bracelet or final-table a couple more times.
The other former POYs, Allen Cunningham, Jeff Madsen and Tom Schneider, are further away from challenging for the title and would have to really pull out something special if they were to gain any ground on the leaders.
Ahead of Negreanu currently are three well-known heavyweights and one relatively unknown player. Erick Lindgren finally got his first bracelet and was no doubt teased by all his friends over what took him so long. He also came fourth in the 2-7 Single Draw and bubbled the final of a Limit event too. There's still the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. set to start tomorrow, and if he busts that, there's the $5,000 six-max event the day after, an event in which he finished second to a then-unknown Jeff Madsen in 2006.
Above him in the current rankings by a mere five points is Barry Greenstein, after winning this year's solitary Razz event combined with a third in the 2-7 Draw, plus cashes in the Stud-8 and two No-Limit cashes.
All this suggests that Greenstein's biggest advantage is that he can play any game and go deep in it. In fact, it's only the Omaha variant that he hasn't actually cashed in this year. With two H.O.R.S.E. events to come, as well as another Stud event, it's probably a given that he'll cash a few more times yet. The question is, how big will those cashes be?
Second in the rankings at the moment is another familiar Big Game player, David Benyamine. He's another member of the "bracelet newly acquired" club. He's made three final tables and won one, and his other cash was basically a bubble from the $10,000 Stud event.
With his form, you could expect him to be one of the favorites for the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E., and as he is near our current leader, his advantage more than any of the others is that he just needs a single cash to lead the rankings as long as the man in front of him fails to cash again.
So who is the current leader? Well at the moment, it's a man called Jacobo Fernandez. Surprisingly, he has not yet won a bracelet this year, (the last two POY winners, Madsen and Schneider, both won two in a year), but he has made three final tables where he's finished second, third and fourth.
On top of this, he's managed to cash a couple of other times as well and clearly is an excellent player on a good run. His current lead over Benyamine is only two points, but they are both around 30 points ahead of Greenstein.
However, unlike the name pros below him, it's unlikely (though not inconceivable) that he will buy in for the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, though of course that's just mere speculation on my part. Also, this isn't necessarily a disadvantage because it will allow him to take shots at many of the smaller tournaments while the $50,000 "prestige" event goes on for four days.
These five are definitely the ones I would pick for the shortlist. What's scary though is that you could now win two bracelets and cash a further few times and yet you still wouldn't be at the top of the leaderboard.
John Phan, at the time of writing this, is in almost such a position, but if he were to win, or someone like Theo Tran, Alexander Kostritsyn or Ted Forrest were to get their hands on a bracelet, then no doubt you'd have to add them to that pack of front-runners.
If all this talk of bracelet-winning intrigues you, or you'd like a chance to take a shot at the POY award, then your best bet is to build up your bankroll first.