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POY Burnout: Marchese and Mizzi On The Brink
The road to one of the two major Player of the Year honors in poker is a long and tough one.
In fact, with the huge volume of tournaments needed just to compete, it's so long and tough it put both CardPlayer POY Tom Marchese and Bluff Magazine POY Sorel Mizzi on the brink of burnout as 2011 began.
Having already established himself in the high-stakes games online, Marchese began 2010 by bursting onto the live-tournament scene with a final table appearance at the Borgata Winter Open.
Twelve months later he had collected 15 major cashes, $2,114,491 in earnings, an NAPT title, CardPlayer's highest honor and what had to be hundreds of thousands in frequent flyer miles just to make it all happen.
Reflecting on what it took to win one of poker's most prestegious titles, Marchese agreed it certainly wasn't easy.
"I think winning POY definitely burns you out a little bit," he told PokerListings. "To win you not only need to have a very successful year, but you have to have a year where you play really high volume.
"For me that meant, even after having a huge start to the year, I ended the year playing a lot of tourneys in that $500-$1k buy-in range that I normally wouldn't play.
"Now that the new year has started and I don't have the added incentive of closing out the POY race, it has been easier to skip a few events and just get life things in order that I put off at the end of last year."
Mizzi started things off in 2010 with two cashes at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, a final table appearance in the Aussie Millions main event and just kept on rolling.
By the time the year had wrapped, he'd booked $1,895,430 in earnings over an amazing 26 live tournament cashes in stops all over the planet.
Although he returned to the Aussie Millions for another deep run this year, what it took to take Bluff's biggest prize was enough to leave him wanting a little time away from the game.
Following the Aussie Millions, Mizzi skipped over to Thailand to study martial arts and enjoy a little me-time.
"I think I want a little break and to start doing some things that are plus EV life-wise instead of just poker-wise," he said. "Poker is always going to be a big part of my life, but I'm only 24 and I definitely don't want to get burned out."
After skipping the Aussie Millions, Marchese found himself back on the felt during prelims at the L.A. Poker Classic this month, but says he may be looking at a lighter travel schedule for the rest of the year.
"The travel can definitely get a bit tiring in time, but I think it's more of me just being slightly more selective in what I choose to play this year," he said. "I've never been one to travel very far just for a single event and going to Aussie Millions after being at PCA for two weeks just seemed to be a bit much for me."
Mizzi says he'll come back to North America for the NBC National Heads-Up Championship in March - an invite being one of the perks of a POY win.
However, he'll likely avoid the live poker scene until the 2011 World Series of Poker kicks off at the end of May.
Marchese took a little time to move into a new condo Las Vegas, but appears to have a much different plan.
Despite teetering on the brink of burnout in the POY chase last year, he appears ready to do it all again.
"Starting in the next 10 days or so is one of the busier life stretches of the year with a lot of great poker tourneys running out here on the West Coast," he said. "I'll be playing LAPC, the NBC Heads-Up Championship, NAPT LA, Bay 101 Shooting Star, the Wynn Poker Classic and the WSOP Circuit in Rincon all over the next month or two.
"I'm hoping to jump start my year with these and maybe work my way into the POY race again. I mean, who wouldn't at least somewhat consider back-to-back."