Player of the Year races to be won down under

September is nearly done and with it the WCOOP. I went to Vienna to play the series with a friend, which was nice because I wasn't alone grinding the whole time.

Now I'm looking ahead to the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific, which gets going early in October and will last for two-and-a-half weeks. I've booked my flight to Melbourne, Australia, which of course will be a long journey. I may have some jet lag when I first arrive, but I'm going to try to adapt by changing my sleeping schedule before leaving.

I've never been to Australia before, although I always wanted to go to the Aussie Millions in the past. I probably would not have gone to the WSOP APAC if not for the WSOP Player of the Year race, for which I'm sitting in second place not far behind Brandon Shack-Harris (who I know will also be there).

george_danzer_blog_2oct14.jpgGeorge Danzer

I'm only a little less than seven points behind Brandon for the POY. That amounts to a single min-cash, so first-place is definitely still up for grabs. Player of the Year awards -- or Player of the Series awards like in WCOOP and SCOOP -- definitely provide extra motivation for players, especially for the ones who are near the top as the last events are arriving.

I personally think the WSOP Player of the Year race should end with the WSOP Main Event and not necessarily involve the Europe or Asia-Pacific series. Most of the points are won in those events in Vegas, and it builds up nicely to that climax and then it is over. Adding the later series just complicates things, and of course not everyone can go to Europe or Australia and continue to fight for the POY. I say that even though it would have been bad for me this year, because I would have finished second!

The WSOP APAC will only consist of ten tournaments and EPT London is going on at the same time, so I would have preferred to stay in Europe and played at the EPT rather than make a 20-hour trip (and back). But you can't win the WSOP Player of the Year too often, so when you get the chance you kind of have to go for it.

I've teamed up with a couple of buddies of mine and we're going to be renting an apartment in Melbourne, because the location itself is quite expensive. You probably couldn't win enough in those tournaments to pay for the hotel.

The events on the schedule are fine. There are a couple of mixed-game tournaments, a couple of pot-limit Omaha events, and even a $25K high roller. If there were 20 tournaments it would be a little nicer, given how long it takes to get there. Even so, I'm excited for the series and looking forward to doing my best while there.

I don't plan to see much of Melbourne while I'm there as I'll be playing poker every single day. I'm really just going to be there to try to win the WSOP POY -- that'll be the only goal.

I will be going back to that part of the world in January, however, to play the Aussie Millions and also to have a proper vacation with my girlfriend that will include going over to New Zealand as well. We'll do some hiking both in Australia and New Zealand, and I won't be 100% focused on poker. It's good that I have that trip planed for later, because otherwise I'd be bummed about being in Melbourne without the chance to see anything other a lot of poker hands.

The break after the WSOP in Las Vegas was pretty long, and as I've been playing WCOOP I've been trying to get refocused on my game and shake off a little rust. The WCOOP didn't necessarily go too well for me results-wise this year, but it has been great for getting back in the swing prior to my upcoming trip.

Wish me luck down under!

George Danzer is a member of Team PokerStars Pro.
George Danzer
@PokerStars in Team PokerStars Blogs