APPT Seoul is just around the corner (April 6-12) and the second of only seven 2015 PokerStars Asia events that count towards both the Asia Player of the Year (APOY) leaderboard and the GPI Asia-Pacific Rankings.
We’re now a quarter of the way through Season 9 of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour so let’s take a look at our current leaders and where they stand amongst the field.
The APOY is loaded with Chinese players who own the Top Four spots led by Yuguang Li who won the MPC22 Red Dragon main event and the HK$80,000 High Roller in back-to-back days. Li’s amazing run has placed him into unchartered territory.
His current total of 4,200 points would be enough to win the APOY title in 3 of the 6 years the ranking system has been in place. Working against him is the fact that the No. 1 ranked player at the 3-month mark of the season has never gone claimed the title as the year’s best tournament player in Asia.
In fact, no Main Event winner from a major tournament has collected the APOY trophy since Shaq Lin did it four years ago. The trend is for the annual award going to the most determined player that puts in the best combination of volume and consistent results. The success off the back of a single major event is simply not enough and it’s never been.
So who are the candidates for catching the current leader?
The Top Ten is largely dominated by new faces or players who don’t frequently play in Asia.
Beijing Cup winner Yang Zhang is the No. 4 ranked player but only has nine career cashes since 2011.
Steve O’Dwyer (No. 6) and Russell Thomas (No. 8) are very capable players but spend a lot of time travelling the world circuit.
No. 9 Sam Nee is a familiar face and being an APPT veteran he’s certainly one to look out for.
Others on the radar, and just outside the Top Ten, include KC Wong (No. 14) and Aaron Lim (No. 18). Wong finished 2014 with a season-best 9 final tables – just one off the single-season record – and has continued that consistency with a season-leading 4 final tables.
Lim is simply one of the best players in the Asia Pacific with over USD $1.8 million in career tournament winnings including a WSOP bracelet and the 2013 APPT Seoul Main Event title.
2015 Asia Player of the Year Rankings
1. Yuguang Li (China) – 4,200 pts
2. Yunye Lu (China) – 3,000 pts
3. Yifan Zhang (China) – 2,880 pts
4. Yang Zhang (China) – 2,542 pts
5. Yi Won Lee (Korea) – 1,940 pts
6. Steve O’Dwyer (Ireland) – 1,877 pts
7. Yonggang Wang (China) – 1,668 pts
8. Russell Thomas (USA) – 1,565 pts
9. Sam Nee (Malaysia) – 1,508 pts
10. Takuya Yamashita (Japan) – 1,500 pts
For the complete Asia Player of the Year rankings please visit: www.pokerstarsmacau.com/apoy
Meanwhile, predicting the new GPI Asia-Pacific rankings winner is more guesswork than anything with no history to make an educated guess as to how and who will finish on top.
Aussie Alexander Trevallion tops the rankings after winning the 25K Aussie Millions event and then following up with an 8th place finish in the 100K event just two days later.
Raiden Kan sits at No. 2 and has indicated that he’s very much interested in the APOY, ANZ, and GPI races this year after primarily playing the Asia circuit the past seven years.
The GPI scoring formula is known to reward big buy-in events and so No. 6 Phil Ivey – who won the Aussie Millions 250K Challenge – is in the running and is sure to be seen in more high roller events this year.
APPT Seoul has six Official Asia Player of the Year events and is sure to change the look of the race for 2015. For the full schedule please visit www.appt.com.
2015 GPI Asia-Pacific Rankings
1. Alexander Trevallion – 365.30 pts
2. Raiden Kan – 299.78 pts
3. Lennart Uphoff – 263.93 pts
4. Joel Douaglin – 253.70 pts
5. Michael Addamo – 249.18 pts
6. Phil Ivey – 232.95 pts
7. John Thomson – 204.70 pts
8. Manny Stavropoulos – 202.33 pts
9. Scott Seiver – 199.09 pts
10. Rahul Byrraju – 198.44 pts
For the complete GPI Asia-Pacific Rankings please visit: www.psta.rs/2015GPI-AsiaPacific.