2016 ended on a surprising note for poker rankings, with David Peters snatching both Player of the Year titles from Fedor Holz in the final stretch. The Global Poker League’s first season reached its conclusion at the beginning of the month, with the favorite Montreal Nationals defeating the dark horse Berlin Bears 6-5 for the championship. Online, the dominance of Fabricio Gonzalez is starting to wane, as Simon Mattsson and his compatriots look to reestablish Sweden’s reign over the PocketFives leaderboard.

Global Poker Index

About the rankings: The GPI World Poker Rankings rates the top players in the world according to a system which awards points for tournament cashes based on buy-in, field size and finish position. Tournaments over the past three years are considered, but the weight accorded to older results diminishes with time.

Current Top 10

#1 Fedor Holz – 4,722.60 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 David Peters – 4,435.53 pts. (#3 last month)
#3 Dan Smith – 4,314.81 pts. (#10 last month)
#4 Nick Petrangelo – 4,371.91 pts. (#2 last month)
#5 Steve O’Dwyer – 4,141.79 pts. (NEW)
#6 Thomas Marchese – 4,081.59 pts. (#7 last month)
#7 Justin Bonomo – 4,057.35 pts. (#9 last month)
#8 Jake Schindler – 4,001.51 pts. (NEW)
#9 Adrian Mateos – 3,981.81 pts. (NEW)
#10 Anthony Zinno – 3,906.198 pts. (NEW)

Dropouts

Jason Mercier (#4 -> #19)
Bryn Kenney (#9 -> #21)
Connor Drinan (#6 -> #12)
Erik Seidel (#8 -> #11)

Although Fedor Holz remains the number one GPI ranked player in the world, the remainder of the landscape changed quite a bit as 2016 came to a close. David Peters snuck into second with a third-place finish in the Main Event of the final European Poker Tour stop, in Prague. He might have come closer to threatening Holz for first if the Aria High Roller on December 28 had received a few more entries; he won it, for $293,232, but with only 26 players, it fell just short of the required number to count for GPI points.

Dan Smith also had a very successful December, including a win in a $5,200 event at the Bellagio which was enough to propel him from tenth all the way to third.

Meanwhile, the month was busy enough overall that those who were less active – or less successful – were likely to drop in the rankings, in some cases very dramatically. The recently-married Jason Mercier dropped from fourth all the way to 19th, while Bryn Kenney went from ninth to 21st.

Player of the Year – Final Standings

#1 David Peters – 3,666.31 pts.
#2 Fedor Holz – 3,644.80 pts.
#3 Justin Bonomo – 3,479.70 pts.
#4 Chance Kornuth – 3,336.54 pts.
#5 Adrian Mateos – 3,316.07 pts.
#6 Ari Engel – 3,290.43 pts.
#7 Paul Volpe – 3,192.88 pts.
#8 Nick Petrangelo – 3,179.03 pts.
#9 Anuksh Mandavia – 3,138.97 pts.
#10 Samuel Panzica – 3,114.66 pts.

Far more surprising than the shake-up in the GPI standings is the photo finish we had for the Player of the Year race. As of just a few months ago, it appeared that Fedor Holz was a lock for the title, but between his semi-retirement and David Peters’s late push, it was just enough for the latter to snatch the top spot from him.

The margin of Peters’s win was just over 20 points, while Holz’s separation from third-place Justin Bonomo is nearly eight times that. Interestingly, this seems to be a bit of a trend; in the four years that the GPI Player of the Year race has been running, 2015 was the only time that the separation between second and third was larger than than between first and second. Even in that case, the margin was under 100 points.

Global Poker League

About the league: The Global Poker League is a “sportified” professional poker league which builds on the Global Poker Index. In this first season, 12 teams are competing, divided into two conferences – Americas and Eurasia. Each team’s manager was selected by the league, and the managers then selected a total of 6 players each (including themselves, in most cases), at least 4 of whom had to be in the GPI 1000 and opt in to a formal draft. Each week of the regular season sees two 6-max matches for each conference, played by one representative from each team, followed by two days of heads-up matches during which each team plays one set of 3 games. The 6-max games award from 1 point (for 5th) to 7 points (for 1st), and the heads-up matches award 3 points per win.

Global Poker League Season 1 Final Results

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS – Montreal Nationals
RUNNERS-UP / EURASIAN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS – Berlin Bears
AMERICAS RUNNER-UP – Los Angeles Sunset
EURASIA RUNNERS-UP – Moscow Wolverines

The Global Poker League finals played out much as one would have expected, with the favorites defeating the underdogs in most matches, and the league-leading Montreal Nationals claiming the league’s inaugural championship title.

The closest thing to an underdog story was the Berlin Bears who came in as the fourth seeds in the weaker of the two conferences, but made themselves Eurasian Champions and lost the final to Montreal by the narrowest margin possible, 6-5.

In large part, the Bears owed their success to Brian Rast, who was largely inactive in the first half of the season, but came through in a big way in Weeks 10 and 11 to help his team into the playoffs, and then again in the playoffs to see them through to the final.

That raises some questions for the Los Angeles Sunset and the league in general, as Sunset fans were no doubt shocked to discover that Fedor Holz would not be there for the playoffs. Played heads-up as they are, the playoff matches depend greatly on individual talent; given the fact that for top players, GPL participation is very much a side gig rather than a primary occupation, it may often prove to be the case that the outcome of a season may hinge on which teams’ top players are available come playoff time. That’s not a particularly fan-friendly dynamic, but it may prove unavoidable.

Card Player

About the rankings: Card Player unfortunately does not have a rolling leaderboard to compete with the GPI’s, but it does provide an alternative Player of the Year leaderboard. This year’s system is different from previous years’, but still differs dramatically from GPI’s in that its honors are largely awarded based on the number of important titles and final tables had by a player, rather than their consistency of cashing in high buy-in events. Comparing the two often provides interesting insight into players’ performance.

Player of the Year – Final Standings

#1 David Peters – 8,601 pts (#2 last month)
#2 Fedor Holz – 7,058 pts. (#1 last month)
#3 Justin Bonomo – 6,520 pts. (#4 last month)
#4 Ari Engel – 5,653 pts. (#3 last month)
#5 Jake Schindler – 5,528 pts. (NEW)
#6 Cary Katz – 5,160 pts. (NEW)
#7 Sam Soverel – 4,989 pts. (#6 last month)
#8 Chance Kornuth – 4,838 pts. (#5 last month)
#9 Dan Smith – 4,799 pts. (#10 last month)
#10 Tom Marchese – 4,685 pts. (NEW)

Dropouts

Connor Drinan (#7 -> #11)
Gordon Vayo (#8 -> #14)
Bryn Kenney (#9 -> #13)

David Peters has won Card Player’s Player of the Year race as well, and by a more convincing margin than in the GPI’s accounting. Peters was already closer to overtaking Holz last month according to Card Player’s scoring system, so the result in Prague put him further in the lead; moreover, high roller events with prize pools of a quarter-million or more need only 10 entries to qualify for Card Player’s rankings. Peters’s win at the Aria on the 28th was therefore counted, and sufficient to put some clean air between him and Holz.

Justin Bonomo also found his way onto the podium at the last possible moment, with a runner-up finish in a $100,000 Aria Super High Roller on the December 31st to vault him past Ari Engel and into third.

PocketFives

About the rankings: Pocket Fives rankings are the equivalent of the GPI for the online poker world. It considers only the past year’s worth of results, with older results decaying in value and only the best 40 results for each player being counted. Needless to say, this system and the fast pace of online play make this leaderboard quite volatile.

The current Top 10

#1 SixthSenSe19 – 8,546.37 pts. (#1 last month)
#2 alexd2 – 8,281.16 pts. (#2 last month)
#3 C Darwin2 – 8,028.36 pts. (#6 last month)
#4 lena900 – 7,979.08 pts. (#4 last month)
#5 joaomathias – 7,661.41 pts. (#3 last month)
#6 probirs – 7,193.59 pts. (#5 last month)
#7 AnteSvante – 7,133.36 pts. (NEW)
#8 r4ndomr4gs – 6,711.26 pts. (#9 last month)
#9 pleno1 – 6,547.47 pts. (#7 last month)
#10 1_conor_b_1 – 6,528.47 pts. (NEW)

Uruguayan Fabricio “SixthSenSe19” Gonzalez and “alexd” of Bulgaria still hold the top two spots due to their phenomenal results during September’s major tournament series. Now, three months on however, those results have begun to show the effects of PocketFives’s aging formula. Both players’ point totals are now back within the realm of attainability, and their continued status is no longer as guaranteed.

That’s doubly true given the great month the Swede Simon “C Darwin2” Mattsson has had. Mattsson was in the top spot himself for much of 2016, and now looks like he may be on his way to reclaiming it. Mattsson’s key to success – recently, anyway – has been PartyPoker’s bigger events. In the last week of December alone, he won the $100,000 Guaranteed High Roller, the $15,000 Drago: Heavyweight and the $50,000 Uppercut: Heavyweight, plus a couple of second place finishes. These were enough to propel him over the 8000 point mark and within just a few more big results of catching Gonzalez.

Several of Mattsson’s countrymen are looking to join him in reestablish Swedish dominance of the leaderboard. Niklas “lena900” Åstedt, who also held the top spot at one time in 2016, is holding steady in fourth, while Anton “AnteSvante” Wigg has made his own way back into the top 10, and Andreas “r4ndomr4gs” Berggren has mounted the beginnings of a comeback, climbing past Patrick “pleno1” Leonard into eighth.