At the beginning of 2012 it looked as if Jonathan Duhamel was going to vie for all three Player of the Year titles after he got off to a fantastic start to the year at the PokerStars PCA. But the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion sputtered along throughout the rest of the year and fell down the leader-board, leaving the door open for a number of other players.
By the summer the race was officially on, and it appeared to be a two horse affair with Dan Smith and Marvin Rettenmaier at the top of the rankings at all three major POY outlets, Cardplayer Magazine, Bluff Magazine, and on the Global Poker Index. Smith was the front-runner on all three leader-boards for most of 2012, but as is usually the case, the WSOP shook things up in a big way, vaulting a number of players into contention such as Joe Cheong, Phil Hellmuth, and 2012 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson who overtook both Rettenmaier and Smith on the Cardplayer leader-board thanks to his back-to-back wins at the WSOP that included the Main Event title.
Not only did Smith lose the Cardplayer crown to Merson (in the end by a mere 60 points) but a late win in December by Rettenmaier propelled him past Smith on the Bluff Magazine rankings, thwarting his efforts to be the first player to win two POY awards since John Phan back in 2008 – Smith did hold on to the Global Poker index crown, giving us three separate Player of the Year winners for 2012, which was the first year three awards were handed out.
Here is a look at how all three players fared during the 2012 tournament season:
Greg Merson – Cardplayer Magazine Player of the Year
Merson, like last year’s Cardplayer Magazine Player of the Year Ben Lamb, did all of his damage at the WSOP, and thanks to Cardplayer’s point formula this was enough to give him the POY award (perhaps Cardplayer needs to tinker their formula so WSOP Main Event champions and final table participants aren’t immediately POY candidates).
Merson had four cashes in 2012 between June and July (and somehow is a POY?) with two wins and a 5th place finish. Still, Merson’s $9.7 million in earnings for 2012 is quite an impressive number.
Marvin Rettenamier – Bluff Magazine Player of the Year
Rettenmaier’s big surge came just before and just after the WSOP as the young German won back-to-back WPT Championships, including the coveted $25k Championship at the Bellagio. Throw in a win in the High-Roller tournament at the EPT Prague, and five other final tables throughout the year and you have the Bluff Magazine Player of the Year for 2012.
When all was said and done Rettenmaier earned over $2.5 million in 2012, as well as becoming a sponsored pro at Party Poker.
Dan Smith – Global Poker Index Player of the Year
Dan Smith was a machine throughout 2012, starting with a win in the $100k Super-High-Roller event at the Aussie Millions and ending with a win in a $5k side-event at the EPT Prague. In between Smith won three consecutive $5,000 side events at the EPT Monte Carlo between April 26th and April 30th, finished 3rd in the $5k WSOP NLHE tournament, won the $50k buy-in High-Roller event at the EPT Barcelona, and finished 7th in the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event.
In all, Smith won six tournaments in 2012, pocketing between $90k and $1 million: His final tally for 2012 was just north of $3.7 million, making him the inaugural GPI Player of the Year winner.