Mike McDonald Reclaims Lead in 2014 BLUFF POY Race

Mike McDonald will almost certainly open the 2014 WSOP with the BLUFF POY lead, but he'll need some serious results this summer to hang onto it.

Mike McDonald will almost certainly open the 2014 WSOP with the BLUFF POY lead, but he’ll need some serious results this summer to hang onto it.

Since they finished first and second in the 2014 PCA Main Event back in January, Dominik Panka and Mike McDonald have been the only two players to lead the 2014 BLUFF Player of the Year race. This week they traded places for the third time, with McDonald grabbing the top spot with less than three weeks to go until the World Series of Poker.

McDonald was able to pass Panka and take the presumptive lead heading into the 2014 WSOP by making a final table in a €5,000 side event at the EPT Grand Final. He went out eighth, but it was McDonald’s fifth final table among six cashes so far in 2014, which also gives him some wiggle room with the cap of 10 qualifying cashes going into the summer and beyond.

Panka and McDonald will have to pick up some points during the summer to keep up the pace, with a number of players charging towards the top in the last few weeks. Ole Schemion sealed EPT POY honors at the Grand Final after pulling off yet another historical accomplishment in the three biggest tournaments of the series. Schemion cashed in both High Rollers and the Main Event for the third time in Season 10, a feat that was only pulled off one time each by Justin Bonomo and Vanessa Selbst in the history of the EPT. He’s still fourth, but he’s well within reach of the leaders heading into his first WSOP.

Aussie Millions champ Ami Barer made two final tables at the EPT Grand Final, finishing second and fifth in a pair of side events. Barer also made a side event final table at EPT Vienna, and those three results combined are enough to push him past the 500 point mark and into fifth in the BLUFF POY standings.

Alex Bilokur closed out Season 10 of the EPT on a tear, cashing twice in San Remo and four times in Monte Carlo. His best result in that stretch was a third place finish in the EPT San Remo High Roller, but Bilokur got points for all six of those results, which puts him in seventh overall. Byron Kaverman makes his top 20 debut in the BLUFF POY standings this week at number 11, making his decision to head over to Europe after a second place finish at the WPT Championship pay off. Kaverman whiffed in the EPT Grand Final Main Event, but he closed out the series with a fifth place finish in the €25,000 High Roller to push his earnings over a two week stretch to just shy of $1.2 million.

Eric Blair also cracks the top 20 for the first time this week after winning the WSOP Circuit Main Event in Black Hawk, Colorado. This win was Blair’s third since mid-March, along with victories at the Wynn Classic and the Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza Main Event, and he now sits in 13th. Scott Seiver rounds out the top 20 after a tremendous couple of weeks in his own right. After going out 21st at the WPT Championship, Seiver hopped on a plane, got himself to Monte Carlo and promptly won a €5,000 Pot Limit Omaha event. While that tournament didn’t qualify for POY points due to field size, Seiver’s second place finish in the €25,000 High Roller certainly did. In addition to the $1.19 million he earned for his troubles – the third largest of his accomplished career – Seiver got just enough points to squeeze into 20th.

2014 BLUFF Player of the Year Standings (as of May 7)

  1. Mike McDonald – 690.88 (+1)
  2. Dominik Panka – 667.04 (-1)
  3. Keven Stammen – 613.50 (-)
  4. Ole Schemion – 554.74 (-)
  5. Ami Barer – 509.53 (+7)
  6. Mustapha Kanit – 473.68 (-1)
  7. Alex Bilokur – 471.10 (+3)
  8. Mukul Pahuja – 470.22 (-2)
  9. James Carroll – 467.60 (-2)
  10. Mike Leah – 453.55 (-2)
  11. Byron Kaverman – 436.76 (NR)
  12. Joe Kuether – 433.70 (-3)
  13. Eric Blair – 429.63 (NR)
  14. James Calderaro – 403.20 (-3)
  15. Eugene Katchalov – 401.40 (-2)
  16. Oliver Price – 392.92 (-2)
  17. Dmitri Ponomarev – 390.95 (-2)
  18. Joeseph Mckeehen – 386.79 (-2)
  19. Eric Afriat – 380.60 (-2)
  20. Scott Seiver – 378.18 (NR)

Dropped from Rankings: Dylan Wilkerson (18th), Alexander Condon (19th), Jacob Schindler (20th)

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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