POY: Cheong Surges to Sixth; Oliver Speidel, Matt Salsberg Climb as Well

Joseph Cheong has risen from out of nowhere to sixth in the BLUFF Player of the Year race thanks to making two high profile final tables. (Tim Fiorvanti photo)

October and November are some of the busiest months of tournament poker outside of the World Series of Poker, so it only makes sense that the BLUFF Player of the Year race would heat up during that time. The opportunities to score points are rapidly diminishing, leaving fewer and fewer chances to catch the lead pack, but a number of new contenders have emerged over the last several weeks to bring more intrigue into the contest as it winds down.

Last week’s update saw Phil Hellmuth jump all the way up to third place with his win in the WSOP Europe Main Event, but it was another person who made that final table making the biggest move this week. After entering the top 20 last week with a fourth place finish in Cannes, Joseph Cheong moved up 12 spots in the standings this week to sixth. Cheong’s continued rise was thanks to another fourth place finish in Europe, this time in the EPT San Remo €10,000 High Roller, earning him almost $100,000 as well.

Oliver Speidel started off 2012 with a big splash at the Aussie Millions, with three cashes including a victory in the Main Event for $1.6 million. Speidel picked up his first cash of the year outside of the Pacific Rim in San Remo, finishing 13th in a stacked field in a €2,100 No Limit Hold’em event with 450 participants to pick up just enough points to leapfrog Michael Mizrachi and Mohsin Charania. He is currently less than 14 points from a spot in the top ten.

The other big mover in the top 20 this week was Matt Salsberg. After winning the WPT Grand Prix de Paris a month ago Salsberg made a few more stops along the tournament trail in Europe, eventually ending up in San Remo as well. Salsberg would make the final two tables in the Main Event, attempting to make a great trip an historic one with two-thirds of a Triple Crown inside of a month. His journey would end in 16th place, but that finish earned him enough points to go from 20th to 14th.

The leaders in this contest are not content to rest upon their laurels for the rest of the year, though, as Dan Smith and Marvin Rettenmaier each continue to play as many events as they can. Rettenmaier didn’t make any splashes this week (though he has closed the gap in the last month with his quarterfinal appearance in the WSOPE Mixed Max event), but Smith has picked up three cashes since his game-changing final table appearance at Partouche. Unfortunately for Smith, he’s had so many cashes this year that anything other than a deep run won’t add any points to his total, thanks to only the ten biggest scores counting towards BLUFF POY.

  1. Dan Smith – 1,288.51 (-)
  2. Marvin Rettenmaier – 1,090.52 (-)
  3. Phil Hellmuth – 915.64 (-)
  4. Phil Ivey – 904.17 (-)
  5. Jonathan Duhamel – 800.50 (-)
  6. Joseph Cheong – 758.32 (+12)
  7. Kyle Julius – 738.00 (-1)
  8. John Juanda – 724.11 (-1)
  9. Vanessa Selbst – 706.50 (-1)
  10. Joe Kuether – 702.48 (-1)
  11. Oliver Speidel – 689.01 (+1)
  12. Michael Mizrachi – 682.82 (-2)
  13. Mohsin Charania – 673.38 (-3)
  14. Matt Salsberg – 677.45 (+6)
  15. Antonio Esfandiari – 665.24 (-2)
  16. Tommy Vedes – 660.57 (-2)
  17. John Dolan – 660.31 (-2)
  18. Daniel Negreanu – 659.06 (-2)
  19. John Monnette – 657.80 (-2)
  20. Timothy Adams – 642.51 (-1)
Dropped from Rankings: None
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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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