POY: Mike McDonald & Dominik Panka on Pace for Record Year

Dominik Panka and Mike McDonald hold the top spots. (Photo c/o Neil Stoddart/PokerStars Blog)

Dominik Panka and Mike McDonald hold the top spots CA Main. (Photo c/o Neil Stoddart/PokerStars Blog)

The current 2014 BLUFF Player of the Year standings have a two-horse race for the lead with Mike McDonald and Dominik Panka and they have a substantial lead on the field. While McDonald played second fiddle to Panka in the PCA Main Event, he cleaned up at the Aussie Millions with over $3 million in earnings and holds the lead by the slightest of margins.

Three new players joined the top of the standings: Oliver Price, Simon Deadman and Mark Sandness. Jacob Schindler was the only existing player in the top 20 that improved his standing.

McDonald will be interesting to watch as the year develops. Just six weeks into 2014 he already has a little more than half the POY points Daniel Negreanu had at the end of his 2013 BLUFF Player of the Year winning campaign. McDonald prefers to play EPT tour stops and he’ll have three to choose from – Vienna, San Remo and the Grand Final in Monaco – before heading to Las Vegas for the 2014 World Series of Poker.

Price found his way to the POY race by first finishing in third place in the EPT Deauville Main Event. He banked $370,853 and 136 POY points for finishing behind Eugene Katchalov and Sotirios Koutoupas. He then traveled to London to play in the GUKPT series and won the $1,765 Main Event for $157,530 and 143 POY points.

Deadman has earned his way up the standings with three final tables and a GUKPT London Main Event cash. He began the year with a runner-up finish at the Genting Poker Series Nottingham Main Event and then he won big at EPT Deauville High Roller with a second place finish for $119,376 and 127.40 POY points. He scored a third runner-up finish at he Genting Poker Series Star City Main Event for $46,452 and 49 POY points.

Two trips to a Minnesota poker room won’t usually land a player in the POY conversation but Sandness beat all the odds and has done just that. He took first place in The Great Minnesota Freezeout to win $46,910 and 110 POY points in January. Then he he followed up with another win, this time at the Mid-States Poker Tour Running Aces Main Event on Valentine’s Day. He earned $90,913 and 130 POY points from the Midwestern poker tour

Schindler put his name in the POY conversation after winning the $25,000 High Roller at the PCA – especially after besting Greg Merson, Vanessa Selbst, Mustapha Kanit and Ole Schemion. He and Kanit flip-flopped places in the standings after Schindler finished in 19th place at the WSOP Circuit Palm Beach Main Event for a small cash and 17.10 POY points.

BLUFF Player of the Year Standings (as of February 19, 2014)

  1. Mike McDonald – 640.00 (-)
  2. Dominik Panka – 620.00 (-)
  3. Fabian Quoss – 359.10 (-)
  4. Ami Barer – 310.10 (-)
  5. Vanessa Selbst – 306.00 (-)
  6. Jacob Schindler – 299.60 (+1)
  7. Mustapha Kanit – 299.08 (-1)
  8. Anthony Merulla – 280.00 (-)
  9. Oliver Price – 279.00 (NR)
  10. Sotirios Koutoupas – 272.00 (-1)
  11. Simon Deadman – 250.05 (NR)
  12. Yevgeniy Timoshenko – 250.00 (-2)
  13. Phil Ivey – 250.00 (-2)
  14. Dan Shak – 247.60 (-2)
  15. Farid Jattin – 242.40 (-2)
  16. Eli Heath – 240.68 (-2)
  17. Alex Bilokur – 240.00 (-2)
  18. Mark Sandness – 240.00 (NR)
  19. Joe Kuether – 235.90 (-3)
  20. Tyler Morris – 231.00 (-3)

Dropped from Rankings: Isaac Baron (18th), Michel Kirchner (19th) and Alexander Condon (20th)

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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join PokerNews.com. After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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