Bryn Kenney is less than a month away from going wire-to-wire in the 2017 GPI Player of the Year race, holding onto a slight lead over Adrian Mateos heading into December.
The New York native began the year with a dominating performance in the Bahamas at the PokerStars Championship, winning two events and cashing in four others, banking a total of $1.8 million in tournament prizes during the series.
But Kenney didn’t stop there. He won $501,000 for 4th place in a February Triton Super High Roller event in the Philippines, scooped a $25,000 buy-in Aria high roller for $300,000 in April, and then picked up his biggest score ever, $1.95 million, later that month for winning the PokerStars Championship Super High Roller in Monte Carlo.
But, wait, there’s more. In August, he took 2nd place for $549,000 in a PokerStars Championship Barcelona event. A month later, he won Poker Masters Event #3, $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em, for $960,000.
Kenney has a total of 28 tournament cashes so far in 2017. On Monday, he took 3rd place in a $10,000 NLHE at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio (for $44,800), which was just enough to edge past 2017 WSOP Main Event champ Scott Blumstein for the most tournament winnings this year.
And he wasn’t done making trips to the cash-out cage. On Thursday, Kenney went out of the WPT Five Diamond $100,000 Super High Roller in sixth place, which was good for another $234,000, bringing his total winnings for 2017 over $8.4 million.
Not a bad year.
Race to Finish
Despite his dominance in high-stakes circles, Kenney is hardly a lock to win GPI Player of the Year. His 3,478.06 points as of Dec. 1 are only a smidge above Adrian Mateos’ 3,376.74. Stephen Chidwick (3,280.21), Koray Aldemir (3,197.38), and Nick Petrangelo (3,134.62) are also within striking distance.
Anything can happen in December, just ask Fedor Holz. The young German superstar held a commanding lead in 2016 following an insane summer performance that included three seven-figure cashes, highlighted by a WSOP One Drop High Roller victory.
But in the fall, Holz took a break from poker, which allowed David Peters to squeak out a POY title in the final week of December.
Mateos, a Spanish high-roller, has 30 tournament cashes in 2017, with his biggest score of $988,924 for 1st place in the $50,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em 8-max event at the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo in April.
Seidel Chasing Negreanu
Another close race that is heating up involves all-time tournament money winner. Daniel Negreanu, of course, holds that position, with $34,333,815 in lifetime winnings. But Erik Seidel, who has put up more than $2.18 million in wins in 2017, is now less than $1 million away from Negreanu, with a career total at $33,198,641.
However, Negreanu is about to gain some separation once the $100,000 Super High Roller at Bellagio concludes on Friday. He entered the final day as one of five remaining players, which means he’s guaranteed at least $312,000, with the potential to win $1.4 million.
Seidel’s last tournament cash came at the Asia Championship of Poker in Macau, where he finished in 8th place for $93,559.