Two months are already in the rearview mirror in the 2021 Card Player Player of the Year race, and a number of big events have wrapped up in recent weeks that made definitely an impact near the top of the POY leaderboard. Here is a look at the players who made the biggest moves during the month of February in the race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.
2nd Place – Fernando Rodriguez-Vazquez (1,488 points)
Newark, Delaware’s Fernando Rodriguez-Vazquez has already made five final tables in just the first two months of 2021, winning three titles along the way. Rodriguez-Vazquez has made a number of cashes across several casinos in Florida, with $283,293 in year-to-date earnings as a result of his impressive consistency on the felt. The largest of those scores saw him defeat a field of 3,004 entries in a $600 buy-in no-limit hold’em event at the Lucky Hearts Poker Open to earn $205,000 and 600 POY points.
His most recent POY-qualified score was a runner-up finish in a $400 buy-in event at the Tampa Poker Classic series in late February. He placed second from a field of 411 entries, earning 240 points and $12,932. As a result, he surpassed Robel Andemichael to move into second place in the 2021 POY race standings.
4th Place – Ankush Mandavia (1,260 points)
World Series of Poker bracelet winner Ankush Mandavia added another major title to his resume in late February by topping a field of 652 entries to win the 2021 Card Player Poker Tour Venetian $2,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. Mandavia earned $260,000 and 1,260 POY points as the champion after striking a heads-up deal with Anselmo Villarreal. This was his first cash of the year, but it alone was enough to propel him up the leaderboard and into fourth place in the POY rankings.
Villarreal took home $253,441 and 1,050 POY points as the runner-up finisher. This was his second POY-qualified final table of the year, having cashed in a $300 buy-in survivor event just days earlier for $2,500 and 37 points. He now occupies the sixth-place spot in the rankings as a result.
Mandavia and Villareal were far from the only players to make moves near the top of the standings as a result of this massive event. Third-place finisher Tim Capretta climbed to 12th place with $132,030 earned and 840 points accrued. Three-time bracelet winner Kristen Bicknell jumped to 27th place in the POY race as a result of her fourth-place showing in this event for $90,954 and 630 points. She was joined at the final table by her boyfriend Alex Foxen, who placed sixth for $45,477 and 420 points. This was the WPT champion’s second final table of the year, and he now sits just one place behind Bicknell in 28th place as a result.
9th Place – Johnny Oshana (944 points)
The $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em Mid-States Poker Tour Poker Bowl event ran from Feb. 4-6 at Venetian Las Vegas, with the final day action coinciding with professional football’s big game. The tournament attracted 908 entries across two starting flights to build a final prize pool of $880,760.
The lion’s share of that money was awarded to eventual champion Johnny Oshana. The San Jose, California resident earned $130,000 and 912 POY points for the win, climbing into ninth place in the overall POY race standings as a result. This was his second POY-qualified final table finish of the year, having placed sixth in a $600 buy-in event in January for $1,868 and 32 points.
WPT main event winner Jordan Cristos finished second in the event, cashing for $119,232 to bring his lifetime tournament earnings to $3,069,772. This was his first final-table finish of the year, but it alone was enough to see him move into 19th place on the POY leaderboard for the time being.
10th Place (Tied) – James Kerr (912 points)
James Kerr secured the largest score of his career as the champion of the Tampa Poker Classic $1,700 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. The tournament drew a field of 959 entries, with Kerr earning $228,038 and 912 POY points as the champion after striking a deal during three-handed play. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, but it packed enough of a punch to see him move into a tie with WPTDeepStacks Venetian champion Sung Joo Hyun for 10th place in the standings.
Alexandru Ivan earned $197,172 and 760 points as the second-place finisher to join the top twenty, landing in a tie with Jordan Cristos for 19th place in the standings. Third-place finisher Kyrylo Kobzyev was awarded $166,915 and 608 points for his second POY-qualified final table of the year. He now occupies the 15th-place spot in the rankings with 832 total points and year-to-date earnings of $185,065.
17th Place (Tied) – Tuan Mai (800 points)
Tuan Mai has made six POY-qualified final tables so far this year, with five of the six scores coming in series at Venetian Las Vegas. He has accumulated $91,832 and 800 POY points along the way, enough to see him move into a tie for 17th place in the overall standings.
The two largest scores of Mai’s run came in a pair of runner-up finishes made just days apart in late January. He first finished second from a field of 454 entries in a $400 buy-in MonsterStack event at the DeepStack Showdown series, earning $25,500 and 240 points. Three days later he managed another second-place showing, navigating a field of 298 entries in a $600 buy-in at the same series to add another $26,386 and 190 points.
Mai secured his sixth final table in February during the DeepStack Extravaganza series, placing third in a $400 buy-in event for $7,559 and 77 points to further secure his place in the top twenty.
Here is a look at the current top 20 in the 2021 POY race standings:
|Rank||Player||POY Points||2021 Titles||2021 Final Tables||Year-to-Date Earnings|
|10||Sung Joo Hyun||912||1||1||$208,335|