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Poker News | World Poker News

Players of the Year - 2007

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It is becoming commonplace for various organizations and media outlets to crown a Player of the Year (POY). By putting forth certain criteria at the beginning of the year or the season and tracking tournament results, one player can be dubbed POY by each organization.

The World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour track players in their own respective tournaments. In 2007, the WSOP used only the summer events and excluded circuit events in determining their Player of the Year Tom Schneider. And the WPT ranked players by their performances in WPT events during its fifth season and bestowed the 2007 honor upon JC Tran.

Despite the outstanding efforts of Schneider and Tran, the fanfare associated with each award is limited to the media attention given to those particular tournament circuits. While this doesn’t diminish the prestige that goes with the POY status, more attention seems to be put on the CardPlayer POY.

The winner of the CardPlayer 2007 Player of the Year was David “The Dragon” Pham. It was his second title, as he also won it in 2000.

Pham has been a serious tournament player since the early 1990’s and is widely known as one of the fiercest competitors at the tables. While maintaining a low profile and relatively quiet demeanor, his playing style is aggressive and often unpredictable. He is one of the most respected players on the circuit because of his determination, respect for others, and all-around passion for the game.

This was a phenomenal year for Pham as he cashed in 18 tournaments, making the final table in 11 of them. He won four events – the $500 and $1,000 no-limit events at the Winnin’ o’ the Green in L.A., the $5,000 heads-up event at the Mirage Poker Showdown, and the $2,500 no-limit event at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. He took the lead in the CardPlayer POY race in August and maintained that lead throughout the year.

JC Tran came in a close second, especially after winning the $5,000 no-limit event at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in December, but he didn’t go far enough in the WPT main event of that series to overtake Pham. Jonathan Little, Scott Clements, and Bill Edler rounded out the top five.

According to the Hendon Mob database, Pham raked in $1,797,793 for the year. Though the winnings are, no doubt, a positive thing for Pham, he has said on numerous occasions that the titles are much more important to him than the money.

Note: The CardPlayer criteria includes the following:
• Tournaments with a minimum $750,000 prize pool
• 2006 land-based casino POY events (various)
• Single events with a minimum $250,000 prize pool
• Events with 60 or more players
• Events with a minimum $300 buy-in
• Invitational events with 60 or more players and a minimum $500,000 prize pool
• International events with 60 or more players a minimum $1,500,000 prize pool
• Online tournaments with a minimum $5,000,000 prize pool

Points were calculated according to the amount of the buy-in, number of entrants, and place finished at a final table. Specifics can be found on the CardPlayer website.

The winner of the Bluff/ESPN 2007 poker rankings was Bill “The Stunning One” Edler. This was his first POY award.

Edler has been a tournament player and cash game player for a number of years, but he seemed to begin hitting his stride in 2005 and improved in 2006. It appeared that he couldn’t be stopped in 2007 as he calmly – but always with determination and a bit of humor – worked his way through the tournament circuit.

Though Edler remains very humble about his successes, he was a true force in the tournament world over the past year. He had 11 cashes, but seven of those were final tables, and three of those were significant wins. The victories came in the form of the $10,000 Poker Netcast Heads-Up Championship in L.A., the $5,000 WSOP no-limit six-handed event, and the $10,000 WPT Gulf Coast Poker Championship.

Since it is the titles – not the money – that Edler is in pursuit of, winning a WSOP and WPT title in one year was indeed a significant accomplishment. His total major tournament winnings for the year totaled $2,758.750 via the Hendon Mob database.

In the Bluff/ESPN rankings, no one came very close to catching Edler’s lead, but the other members of the top five, in order, were David Pham, Ted Lawson, Kirk Morrison, and JC Tran.

Note: The Bluff/ESPN criteria lists numerous specific tournaments and states that rankings are “based on the results of major tournaments over a trailing 24-month period. Qualifying tournaments must have a minimum $5,000 buy-in and at least 100 participants.”

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