By Scott Long
When Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood announced a jaw-dropping $10 million guarantee tournament that would need to attract at least 2,000 players to avoid an overlay, it became immediately apparent the winner would take a commanding lead in Ante Up’s Player of the Year race.
That’s because Ante Up’s formula weighs field size much more strongly than buy-in. But when you combine a field size that hit 2,384 with a $5,300 buy-in, a winning player couldn’t ask for much more to earn POY points.
But for Blair Hinkle, his win in South Florida made it all the more impossible for anyone to catch him since he had more than 430 POY points from a seventh-place finish at Choctaw Resort in August. Paired with the 2,306 he earned with the handsome payday at Hard Rock, Hinkle easily held on to be Ante Up’s 2013 Player of the Year.
Also in 2013, Hinkle had four cashes at the World Series of Poker, including one in the Carnivale of Poker Main Event, as well as a World Series of Poker Circuit cash.
Here is the rest of the 2013 Ante Up POY Top 10:
2. Matthew Waxman, Parkland, Fla.
Waxman had a strong November in Ante Up events, finishing eighth in the DeepStacks World Championship event at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut before coming home to Florida to win the Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open Main Event at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. He also earned points with two top-10 finishes at the Isle Casino Pompano (Isle Open and Battles at the Beach).
3. Justin Bonomo, Las Vegas
Bonomo, who had two top-10 finishes at the World Series of Poker and much success overseas in 2013, lands here on our list by virtue of his runner-up finish to Hinkle in Hollywood.
4. Kaophone Inthavong
The winner of the massive River Poker Series Main Event at WinStar World in August was near the POY lead for a while.
5. Joseph Kuether, Elm Grove, Wis.
Just like in the River, the winner of the Arizona State Championship at Talking Stick Resort in August earned a ton of points.
6. Jeffrey Fielder, Des Moines, Iowa
Fielder won one of the first Ante Up qualifying events of the year, the WSOPC main event at Choctaw Resort, and held on to the top spot for more than half the year.
7. Matthew Kirby, Bemidji, Minn.
Kirby started strong with a runner-up finish to Fielder at Choctaw, and added more points in October with a fourth-place finish at Canterbury Park’s Fall Poker Classic.
8. Mukhul Pahuja, Hicksvile, N.Y.
Pahuja had four top-10 finishes in previous Ante Up qualifying events over the years, but he only needed a third-place finish in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event to crack the top 10 this year.
9. William Chao, Elk Grove, Calif.
Chao arguably did the most work to make the top 10 this year, winning the Sweet 16 Series Main Event, taking fourth in the Heartland Poker Tour main event and sixth in an Ante Up NorCal Classic event, all at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in California.
10. Jordan Cristos
Cristos won another of the annual big three events – the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event at Bicycle Casino near Los Angeles to take the final spot in this year’s top 10.