Byron Kaverman Wins 2015 GPI Player of the Year

Professional poker players don’t necessarily need to receive honors to validate their careers. After all, for most, the prize money is reward enough and the occasional bracelet or trophy wins are pretty cool. But there are honors to be won and I am sure that those who win them are not about to turn them down. One of the big winners of 2015 – in more ways than one – was Byron Kaverman, who won the Global Poker Index 2015 Player of the Year award.

The Global Poker Index awards a Player of the Year score to tournaments in which a player cashes. These tournaments must have a field at least 21 players strong and have a buy-in of at least one dollar to count. The score is determined by where a player finishes relative to the size of the tournament and how large the buy-in is (with a cap of $20,000 so as not to let high roller events become too overweighted).

In order to not give too much of an advantage to someone who grinds hundreds of tournaments a year, a cap is put on the number of individual event scores that count for each player. This number can change year to year and is determined by calculating the mean number of tournament finishes for the top fifty players in the Global Poker Index. In 2014, this number was thirteen, so each player’s best thirteen scores counted towards their overall total.

Byron Kaverman Image credit:

Byron Kaverman
Image credit:

The GPI’s website has not updated its information to say how many tournament scores counted for 2015 and based on the Player of the Year standings, it does not appear to be thirteen. The math doesn’t quite work out for other numbers, either, but no matter. Kaverman took the 2015 POY title with 4,736.90 points, edging out Anthony Zinno, who had 4,649.05.

Kaverman, needless to say, had an outstanding year. He cashed in twenty qualifying live tournaments, making the final table in an amazing fifteen of them. His top points earner was a first place finish in the €10,000 + 300 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Event at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Malta stop, good for 550.31 points. That was not his biggest cash of 2015, though. That one was for $657,351 for a bracelet victory at the World Series of Poker $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six Handed Championship.

Here are Byron Kaverman’s top five GPI scores for 2015:

European Poker Tour Malta- €10,000 + 300 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Event – First Place – 550.31 points
Bellagio Cup XI – $10,000 + $400 No-Limit Hold’em Event – Third Place – 462.02 points
World Series of Poker – $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six Handed Championship Event – First Place – 412.92
European Poker Tour Malta – €25,000 + 750 No-Limit Hold’em Eight Handed High Roller Event – Fifth Place – 323.01 points
Aria High Roller VI – $24,000 + 1,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Event – First Place – 317.03 points

Needless to say, Anthony Zinno had a tremendous 2015, as well. In fact, his 4,649.05 point total would have won last year’s Player of the Year race by 500 points (though, to be fair, it does look like more tournament scores were counted in 2015 compared to 2014). The highlight of his year was becoming the third player in World Poker Tour history to win back-to-back WPT titles: the Fallsview Poker Classic and the L.A. Poker Classic. Right after those, he also won the High Roller Event at the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars. Zinno has three lifetime World Poker Tour victories, tied for most all-time with Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen.

As Kaverman did not register a cash after November 10th, Zinno had a chance to overtake him in the Player of Year standings, but was unable to muster a big enough cash.

Byron Kaverman also ended 2015 atop the arguably more prestigious overall GPI standings, which take into account a player’s live tournament performances over the trailing three years. The overall GPI tends to be more fluid, as older tournament scores are discounted and are eventually dropped off. Thus, even if a player keeps cashing, those cashes might not create high enough scores to make up for older scores that have fallen away and a player can drop in the standings quickly.

Kaverman has been atop the GPI for fifteen consecutive weeks.


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