GPI rankings are undoubtedly the ultimate authority on measuring the most consistently successful players in Asia, and the rest of the world. Despite that fact, independent annual player of the year leader boards still attract plenty of attention and are very important to players.
Jack En Ching Wu claims Asia Player of the Year Title
When it comes to Asian poker, there are two prestigious player of the year titles. Jack En Ching Wu has now officially etched his name onto the one organised by PokerStars Live, after holding off the valiant challenge of Wayne Wei Yi Zhang. When you consider that Taiwanese pro Wu won six events through the season and accumulated 9,492 points, Zhang did remarkably well to remain in contention all the way to the ACOP series.
Wu’s outstanding season has not arrived out of the blue, and his past results point to him being a man who was always capable of being a contender for this title. His $272,240 in live earnings may seem small compared to top pros on the global circuit, they are impressive for a player who has only played on the Asian circuit. Furthermore, he has only been putting in a large volume of tournaments since 2014.
Wayne Wei Yi Zhang Runner Up
Our runner-up finisher Wayne Wei Yi Zhang, also has serious live tournament pedigree, with $712,791 in live cashes. This number becomes more significant when you consider that he has only been seriously grinding the Asian circuit since 2015.
Linh Tran 3rd
Linh Tran took 3rd in the Player of the Year race, and is another player who was always expected to be a threat. He has $772,653 in live cashes, with his first recorded cash coming in 2010. Almost all of his winnings have been either on the Asian circuit or on Australian soil.
Asia Player of the Year 2016
1 – Jack En-ching Wu (Taiwan) – 9,492 pts
2 – Wayne Wei Yi Zhang (China) – 8,833 pts
3 – Linh Tran (Canada) – 5,068 pts
4 – Alvan Yifan Zheng (China) – 4,800 pts
5 – Tom Alner (UK) – 4,780 pts
It would be hard for anyone to debate the quality of the top three players this year, as any one of them would clearly have made a worthy winner. Perhaps all the energy for debating was used up last year when Alan King Lun Lau controversially took the crown. In 2015, KC Wong collected more cash, more final tables and more victories on the circuit, but somehow came up 30 points short, leaving many players scratching their heads. There will be no argument over Jack En Ching Wu in 2016.
The spotlight now turns to the APT Player of the Year title, which Iori Yogo is close to wrestling away from Sam Razavi, in what feels like the first time in living memory. Two stops to play and it’s still anyone’s to win, but the Japanese pro holds the lead and the upper hand.
Article by Craig Bradshaw