Asian Players break into GPI Top 10

The Global Poker Index (GPI) has become an established measurement of live tournament prowess since it began and has seen its top 10 positions populated by some illustrious names in recent years. While Asian players have seen some success in globally recognisable tournaments, they have always struggled to establish themselves in the GPI top 10. This is partly because the game took much longer to grow in popularity in Asia compared to the rest of world. Now though, that trend could be beginning to change as Asia’s elite players are increasingly starting to challenge the world’s elite.

Michael Soyza moves to 7th

Michael Soyza – Photo Triton Poker

Michael Soyza has been one of the strongest Asian players on the circuit in recent years and it seems he is finally gaining a foothold near the summit of the GPI rankings too. He has consistently been at, or close to the top of the rankings for Asia in recent times and was ranked 14th globally when Somuchpoker interviewed him back in September 2018. During that interview, Michael pointed out that he rarely plays high roller events, but since then he has stepped into that pressured arena and has had an instant impact.

At the tail end of 2018, Soyza started to play a few of these events and has seen his strong performances immediately boost him up the rankings. He picked up 3rd place at a high roller tournament at the WSOPE in Rozvadov in October for US$592,594 followed by two more six-figure scores before the end of the year.

He then picked up a career best win of US$1,420,581 by winning a six-handed event at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series in March. Two more six-figure scores have followed since, pushing Soyza up to number 7 on the global rankings. Having now established himself in high roller tournaments as the other top 10 players are already are, it will be fascinating to see how much further up the rankings he can go.

More: GPI Asia #1 Michael Soyza talks success, career and more

Asian players flying high in the GPI Female category

Gao Wenling
Gao Wenling – Photo Somuchpoker

In the GPI rankings for ladies, Asian players are outshining their male counterparts, with two players currently in the top 10 and four in the top 15 places. China’s Gao Wenling leads the charge in 6th place, closely followed by her compatriot Li Yan in 8th. Taiwan’s Kitty Kuo was also in the top 10 up until recently, and while she has slid back to 12th, Kuo remains one of the most recognisable and successful female Asian players on the circuit. Malaysia’s Natalie Teh occupies 14th, and with only 260 rating points separating 6th and 14th, any of these players could take the title of top ranked female player in Asia over the coming months. When it comes to pushing into the top 3 globally however, things become a bit harder, with 3rd place some 445 points ahead of Wenling.

Power couple Foxen and Bicknell running the show


William Alex Foxen has stood alone at the top of the global GPI rankings for some time now, and currently holds a very comfortable 350-point gap to his nearest challenger, Rainer Kempe. For those chasing him down, there is no good news on the horizon either, as he has banked four scores in the six-figure range in the past month, including two 2nd places in events with a buy in over US$25,000. Foxen is currently dating Kristen Bicknell, who tops the GPI Female category by a clear 632 point. With both players enjoying a long reign at the top, they have created quite a story. This amazing dominance by the couple doesn’t look like being dismantled anytime soon, unless someone goes on a Holz-style heater this summer.

GPI Rankings Top 10

#1 William Alex Foxen 3,952.43 pts
#2 Rainer Kempe 3,602.66 pts
#3 Stephen Chidwick 3,489.18 pts
#4 David Peters 3,467.90 pts
#5 Steve “Mango” O’Dwyer 3,457.97 pts
#6 Manig Loeser 3,366.61 pts
#7 Christopher Michael Soyza 3,315.57 pts
#8 Ryan Riess 3,291.89 pts
#9 Benjamin Pollak 3,289.99 pts
#10 Jake Schindler 3,279.33 pts

Article by Craig Bradshaw