2010’s Top Poker Players

Every year, a handful of the game’s best poker players are recognized either for their wins throughout the year or for the wins that have defined a standout career. Today we pay homage to the best, as determined by their winnings, their peers and their fans.

Two New WSOP Hall of Fame Members

Lest we forget the players that have gone before us, every year the WSOP inducts one or two new players into the Poker Hall of Fame. This year’s two new deserving members were longtime pros Dan Harrington and his old backgammon buddy Erik Seidel. Harrington has more than $6 million in live tournament earnings to his credit while Seidel has more than $9 million and counting. Lest anyone accuse Seidel of being past his prime, he posted seven sizable cashes in the first half of 2010, four of which were at the WSOP.

CardPlayer Player of the Year

As we reported last week, the live tournament point tallies are now done, and CardPlayer has determined that their Player of the Year is none other than Thomas Marchese. Marchese has been dominating all year, right up to November when he posted another big money finish at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

Bluff Magazine Player of the Year

BLUFF Magazine, in conjunction with the ESPN Power Rankings, also names a player of the year. For 2010, that player is Sorel Mizzi. Mizzi definitely earned the title, starting his year with two small cashes at the Caribbean Adventure in January and continuing to win several times a month for the rest of the year (with the exception of July). Mizzi has cashed a whopping 26 times in 2010 including five wins.

Top Female Pro of 2010

Though “top female pro” is not an official title, Vanessa Selbst’s outright dominance this year has inspired many news sources to call it “The Year of the Woman” or even just “Selbst’s Year.” Not that Selbst needs another title, having won both the NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event and the PPT Main Event this year. Selbst’s 2010 live tournament earnings were just short of $3 million.

The Comeback Kid

All year we’ve been tracking Gus Hansen’s online roller coaster ride, and while it doesn’t look like the Great Dane is going to finish the year ahead in online earnings, he nevertheless managed to reduce nearly $4 million in losses to just more than $1 million going into 2011. He also won his first WSOP bracelet this year and just snatched the top $1 million prize at the Full Tilt Poker Million IX tournament earlier this month. Since Hansen was still active at the high stakes tables as recently as yesterday, it’s safe to assume he’s going to finish the year fighting.

Ring Game King

With the exception of a few notable match-ups for and during the Durrrr Challenge, Tom Dwan’s time online has been more limited this year as the young pro pursues more live tournament titles. Those efforts have been met with mixed success with Dwan posting only four cash finishes in 2010 and falling just short of his first WSOP bracelet with a second place finish in Event #11. But before anyone suggests that Dwan’s star is fading, we’d like to remind our readers of a certain epic side game that took place in Macao this summer where it has been speculated that Dwan left the table with anywhere from $6 to $9 million.

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