Over the last four summer months, the New Jersey Online Poker Rankings top ten has undergone some serious reconstruction. At the start of the summer, some of New Jersey’s top players, Mike ‘Lav519’ Lavenburg and Michael ‘Gags30’ Gagliano to name a few, headed to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker and thus, saw their Garden State stock drop and drop quickly.
Just two weeks ago PokerStars made one of the biggest announcements in their history regarding their live tournament schedule and branding. Live events now fall under two categories, the PokerStars Championship and the PokerStars Festival, with events being held worldwide.
Save for the World Series of Poker Main Event, July is usually a slow time for the poker world and that slowness has seen the top of the New Jersey Online Poker Rankings remain more or less the same heading into the final month of the summer. The changes that have occurred are relatively small in nature but as the calendar turns, some players are putting themselves in great positions to end 2016 in the top ten.
If you’ve played poker, you’ve certainly heard some “chip and a chair” stories where players have come back from sometimes overwhelming odds to either progress through or win a tournament. Most of those stories don’t involve being heads up for a bracelet with a nearly 11-1 chip disadvantage but last week, Steven Wolansky’s back was against the wall at the final table of a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the 2016 World Series of Poker.
Ten years ago, before the reigning World Series of Poker Main Event champion was even out of high school, Jamie Gold entertained, confused and shocked the poker world by winning the largest WSOP Main Event in history. A record 8,773 entrants, along with Gold’s $12,000,000 purse for the victory, still stand as the biggest ever in Main Event history but over the last decade, the excitement of the win has never subsided.
While the end of the last New Jersey Online Poker Rankings update predicted some serious change to the top ten by the end of the summer, through one mouth of New Jersey’s best season, that change has not yet occurred. There has been some movement but that’s near the bottom of the rankings, with the top remaining the same since last month.
It’s no secret that the WSOP Player of the Year rankings are slightly weighted towards bigger buy-in events and through the holiday weekend, those bigger buy-in events are starting at the 2016 World Series of Poker. The $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship began Saturday and the $25,000 High Roller Pot Limit Omaha begins on Wednesday. The $111,111 High Roller for One Drop begins at the end of that week and if anyone is going to catch Jason Mercier at the top of those POY rankings, those events are going to play an important role.
It’s safe to say that most of the big storylines of each summer come from the higher buy-in $10,000 Championship events. The most notable names in poker use those tournaments to make their claim that they belong as part of the game’s elite. Players like Robert Mizrachi, Jason Mercier, George Danzer and John Hennigan have all added to their lengthy resumes through the first half of the World Series of Poker and another player heads into the latter part of the series with confidence and momentum thanks to some early deep Championship runs.
For professionals and recreational players alike, the World Series of Poker can be a stressful and busy time. Dealing with travel plans, accommodations, setting a tournament schedule and on top of all that, dealing with backers and piece buyers that are going to make playing in some of the world’s most prestigious events possible. Not that Canada’s Mike Leah feels any of those pressures, as he’s amassed over $5,000,000 in live tournament earnings, along with a well respected online resume to boot while being a mainstay at the WSOP since 2011.
Spring is supposed to come in like a lion and leave like a lamb but thanks to May’s PokerStars New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker series in New Jersey, that was not the case. Over $1,000,000 was up for grabs through nearly 60 events, offering a wide range of buy-ins and guaranteed prize pools. Those events saw hundreds of players hit the virtual night after night and when the dust settled, the New Jersey Online Poker Rankings had a very different look to them.