2014 PokerPlayer awards: Players of the year

These are the players that have taken the money and rocked the bells in 2014

5: Dan Smith
Sitting at the top of the GPI rankings for the 16th week running now, Smith is another pro who might have flown under the radar, but is one of the game’s elite performers. Smith won the $100k Super High Roller at Bellagio for $2m in June and then threatened with a super deep run in the Main Event. In the end he busted out in 20th but things might have gone down differently in the poker world had he not lost a race with A♠-K♠ against Jorryt van Hoof’s Fours.

4: Davidi Kitai
You might not have heard of Kitai, but he’s one of poker’s most consistent live performers. The Winamax pro won his first bracelet in 2008, collected his second in 2013 and completed his hat-trick this year in one of the WSOP’s most prestigious events – the $3k Six-Handed NLHE.

He’s also a triple-crowner, with WPT and EPT wins, a fact that eluded Phil Hellmuth when they got into a confrontation at the WSOP. After re-raising Hellmuth’s check-raise, the Poker Brat shot up from his chair exclaiming, ‘Crazy Frenchman is going to cost me my 14th bracelet. You have no chance to win sir.’ Asked whether he’d won a tournament before Hellmuth quickly shot back, ‘Of course he’s never won a tournament before.’

3: George Danzer
Danzer started the 2014 WSOP without a bracelet. A few weeks later he had one for each arm from the $10k Razz and $10k Stud Hi/Lo. With seven cashes totalling $782,240 he left Vegas second in the WSOP Player of the Year race, and went to Australia to fight for the title with Brandon Shack-Harris. It went to the wire with Shack Harris making a deep run in the Main Event, but Danzer’s third bracelet of the year in the A$5k 8 Game event sealed the deal.

2: Martin Jacobson
The WSOP Main Event hasn’t always boasted the winner the poker world wants, but in this year’s champion we’ve got a poker ambassador we can be proud of.

Jacobson’s first recorded cash was third in an EPT back in 2008. He’s been a consistently winning pro since then, much admired on the EPT circuit where he boasts two seconds, but without a major win to his name. That changed on the biggest stage of them all when Jacobson parlayed his short stack on the final table of the WSOP Main Event to victory, defeating fellow Scandi Felix Stephensen for the $10m first prize.

If you watched the feed you’ll know that he played the best, deserved the bracelet and handles himself with aplomb. If you haven’t seen him in action, what are you waiting for?

1: Daniel Colman
He might not be the most popular player on the circuit, but Colman has had the most explosive year of possibly any poker player in the history of the game. He made his first seven-figure score in November 2013, before taking the high roller scene by the scruff of the neck, starting in April when he won the EPT Grand Final Super High Roller for $2.1m. He then beat Daniel Negreanu heads-up in the Big One for One Drop for $15.3m, earning plaudits from Kid Poker who tweeted: ‘Had a blast battling Daniel Coleman! Actually joyful and amazing experience. What a great player and great kid. Congrats to him.’

Since the Big One Colman has cashed five times, including two more seven-figure scores. To prove that he’s not just a small-field high stakes expert, Colman won the $5,300 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in August for $1.4m, triumphing over 1,498 other players.

His total haul for the year is $22m, the most by any player in a single year. To put this into context, it represents pretty much all of his total winnings of $22.9m, and puts him third
in the all-time money list behind Daniel Negreanu, who leads with total winnings of $29.8m. Nice life…

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