As almost half of the bracelets have been awarded through the 2009 World Series of Poker, the interesting stretch of the race for Player of the Year is now underway.

Villie Wahlbeck
, an online player from Finland, has been the standout so far this year, with deep runs in four $10,000 World Championship events so far this year and is in the POY lead for the second week in a row, with 255 points.
 
He finished third in Seven-card Stud (Event 6), then he won Finaland's first WSOP gold bracelet in Mixed Games (Event 12), was eliminated from Omaha 8-or-better (Event 18) and was the runner-up in No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw (Event 23), earning $849,785 this summer. If Wahlbeck holds the lead, he would be the first European to be named POY since it began in 2004.
 
Points are awarded by cashing and going deep in events. Making the money gives at least five points while winning an event is rewarded with 100 points in addition to the gold bracelet. See the full break down here.
 
Thirty-five points separate the leader and Phil Ivey and Brock Parker, who are tied for second through the first 27 having won two tournaments apiece.
 
Ivey earned his sixth and seventh bracelets overall winning $2,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw (Event 8 ) and $2,500 Omaha 8-or-better/Seven-card Stud 8-or-better (Event 25) to match Parker who won back-to-back events — $2,500 Six-handed Limit Hold'em (Event 14) and $2,500 Six-handed No Limit Hold'em (Event 19). Parker has also cashed in three other events, Ivey has one other cash.
 
Parker said POY was a secondary goal, but since he finished 28th in $10,000 Heads-up No Limit Hold'em (Event 29), it has become more prominent in his mind.
 
"I kind of resided myself," he said. "Going into (Event 29) it wasn't, but I did well in (Event 29)."

Daniel Negreanu
, 2004 POY, is fifth in points and leads Jeff Lisandro by five points. The two are leading their two-man teams — Negreanu and 2008 POY Erick Lindgren, Lisandro and Barry Greenstein — in a friendly wager for which pairing can accumulate the most POY points.
 
Lisandro and Greenstein are leading by 10 points so far with a combined 185 points, thanks mostly to Lisandro's $1,500 Seven-card Stud (Event 16) win, while Negreanu's four cashes have kept his team of former POYs in the running.
 
The other three former POYs, Allen Cunningham, Jeff Madsen and Tom Schneider, have yet to cash in a tournament this year.
 
The biggest drop in the last week was Jason Mercier, who was second to Wahlbeck early after winning his first bracelet, taking down $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha (Event 5). He was sandwiched between Wahlbeck and Ivey with 125 points, but has fallen to eighth with 147 total points.

Scott Clements
, on the other hand, has jumped into the top 10 after making two final tables in the last week. He finished second in Event 18 to Daniel Alaei (110 POY points) and third in $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha 8-or-better (Event 27) to grab 135 points.