By taking down three tournaments this year, Jeff Lisandro has taken a strong lead in the 2009 World Series of Poker Player of the Year race.
Through 47 events, Lisandro has cahsed six times, including three wins by taking down the $1,500 Seven-card Stud (Event 16), $10,000 Seven-card Stud 8-or-better (Event 37) and $2,500 Razz (Event 44) to pick up 355 POY points and the lead in the race with just 10 events remaining in the next week.
"(It would) be great (to be the Player of the Year)," he said. "It's like I've climbed a massive mountain and I can see the top, but I'm getting really tired.
"The enemy are just behind me and the only way I can lose is if I slip."
Indeed, strong competitors Ville Wahlbeck and Phil Ivey are on his heels with 275 and 242 points, respectively.
Points are awarded for cashing in events and the better players finish, the more points they are awarded. Five points are automatic for cashing and jump to 10 for finishing in the top 27, while 100 points are given for winning an event. The points model can be seen here.
Wahlbeck has made a name for himself at this WSOP by cashing in five events, finishing first in the $10,000 World Championship Mixed Games (Event 12), second in the $10,000 World Championship No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw (Event 23) and third in the $10,000 World Championship Seven-card Stud (Event 6), where Lisandro finished ninth.
Ivey has won two bracelets this year, bringing his total to seven, and has cashed five times as well. He took down the $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).
The only other multi-bracelet winner this summer, Brock Parker, is currently tied with James Van Alstyne with 220 points and round out the top five.
Fan-favorite and 2004 POY Daniel Negreanu is currently the only player in the top 10 without having won a bracelet this year. He has cashed six times, making two final tables and one 10th place spot for 170 points and is tied with Rami Boukai with that number.
Former POYs Allen Cunningham, Erick Lindgren, Jeff Madsen and Tom Schneider have combined for 60 points and six cashes. Lindgren leads the four with 30 points, cashing in four events, Cunningham has 25 points with two cashes, Madsen has five points and Schneider has failed to cash in any events this year.
With only one week left until the Main Event, which will count toward POY points for the first time in the five years since they began awarding POY, it is important for Negreanu and Lindgren to make a strong showing late if they hope to win a prop bet they have with Lisandro and Barry Greenstein. The teams of two pit the former POYs against Lisandro and Greenstein for which two can combine for the most POY points. Lisandro and Greenstein lead by far with a combined 470 points while Negreanu and Lindgren have only 200.
Nevertheless, Lisandro said he needs to remain focused and said if he can make one more final table, he could win the title.
"It's not over, it's far from over," he said. "(But) I figure I need one more table to lock it up.
It is going to be tough, there are not many events left."