Frank Kassela, the winner of two gold bracelets at this year’s World Series of Poker appears headed for the 2010 WSOP “Player of the Year” honor.  His lead in the annual points-based race makes him a virtual lock to win the coveted title, which signifies the best all-around player performance over the entire course of the WSOP, which includes all open bracelet tournaments, 54 in all.
Vladimir Shchemelev, Dan Heimiller, Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi, and James Dempsey are still clinging to faint hopes -- but all other players are out of the race.
Kassela is a 42-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV.  He enjoyed a fabulous breakthrough year at the WSOP, earning two gold bracelet wins, three final table appearances, and five in-the-money-finishes.  His combined earnings total $1,233,987 – not counting results in the Main Event which is presently ongoing. 
If Kassela was a virtual lock to win WSOP Player of the Year prior to the start of the Main Event, his performance on Day One appears to make the odds even slimmer for those still hoping to catch up in the race.  At the time of this writing, Kassela remains very much alive in the final event.  He is currently ranked in the top ten percent of players who still remain alive in poker’s world championship.

Even a worst-case scenario for Kassela in the coming days is likely to produce a Player of the Year win.  Should Kassela not cash in the Main Event, one of his four challengers who are still-eligible would have to post a stellar performance in the same Main Event in order to reach Kassela’s lofty point-status.  In fact, it would take an outright win or a possible second-place finish to have any impact on the race at this point.  

Here’s a list of those still in contention for 2010 WSOP Player of the Year:

Frank Kassela – Las Vegas, NV (USA)

Wins if….
He finishes 9th or higher, or Contenders (listed below) finish 2nd or lower.

Ties if….
(See possible tie scenarios, listed below)

Vladimir Shchemelev – St. Petersburg (Russia)

Wins if….
Shchemelev wins 1st AND Kassela finishes 10th or lower

Ties Kassela if….
Shchemelev finishes 2nd AND Kassela does not cash

Dan Heimiller – Las Vegas, NV (USA)

Wins if….
Heimiller wins 1st AND Kassela finishes 19th through 27th

Ties Kassela if….
Heimiller wins 1st AND Kassela finishes 10th through 18th

Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi – Miramar, FL (USA)

Wins if….
Mizrachi wins 1st AND Kassela does not cash

Ties Kassela if….
Mizrachi finishes 1st AND Kassela finishes 28th through 747th

James Dempsey – Brighton (UK)

Ties Kassela if….
Kassela does not cash AND Dempsey finishes 1st AND Shchemelev does not finish 2nd

Player of the Year is determined by a points system which can be reviewed HERE.  

No other players remain eligible to win the WSOP Player of the Year race.
For a complete standings list of all players who received points in this year’s Player of the Year race, click HERE.

If there is a tie, the top finishers will be declared Player of the Year and will all receive the prize.  Player of the Year prizes are customized for each winner.

Former WSOP Players of the year include:

2004 – Daniel Negreanu
2005 – Allen Cunningham
2006 – Jeff Madsen
2007 – Tom Schneider
2008 – Erick Lindgren
2009 – Jeffrey Lisandro