Koray Aldemir final tabled Event #1 of the Poker Masters in sixth place for $153,000, but more importantly he earned 180.66 GPI Player of the Year points to close the gap on Bryn Kenney as the top ranked player in the 2017 standings. The German standout earned over $4 million of his career $7 million earnings since January alone in a year where Kenney has been near untouchable.

Aldemir’s point total ticked up to 3,167 points, which leaves him 117 points shy of Kenney – which he wasn’t aware. “I actually did not know I that – I knew that I was in second place,” Aldemir said. “It would mean something to me to win. I’ve been following the tour for a bit. I only started playing these high buy-in tournaments a year ago, so to be up there is cool.”

The first final table of the Poker Masters featured three other German pros. “I would have liked to go a little deeper today, but everyone was pretty short,” Aldemir said. “It was a good start for me.”

The German contingent is only outnumbered by Americans, but Aldemir finds success in both competing and against and studying with his countrymen. “We do talk a lot at dinner. Of course, we talk about more than poker, we’re just enjoying life,” he said.

The grind of the Series set in early for Aldemir. “I like the concept a lot,” he said. “Although, the first night was a little extreme with having to play until after 3 am and then had to be back at 12. But I actually like it, these tournaments are fun.”

“The jacket is a fun concept and I would love to win it,” he added.

Aldemir’s rungood now is really an extension of the year he’s had so far. “My year’s been good. I’ve never had a year like that before with traveling a lot,” he said. “I’ve been playing a lot of tournaments.”

Looking back on his year so far Aldemir said he was most proud of Manila Triton Super High Roller – for a cool $1.29 million. “A win always feels nice and it was the best one this year,” he said.

Editor’s Note – Story was originally published as Aledmir leading the GPI Player of the Year standings. But only the top 13 scores in a year count towards a player’s GPI POY score. Therefore his previous lowest score, from Bay 101, is dropped and replaced. Viewers can watch Kenney’s Event #2 Final Table live on PokerGO at 3:30 pm ET.