Color me surprised when I received the ballots for this week’s Poker Central Power Rankings. Dan Bilzerian came out of nowhere to assert himself in the Top 10, raising my eyebrows about as high as humanly possible, but I’m going to try to make sense of it all right here!

Where do I start? Do I defend the fun and validity of these rankings? Do I roll with the punches? Do I advocate putting a system in place that sets up some boundaries and rules to get a specific formula in place that clearly specifies when and how you can rank someone?

The answer to that final questions is NO, and you can read my thoughts by scrolling down to Dan on the rankings. Can’t be bothered to keep reading? Listen to the hot takes on these rankings on the latest episode of the Poker Central Podcast.

The Week 6 Poker Central Power Rankings Top 10

Read up on the prior rankings: Week 3 – Week 4Week 5

Last week This week
Stephen Chidwick 18 1

The top spot this week, without question, belongs to Stephen Chidwick! The reigning U.S. Poker Open champion is making a strong case for his title defense by winning Event #1 and making three of the four final tables of this series so far. The rankings were submitted during Event #2 of the U.S Poker Open and if it was possible to give him more points he would’ve only extended his lead the later we would’ve done them.

Chidwick has now made eight of the 12 possible U.S. Poker Open final tables, a number so insane that even if he were to be the best player to have ever lived it doesn’t sound real. With a lead in the overall standings and many of his favorite events still to come – HELLO $25,000 Mixed Game – I would not bet one penny against him repeating as the champion and remaining in the top spot in this list for at least another two weeks.

Last week This week
Phil Galfond 2 2

Phil Galfond remains put at No.2 on the rankings after launching Run it Once Poker. Run it Once Poker is the first of its kind when it comes to trying to really innovate in the online poker space with a focus on the players. While other major operators have made strides in recent years – with others massively falling off and seemingly focused on their bottom line – Galfond has implemented the splash pot to much praise of its player base. The only side note I have for Phil is that he should be careful where he steals his jokes since I had basically this exact Tweet sitting in my drafts and ready to go!

Last week This week
Bryn Kenney 1 3

Bryn Kenney came in hot by winning the Aussie Millions Main Event for $1.3 million, vaulting himself into the No. 1 spot but drops two places to the lowest step on the podium this week. Kenney called winning the Aussie Millions “the best win” of his career and he can coast on this big score for quite some time before it will start itching again. So far, at the U.S. Poker Open, Kenney has one min cash with all the biggest buy-ins on tap for the coming days. We’re expecting big things from Kenney and he seems to be a lock to remain in the Top 5 for some time.

Last week This week
Sean Winter Unranked 4

Winter is here to stay. With temperatures hovering just above freezing in Las Vegas and the final season of Game of Thrones just a few months away, the timing of Sean Winter’s epic run at the U.S. Poker Open couldn’t have come at a better time. I had the pleasure of speaking to Winter for the very first time for a Poker Central feature and I was very impressed with both his look on life and the game of poker. Sean Winter is one of my new favorite players and has made four of four U.S. Poker Open final tables so far makes him into a strong contender for the big trophy and the $100,000 first prize.

Last week This week
Rainer Kempe 9 5

Rainer Kempe leads the 2019 Player of the Year race by a healthy margin after some big scores to start the year and sits in second place on the overall GPI standings behind only Alex Foxen. His showing at the U.S. Poker Open has us holding out hope that he’ll rip off another six-figure score – he’s got five this year already – at the PokerGO Studio in the coming days and as the most well-traveled German on the scene we have a soft spot for Kempe on these rankings.

Last week This week
Dan Bilzerian 36 6

These rankings are made up of a voting panel of five people that all look at the game in very different ways. While I might take a more systematic approach looking at things from a meritocracy point of view, others might see some juicy social media buzz and jump on that train as it brings poker to the forefront of the minds of those that might otherwise not play or follow the game.

There’s no way around the fact that Dan Bilzerian’s name is associated with the game of poker by everyone that follows him. On his own, Bilzerian has more Instagram followers (26 million) than the entire poker universe combined, and to many outsiders, to the game he’s probably “the most famous poker player,” as sad as that sounds to someone who’s been working in this industry for over a decade. It is, however, the reality of his enormous fame that nobody could’ve seen coming when he was just a rich guy who played poker.

It’s hard to imagine when I covered him in the 2009 Main Event, without the beard, not surrounded by models, and seemingly just another guy with a dream in the world’s biggest tournament, that he would turn into the worldwide phenomenon that he is right now.

But yet here we are, and while I highly dispute ranking Bilzerian in the Top 10 of the Week 6 Poker Central Power Rankings because of one photo with Cardi B, I understand that allure of his persona. The only thing I have to add is that Blitz hasn’t posted on his Instagram feed about poker since August of 2016. Hey Dan, if you still love the game, please show the game some love!

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dan Bilzerian (@danbilzerian) on

Last week This week
Daniel Negreanu 3 7

The ever-relevant Daniel Negreanu drops on the list this week due to the meteoric rise of Bilzerian, Winter and Chidwick but he put out some intruiging Tweets. Negeanu drove conversation on the topic of which events are more interesting to watch, high stakes or low stakes? The polls speaks for itself, but the conversation was pretty divided. Chime in if you’ve got a take of your own.

Last week This week
Teddy Monroe Unranked 8

ICEMAN! If you’re new to poker, you might not be familiar with the legendary character. More than 10 years ago, back when ESPN still showed prelim event final tables, Teddy Monroe finished fourth in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event and he’s been building on his cult following ever since. The episode Kristy Arnett did for Cardplayer’s High Stakes Living belongs in the Poker Content Hall of Fame, and I’m so happy to see Iceman is still doing his thing more than 10 years later.


Last week This week
Lazaro Hernandez Unranked 9

Lazaro Hernandez, or Laz for insiders, has been making waves at the U.S. Poker Open. Laz finished fifth in the opening event, won by Stephen Chidwick, and built up big stacks in the other events. Laz appeared on Poker After Dark numerous times to date and his willingness to battle against the best in all scenarios has garnered nothing but respect from the panel.

Last week This week
Phil Hellmuth 5 10

Twitter and WSOP juggernaut Phil Hellmuth is geard up and primed for some big runs at the U.S. Poker Open. Hellmuth played the opening event and then dabbled in his first ever Short Deck event last night. Will we see Hellmuth drop out of the Top 10 next week? I wouldn’t bet on it because whenever Hellmuth sets his mind to it, he’ll likely pull off some big results.

On the Bubble

See ya later, Chino Rheem. After two weeks at No. 1 followed by a drop off to sixth place last week, Chino Rheem now sits in 13th place after a quiet few weeks. Joseph Cheong bubbled the Top 10 after finishing third in USPO Event #1 while Kristen Bicknell, Doyle Brunson, Bill Perkins, and Jordan Cristos also just missed out on the Top 10.


Bryn Kenney, Stephen Chidwick, Daniel Negreanu, Sean Winter, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Galfond, Dan Bilzerian, Rainer Kempe, Poker Central Power Rankings, Laszaro Hernandez, Teddy Monroe