With the Global Poker Index latest update on December 31, we can finally crown Kelly Minkin the winner of this year’s GPI Player of the Year Ladies’ race. Minkin earns the distinction in front of Liv Boeree in second place, Esther “E-Tay” Taylor-Brady in third, Cate Hall in fourth and Natasha Barbour in fifth place.
1 Kelly Minkin, 1748 pts
2 Liv Boeree, 1,620 pts
3 Esther “E-Tay” Taylor Brady, 1,572 pts
4 Cate Hall, 1,525 pts
5 Natasha Barbour, 1,513 pts
6 Shola Akindele Deadman, 1,496 pts
7 Loni Harwood, 1,482 pts
8 Nancy Nguyen, 1,376 pts
9 Xuan Liu, 1,375 pts
10 Rachel Kranz, 1,314 pts
Kelly Minkin claimed the top spot after an incredible WSOP, where she was last woman standing in the Main Event (29th place). She also went deep in the Millionaire Maker (38th), and cashed in two other WSOP events. At the start of the year Minkin won an event at LA Poker Classic, and she final tabled WPT Lucky Hearts in February (3rd place).
Esther “E-Tay” Taylor-Brady overtook Minkin’s lead in mid-August, when she finished in 21st place in an event at the Seminole Hardrock Poker Open. E-Tay had been hot on Minkin’s heels after an impressive year that included a WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table (5th), followed by deeps runs in WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown (45th) and WPT Choctaw (52nd). Not to mention a 5th place finish in Hollywood Poker Open Main Event and two cashes at the WSOP.
But on September 1 Minkin went deep in a WPT Legends of Poker event to reclaim the top spot, and she has held on to it ever since, and in fact expanded her lead after a 10th place finish in the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond in late October.
At one point though, it looked like Liv Boeree might catch up after a great post WSOP. Mid-August Boeree was sitting in 19th place of the rankings, but when the EPT season 12 kicked off in Barcelona, Boeree started to crush. First she finished in 3rd place in the €25,500 High Roller for €391,000, then she continued to Isle of Man where she took 6th in the more modest £1,100 High Roller. At EPT Malta she had another deep run, taking 3rd place in a hyperturbo event, and in November she finished in top 75 of WPT Montreal. Unfortunately Boeree could not continue her hot run at the EPT in Prague, and she has to settle for second place in the PoY Ladies race, 128 points behind Minkin. However, Boeree wins the European Player of the Year Ladies back-to-back, and she will bring home the award for best female poker player in Europe 2015 as she did in 2014.
Cate Hall has had a virtual breakthrough on the felt this year. To go from no recorded tournament cashes prior to 2015 to 4th place of the Player of the Year Ladies’ list is a great achievement. Two WPT final tables (Maryland Live and Five Diamond World Poker Classic), where Hall finished in 5th place both times, a deep run in the Lucky 7s Event at the WSOP (33rd), and 11 other cashes this year has catapulted Hall to the top of the list.
Natasha Barbour rounds out top five after a very successful year that included deep runs in events at EPT Prague and EPT Malta, and a runner-up finish in Event #20 at the WSOP for $284,911 as the highlight of the year.
With Vanessa Selbst winning the title year after year, it’s been refreshing and exciting to see so many new names enter the list, and to finally have another player claim the top spot. Huge congrats to Kelly Minkin on a truly amazing performance, and to the rest of the players on the list, who made 2015 an incredible year for women in poker.