In 2011, our No. 5 story of the year was Erik Seidel, who took down four titles and amassed $6.5 million in winnings. It was an incredible performance for the Poker Hall of Famer, and showed that the old-school generation still had some gas left in the tank. This year, the “young guns” responded as both Dan Smith and Marvin Rettenmaier dominated the poker scene.
Granted, neither of them earned more than $3.8 million, but together they won an inconceivable ten tournaments. Most recently, Smith won a €5,000 side event at the European Poker Tour Prague, while Rettenmaier won the €10,000 High Roller at the same venue. Smith will be featured in his own Top 10 story later this week, so for this PokerNews Top 10 Story, we'll focus our attention solely on Rettenmaier, but not so much on his background, which you can read about in Matthew Pitt’s piece, The Rise and Rise of Marvin Rettenmaier, rather on what he’s managed to accomplish in 2012.
Unlike Seidel, who got off to a quick start in 2011, Rettenmaier didn’t catch fire until a quarter of the year had gone by. In fact, Rettenmaier’s biggest score through the first three months of 2012 was an eighth-place finish in the Aussie Millions A$1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Rebuy Event for $17,419; however, once April rolled around, the young German was blazing.
It started when he placed fifth in the €9,700 World Poker Tour Vienna High Roller for $34,194. One week later, he took third in the EPT Berlin €10,000 NLHE 8-Max Reentry Event for $112,169, and then one week after that, he scored his first win by taking down the €2,000 NLHE Event at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo for $156,186.
Rettenmaier’s April success not only boosted his confidence, it also landed him a new sponsorship opportunity. After parting ways with Titan Poker in May 2012, the 26-year-old was immediately snatched up by PartyPoker. It was flawless timing on the online poker site’s part as less than two weeks later Rettenmaier would win one of poker’s most prestigious titles — the World Poker Tour $25,000 Championship at Bellagio for $1,196,858, which you can read all about by clicking here.
“It means a lot to me making it to the top of the Player of the Year race, which was my big goal. [It's something that] nobody understands and I can’t really explain it,” Rettenmaier told PokerNews. “I wasn’t going to go for it after that [WPT win], but after the second one I was like, ‘Ok, I’d better.’”
The “second one” Rettenmaier refers to was the first tournament of the WPT Season XI, the WPT Merit Cyprus Classic $4,000 Main Event back in August. That tournament attracted 329 players, and amazingly Rettenmaier walked away with the title and accompanying $287,784 first-place prize. What’s more, he became the first player in WPT history to win back-to-back titles.
The feat was truly remarkable, but Rettenmaier wasn’t done there. With two major wins in his pocket, he set about becoming Player of the Year. “It was just basically something that got me motivated last year,” Rettenmaier explained when asked why he pursued POY. “Last year I played like every day, then this year, like the first half of the year really, I didn’t play that much. I played in Australia, and I played some EPTs and a couple of WPTs, but I didn’t play a lot. So, I think it was really good for me to take off some time. When I had the chance after winning two WPTs, I was like I might as well go for it.”
After busting the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in early December, Rettenmaier immediately hopped on a place to travel around the world to the Czech Republic, where the EPT Prague was in progress. Unfortunately, Rettenmaier didn’t arrive in time to play the EPT Prague Main Event nor a €2,000 Turbo event. That meant his last chance to capture POY points was in the €10,000 High Roller.
“I did do all the calculations, believe me. I’m really weird about that stuff. I needed second place,” Rettenmaier said of that event. Amazingly Rettenmaier navigated the record field of 108 players, which generated five reentries, and defeated some of the game’s best on his way to yet another victory. You can read more on that win by clicking here.
It was an amazing finish to an already incredible year, one in which Rettenmaier notched 19 cashes totaling $2,503,015. Here’s a look at some of the more notable ones:
|April 20||EPT Berlin €10,000 NLHE 8-Max Re-Entry||3rd||$112,169|
|May 19||World Poker Tour $25,000 Championship||1st||$1,196,858|
|May 31||World Series of Poker Event #6 $5,000 NLHE – Mixed Max||5th||$68,151|
|July 7||2012 WSOP Main Event||648th||$19,227|
|August 4||WPT Merit Cyprus Classic $4,000 Main Event||1st||$287,784|
|September 26||WSOP Europe Event #5 €10,000 NLHE – Mixed Max||6th||$54,918|
|December 13||EPT Prague €10,000 High Roller 8-Handed||1st||$477,479|
Rettenmaier managed to lock up the BLUFF Magazine Player of the Year award; however, he did miss out on the Global Poker Index Player of the Year, which went to Smith.
As Rich Ryan said in a recent Five Thoughts piece: “The POY races in 2012 are very similar. In any other year, Smith, Rettenmaier, Phil Hellmuth, or Greg Merson would’ve won every award uncontested. Just to give you an example, Eugene Katchalov, the 2011 BLUFF Magazine Player of the Year, earned 1,089.28 points. Merson, who currently sits in third place in the 2012 standings, has already earned 1,157.55 points. Rettenmaier has earned 1,348.52 points.”
Rettenmaier, who plans to travel to the 2013 Aussie Millions, said that chasing the accolade was, “Way too stressful," and doubts he'll set out from the start to do it again. “I would do it if I was up there the last three months of the year, probably I would do it. Not before then, not even as much as this year, not even for the second half. The first [half] is the hardest really."
PokerNews Top 10 Stories of 2012:
#9, Baumann and Hille Bubble WSOP Main Event Final Table
#10, Phil Ivey Returns in a Big Way