Who is in the Frame for the 2018 WSOP Player of the Year?

Posted by Gerry Poltorak on Jun 17, 2018 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

WSOP Player of the YearAlthough the prize for winning the World Series of Poker Player of the Year is modest in comparison to the millions that can be won throughout the WSOP and WSOPE series, the title of WSOP POY has a significant amount of prestige attached to it. Just ask two-time winner Daniel Negreanu – who won the title in 2004 and 2013. 

“The WSOP Player of the Year is an accomplishment I am really proud of”, he said. “Anyone can win one tournament, but to have the best overall series against a bunch of other guys who are trying to do the same thing is something I shoot for every year.” Other players who have won the title of Player of the Year share Negreanu´s opinion.

2006 POY winner Jeff Madsen is reported as saying “it made my career”, 2007 POY winner Tom Schneider believes it is the “biggest thing I have achieved in poker”, and 2008 POY winner Erick Lindgren commented some years later “There´s no doubt, it´s definitely my biggest achievement and the thing I am most proud of”.

The Prizes for Winning WSOP Player of the Year

So, what does the winner of the WSOP Player of the Year get? Less than you might think. Although Lindgren was awarded a customized Harley Davidson motorcycle for his victory in 2008, more recent victors have received a free entry into the following year´s WSOP Main Event and a banner hung in their honor at the Rio through the series.

It´s not about the money though according to Tom Schneider. He says winning the WSOP Player of the Year is a big deal because you earn respect from other players. “You can´t win by just getting lucky in one tournament” he said. “I’d rather win POY than the main event. It’s a stronger indicator of skill and consistency.”

Consistency is Key for Winning WSOP POY

Schneider is right about consistency being key for winning WSOP POY, because the title doesn´t go the player who wins the most bracelets or cashes for the most amount of money. It goes to the player who – over the entirety of the World Series of Poker and World Series of Poker Europe – enjoys the most deep runs and Final Table appearances. 

Going back over the past ten winners, only two have been Main Event winners (Ben Lamb in 2011 and Greg Merson in 2012) and the only player to win the title with more than two bracelet victories was George Danzer in 2014. Incredibly, last year´s winner – Chris Ferguson – won the title with less than $430,000 in WSOP cashes.

Winning WSOP POY is all about having the skill to compete in various game formats, maintaining concentration throughout the series and, of course, having the bankroll to enter enough events to remain in contention. This is why the players who occupy the top spots in the competition are the ones you have most likely heard of.

Who is in the Frame for the 2018 Title?

Approaching halfway in the U.S. leg of the WSOP Player of the Year competition, the leaderboard is dominated by players who have already won a bracelet event. Elio Fox heads the leaderboard after his victory in the Super Turbo Bounty Event #2 and runner up finish in the High Roller Event #5, and only two players in the top twenty are yet to win a bracelet – John Racener and George Alexander.

What puts these two players in contention is the number of cashes and final table appearances each player has. To date, Racener has six cashes and two final table appearances; and – based on his history at the WSOP and WSOPE – he is likely to finish much higher than many of the players above him due to his consistency and ability to maintain his concentration throughout an arduous series.

Other players out of the top twenty we expect to be in contention for WSOP POY when the WSOPE in Rozvadov concludes in November include Nicholas Derke (currently 26th with four cashes and two Final Table appearances), Shaun Deeb (currently 28th with seven cashes and one Final Table appearance), and Anthony Zinno (currently 47th with five cashes and one Final Table appearance).

You can keep up-to -date with the current Player of the Year standings by visiting wsop.com/2018/POY/.

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