Negreanu Leads Race for Player of the Year

Daniel Negreanu is looking strong in his bid to become this year’s World Series of Poker Player of the Year, having taken the lead late last week. With just one World Series of Poker Europe event still to play, Negreanu is in pole position to take home his third career Player of the Year title, having won it in 2004 and 2013

A pile of various colors of poker chips.

The results of Event #15: €550 Colossus No-Limit Hold’em look set to play an important role in determining the WSOP Player of the Year. ©Unsplash

Last week, Negreanu pulled ahead of rivals Robert Campbell and Shaun Deeb after his sixth-place finish in Event #10: €25,500 Mixed Games Championship, which was eventually won by Besim Hot. He then extended this lead with a deep run in Event #11: €2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha. He finished in 20th place in this tournament earning him €4,127 as well as Player of the Year points. Event #11: €2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha was won by Tomas Ribeiro.

Nothing has changed in the top three for the race since Negreanu took the lead. Further down the table, however, there have been important changes. The fourth-place spot is now occupied by Anthony Zinno after he moved up several places when he finished third in Event #14 €10,350 Main Event No-Limit Hold’em, which was won by Alexandros Kolonias. This was Zinno’s third cash of the WSOPE series. The podium-finish netted Zinno €485,291 and over 500 Player of the Year points, which meant he leaped into fourth.

Phillip Hui trails Zinno in fifth place, and behind Hui is Dan Zack in sixth. Both of these players were in the top 10 a week ago though, so there have been no great changes.

In seventh place, Dario Sammartino has surprised some. Sammartino followed up a runner-up finish to Hossein Ensan in the WSOP Main Event back in July and attempted to recreate this feat in Event #14 €10,350 Main Event No-Limit Hold’em. He could only muster a fourth-place finish in the WSOPE event, but consecutive final tables in WSOP main events have pushed him up to seventh place in the Player of the Year standings.

Another player who has forced their way into the top 10 after a successful WSOPE series is Kahle Burns, from Australia. Burns won his first two bracelets throughout the series, which is held in at King’s Casino, Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Firstly, Burns took home a bracelet after finishing first in Event #8: €25,500 Platinum High Roller No-Limit Hold’em. He then followed this with a win in Event #13: €25,500 Short Deck No-Limit Hold’em. Burns now sits eighth in the race for Player of the Year.

Dash Dudley sits ninth in the standings. Dudley won Event #2: €550 Pot-Limit Omaha, and also won a bracelet during the summer WSOP.

Rounding out the top 10 is David “ODB” Baker, who moved up into 10th after cashing in a couple of the events in the WSOPE series. These cashes included his deep run into the Main Event, in which he was eliminated in 12th place.

Some notable players are just outside of the top 10. The next five spots outside of the top 10 are occupied by Chris Ferguson in 11th, Phil Hellmuth in 12th, Asi Moshe in 13th, Ismael Bojang in 14th and Jason Gooch in 15th.

These positions and the eventual winner of the WSOP Player of the Year all hinge on the results of Event #15: €550 Colossus No-Limit Hold’em, a huge tournament which has drawn in 2,738 entries and featured nine separate starting flights! The prize pool for the tournament is more than €1,300,550 and many Player of the Year points stand to be won. The winner of the tournament is scheduled to be determined by the end of play on Monday the 4th of November, which will not only signify the end of the WSOPE series but an end to the race for WSOP Player of the Year.

In the Colossus, a top place finish would net the victor 1,033.39 Player of the Year points, and in an approximation, the leader of the race, Daniel Negreanu predicted where his rivals would need to finish in the tournament to pip him to the post. In Negreanu’s estimations, Sammartino and Zinno could only beat him with a win in the final tournament, and Campbell could only surpass him with a 25th place finish, all assuming of course that Negreanu himself doesn’t cash for more.

Changes in Calculations

The way the Player of the Year points are calculated was changed by the WSOP last year, and the same formula has been kept to figure out the highest achiever in poker this year. The formula uses modifiers that alter points based on buy-ins and field sizes, which makes it roughly similar to the one employed to calculate WSOP rankings.

The WSOP explained that such changes had been made to “better reward bracelet winners and players who run deep, while still rewarding consistency.”

Changes between the current system and that which was in place before 2018, include things such as a bigger difference in points earned from first and second-place finishes, as well as minimum cashes being worth relatively less than they used to be.

All 15 bracelets events which were available over WSOPE, except for Event #4: €250,000 Super High Roller No-Limit Hold’em, count towards the Player of the Year points. These events are in addition to the 84 other open bracelet events held by WSOP over the course of the year.

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