World Series of Poker Vice President Jack Effel presented Dan Zack with the 2022 WSOP Player of the Year trophy on Monday during the Tournament of Champions. Zack had an incredible Series, finishing with 4,530.64 points.
It was as runaway POY victory for Zack. Only one other player eclipsed the 4,000-point mark; even with his fantastic summer, Daniel Weinman still finished a distant second with 4,040.20 points. Just two other players had over 3,000 points: last year’s Main Event champ Koray Aldemir with 3,275.02 and perennial POY contender Shaun Deeb with 3,197.65.
Zack made his name in poker destroying Live at the Bike games, but is clearly now one of the best tournament players in the world. At the 2022 World Series of Poker, he won two bracelets ($10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better Championship and the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – he now has three total), made two other final tables, and cashes a total of 16 times. He has also made it to Day 2 in the Tournament of Champions.
Two other players were double bracelet winners this year. Lawrence Brandt won $3,000 HORSE and $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better and Espen Jorstad won the $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em event with Patrick Leonard and, of course, the $10,000 Main Event.
Winning the WSOP Player of the Year award is something poker players generally have to set out to accomplish, as it almost always requires entering loads of tournaments. And sure enough, the POY was one of Dan Zack’s goals.
“It means a lot, I set a goal three years ago that I really wanted to try to win it before I left poker, and this is the third series I’ve tried,” he told PokerNews.
That little “before I left poker” was certain to raise eyebrows, so PokerNews asked him to elaborate. Zack explained that he is getting married next year and plans to start a family, so spending so much time grinding out a living a the poker tables isn’t something he wants to do.
Speaking about how chasing the POY award requires lots of tournament entries, Zack admitted that “you lose some EV chasing it.” What he means is that if you were aiming to give yourself the best chance at a high return on investment, you would only enter tournaments that played to your strengths and would make sure you got plenty of rest. With a POY grind, you can’t pick and choose as much and often enter events that aren’t necessarily your strong suit or are at a time when you could use a break.
In a fun bit of related WSOP trivia, according to Ryan O’Leary, Dan Zack is third place in the “Player of the Decade” race, taking into account all points earned from 2013 to 2022. Shaun Deeb is first by a mile and Daniel Negreanu is second.
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