A week ago, I wrote an article lamenting Chris Ferguson’s presence near the top of the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year leader board. He is down to third from the second spot he was in at the time I wrote it, but he is still dangerously close to the number one spot. In the piece, I mentioned that multitude of cashes, while really nice in and of themselves, are not really all that impressive as far as cashes go and thus “shines a light on what may be a weakness of the scoring system.”
Apparently, great minds think alike, as Poker Hall of Famer and the man in seventh on the WSOP POY list, Daniel Negreanu, is right there with me. But unlike me, “Kid Poker” knows a thing or two about poker, so he actually has some concrete ideas of how to revamp the Player of the Year scoring.
In his blog on Full Contact Poker, Negreanu listed five adjustments he would like to make to the POY system, starting with the number of cashes that should be counted. He finds it lame that players who have the time and money to enter 40, 50, or 60 events have a massive advantage, as if they are decent enough players, they are bound to cash in 20-25 percent of them and even if the cashes are small, they will score enough points to threaten for the POY title.
Instead, Negreanu says, only a player’s best eight cashes should count, which would level the playing field a bit and make deep runs more significant in the scoring.
His second thought is about the scoring itself. Negreanu feels that there is not a wide enough spread in points between the winner of an event and a min-casher. “In a 600 player field, the current system rewarded the winner the equivalent of 4 min cashes,” he wrote. “That’s not a good ratio.”
A better ration is 8-to-1, Negreanu said. Figure out how much of a win should be worth, set the min-cash boundary, then work out the numbers in between. He brainstormed something like 75 percent of first place points for second place, 65 percent for third, 60 percent for forth, and on down the line. Those figures sounded like they were just quick, back of the napkin work, and could certainly be adjusted.
Third, Negreanu thinks that the $10,000 championship events should be worth more points than lower buy-in tournaments because the fields are typically tougher.
Fourth, he said that the field size used in POY calculations should be capped at 8,000 so as not to overweight the Colossus, which attracts as many as 20,000 players. Now, based on the calculator on its website, it looks like the WSOP only directly counts the buy-in and prize money won in its scoring, but since field size affects what the prizes are, it is an indirect factor, so something might be able to be done to Negreanu’s liking.
Negreanu’s final suggestion is one which he says will be the most controversial, and that is if someone does not win a bracelet, that person cannot win Player of the Year.
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to require at least one win to be rewarded POY. In fact I think it adds a cool dynamic to the race,” he wrote. “You may have a points leader at the top without a bracelet who in the homestretch needs that win to win the title. Yes, I’m aware that this would exclude me from contention in the 2017 race, but it isn’t about me, it’s about a system that absolutely guarantees the ultimate winner will be deserving.”