Although we are only a few weeks into the 2018 World Series of Poker, there is a battle brewing for the prestigious WSOP Player of the Year race. Leading the way, perhaps natural after the change to the tabulation system, are two 2018 bracelet winners, with one pulling out an edge due to his performance in other events.
After complaints last year that there was too much credence given to simply making the money and not enough given to those that win tournaments (eventual 2017 POY Chris Ferguson was driven more by the 23 cashes he rang up than the one bracelet he won), the WSOP changed the tabulation system to give more points for taking down championships. The results of this are that the top slots are held mainly by those who have earned a bracelet in 2018. With the 72 events on the schedule in Las Vegas and the 10 events comprising the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe (to be contested later this year), the battle is just beginning.
Atop the WSOP POY leaderboard at this moment is the winner of Event #2, Elio Fox. Fox took his second bracelet of his career in the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty event on May 30, where he defeated Adam Adler for the title. What has given the edge to Fox in the overall POY was his performance in the $100,000 High Roller event, when he finished second to Nick Petrangelo. Along with a 92nd place finish in the “Millionaire Maker,” Fox has put together 2010.14 points to lead the way.
He won his fifth bracelet on Friday, but John Hennigan also received enough points in that tournament to catapult his way into second place in the POY race. Hennigan, the victor of the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, earned slightly more than 1000 points for his win (along with the fifth bracelet and over $414K in prize money). He also has two other deep finishes in Event #23 ($10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball Draw) and Event #12 ($1500 Six Handed Dealer’s Choice) that have provided him with 1727.27 points.
The youngest man to ever win the WSOP Championship Event, 2009 World Champion Joe Cada, picked up his third bracelet during the first week of the 2018 WSOP. In winning the $3000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout, Cada was right behind Fox in the early going. While he has been able to pick up four more cashes already during the run of the 2018 WSOP, none have been particularly deep. Thus, he’ll have to be happy with his current third place status on the POY leaderboard with 1692.71 points and look to move up in the coming weeks.
Paul Volpe may have only four cashes to this mark in the 2018 WSOP, but he has made the most of them. The winner of Event #9, the $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better Championship, Volpe has finished no lower than fifteenth place in his cashes. He is barely eked out by Cada for third place, but his 1671.3 points have him firmly ensconced in fourth place.
The “Millionaire Maker” champion pulls into the fifth place slot on the 2018 WSOP POY standings. Germany’s Arne Kern has only three cashes in his WSOP career, but his win on June 9 earned him more than $1.1 million and one of poker’s greatest treasures. It also gave him 1322.5 points, a huge portion of his fifth place holding 1332.47-point total. Rounding out the Top Ten on the WSOP POY list are Petrangelo (1269.75 points, sixth place), COLOSSUS champion Roberly Felicio (1264.46, seventh), Craig Varnell (1194.63, eighth), Michael Addamo (1183.92, ninth) and Adam Friedman (1162.4, tenth).
It is still VERY early in the schedule for anyone to get comfortable in their slots. There are still roughly 50 events left on the Las Vegas schedule and the WSOP-E to contend with. But a good start – such as what these players have put together – is important for determining if chasing the WSOP Player of the Year award will be worthwhile or not.