How Will New Player of the Year Scoring Affect the Players?

What is Player of the Year Award?

Every year in WSOP, there is a leaderboard for the Player of The Year, and all the top regulars try to win it. Besides getting recognition and prestige, the award’s winner also gets buy-in for next year’s WSOP Main Event, a custom trophy, and a personalized banner.

The old scoring system benefited players who played the most bracelet events and had deep runs. This year, WSOP decided to change the system and score only the top ten results in bracelet events. Winning a big-field, high-buy-in tournament will earn you the most points. Players will also have to earn a minimum of five cashes to participate, and only one online cash will count.

Who Will Benefit From the Change?

In the long run, the players with higher skill will achieve more deep runs, and players who pick out their spots wisely and table-select for softer/bigger fields will have a good chance to earn the most points and climb the POY leaderboard. This will also allow players competing for the POY award to take more time off without losing their rank to players who grind all the events.

One of the controversial POY award winners was Chris Ferguson in 2017, when he won the award with 23 cashes and only two top-four finishes with one bracelet win. So, with this new ruling, players who played a lot of events and were min-cashing will not be able to win the award without big scores.

Last Year’s Winner

Ian Matakis won the POY award last year cashing 13 times in live WSOP events and nine times in online events. That caused some players, like Mike Matusow, to dispute his win. Matakis won his only WSOP bracelet in $500 No-Limit Hold’em Bankroll Builder Online event for $120,686.

Other players like Sean Deeb defended Matakis and argued that Matusaw was attacking him because he wasn’t a highly known player. Sean tweeted: “Shut the fuck up mike if it was me winning poy with his results from online+live you wouldn’t say shit he’s a elite player from what I’ve seen and will be considered a top player if he stays in the game”

If we used the new Player of the Year ruling, neither Matakis nor Deeb would win. Third place finisher Christopher Brewer would beat both of them, and even Phil Hellmuth, who finished in 10th place in the 2023 POY leaderboard would be ahead.

2018 WSOP Player of the Year Controversy

In a surprising twist, Robert Campbell emerged as the victor of the 2019 World Series of Poker Player of the Year award. Initially, Daniel Negreanu was mistakenly awarded the prestigious title, but WSOP rectified the error upon discovering that Negreanu’s score was miscalculated. The mistake stemmed from Negreanu being incorrectly credited with a cash prize in the $1,000 Online No-Limit Hold’em Championship event for finishing in 36th place, which wasn’t in the money or giving any POY points. This oversight ultimately led to Campbell claiming the Player of the Year award.

Daniel Negreanu has long been an outspoken critic of the criteria used to determine the POY award, both in the past and present. His dissatisfaction with the system has been evident in public statements and even in a detailed blog post on Full Contact Poker dating back to 2018. In his blog, Negreanu laid out specific suggestions for reforming the award criteria. These suggestions included restricting cashes to the top eight performers, implementing a minimum cash-to-win ratio of 8:1, assigning higher value to $10K buy-in events, capping field sizes at 8,000, and emphasizing the importance of winning a bracelet in a given year.

Last 10 WSOP Player of the Year Winners

YearNameBraceletsFinal TablesCashesEarnings
2023Ian Matakis1622$881,052
2022Daniel Zack2417$1,460,427
2021Josh Arieh2612$1,198,416
2019Robert Campbell2613$743,377
2018Shaun Deeb2520$2,534,511
2017Chris Ferguson1423$428,423
2016Jason Mercier2411$960,424
2015Mike Gorodinsky138$1,766,796
2014George Danzer3510$878,993
2013Daniel Negreanu2410$2,214,304
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