The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year contest is always exciting. The past two years, we’ve not only had to wait until the November Nine to determine a winner, we’ve witnessed a back and forth transatlantic competition as players who fared well in Vegas set out to WSOP Europe to battle for points and earn that spot on a banner at the Rio.
This year, the WSOP Player of the Year race is genuinely a year-long affair, as the introduction of the Asia Pacific series offers players a third opportunity to pick up points. Using the same formula powered by BLUFF Magazine, the POY contest allows players in all open bracelet events to earn points towards the honor. WSOP APAC Main Event Champion Daniel Negreanu is already setting his sights on POY, a title he already knows a little bit about. In 2004, Negreanu became the first-ever WSOP Player of the Year after a summer that saw him win a bracelet, final table four other events, and rack up almost $350,000 in earnings. Since then, no one has ever won the Player of the Year honors twice. Negreanu has a chance to do just that.
With both a win in the Main Event and a final table appearance in the AU$2,200 Mixed Game event, he’s already surpassed his earnings mark for 2004 and he also currently holds a comfortable lead in the early stages of this year’s contest. Negreanu has 408.4 points, while Main Event runner-up Daniel Marton sits in second with 252.
The rest of the top ten includes bracelet winners like Bryan Piccioli (3rd), Aaron Lim (5th), and Jim Collopy (9th), but also include several of the Main Event final tablists as well as Jonathan Karamalikis, who posted two deep runs at APAC, taking second in Event 1 and 13th in the six-handed event.
Those looking to POY chase in Vegas need not fear about the head start of these APAC players though. Only Negreanu and Marton managed to finish the series with more than 200 points. To put that number in contrast, each bracelet winner is guaranteed a minimum of 100 points and the Main Event Champion is guaranteed 500, which means Negreanu can’t exactly take the rest of the year off if he wants to hold on to the top spot.
Last year, the reigning Player of the Year, Greg Merson, needed to win the Main Event to earn enough points to pass Phil Hellmuth, whose victory in the WSOPE Main Event pushed his points total to 889.33. Merson did win and his 2012 performance ended up earning him 981.13 points.
With more points up for grabs in this year’s contest, it is certainly possible we will see the eventual winner crack 1,000 points. Who that eventual winner will be is still a long way from being determined, but the race is just 36 days away from heating up again in Las Vegas.
Here is a look at the current top ten in the 2013 WSOP Player of the Year race. A complete list of the standings is available on BLUFF.com:
1. Daniel Negreanu - 408.40
2. Daniel Marton - 252.00
3. Bryan Piccioli - 190.00
4. Winfred Yu - 180.00
5. Aaron Lim - 162.50
6. George Tsatsis - 158.40
7. Jonathan Karamalikis - 141.13
8. Kahle Burns - 136.80
9. James Collopy - 130.00
10. Benny Spindler - 118.80