WSOP Makes POY Changes Aimed At Better Rewarding Winners

Martin Derbyshire April 17, 2018 2011 Reads
WSOP POY

The World Series of Poker Player of the Year formula came under heavy fire last year. Mostly because it almost made cashing in an event with a trending title and a massive field worth more than winning a bracelet.

Now, the organization has announced an updated and improved Player of the Year formula for 2018. One it says is aimed at better rewarding bracelet winners and players who run deep, while still rewarding consistency.

The changes have been made in response to player feedback, which was overwhelmingly negative in 2017.

From Bluff to King’s

The former Bluff Magazine had been the title sponsor of the award previously. It used its own formula to determine the winner. There weren’t too many complaints about it. However, after Bluff owners Churchill Downs pulled the plug, Global Poker Index struck a deal to buy WSOP POY naming rights in 2015. Its formula was heavily criticized at first. However, when $50,000 Poker Players Championship winner Mike Gorodinsky won it, and multiple bracelet winner Jason Mercier followed that up in 2016, the critics were largely silenced.

Global Poker Index was outbid by the Czech Republic’s King’s Casino in 2017 and a new formula emerged. It clearly favored consistent cashing over winning. Players didn’t like it and were quite vocal about it, leading to this year’s changes.

According to the WSOP, the new formula is loosely based on the points system used on the WSOP Circuit.

As usual, the buy-in level and the number of entries in an event will have an impact on the POY points players can earn. However, there will be a big difference between the points awarded for a win versus the points awarded for a min-cash.

In 2017, the ratio of points awarded for a win versus points awarded for a min-cash in the Main Event was 8.16:1. The ratio also varied for different events. In 2018, the WSOP says the ratio will always be around 20:1.

Full Tilt’s Ferguson still wins

In 2017, the much-maligned former Full Tilt Poker co-founder and board member Chris Ferguson won WSOP POY honors. He notched a record 17 WSOP cashes in Las Vegas, including two final table appearances. Ferguson led the WSOP Player of the Year race heading into the 11-bracelet 2017 WSOP Europe schedule at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Then, he all but locked up the award, winning the 92-entry 2017 WSOP Europe €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better event.

2010 WSOP Main Event runner-up John Racener still had a shot at catching Ferguson going into the WSOPE Main Event. However, when he busted early, the title went to Ferguson.

According to the WSOP, Ferguson still would have won the title under its updated and improved formula for this year. However, it is quite likely to change who the contenders are.

Last year, part way through the series, David Bach was 35th in the POY standings despite winning the $1,500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed event and the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship. Changes to the ratio of points awarded for a win versus points awarded for a min-cash in this year’s formula should prevent something like that from happening again.

WSOP POY changes make sense

It’s a change that makes sense and should appeal to the players who heavily criticized the formula in 2017. However, the poker community will have to wait until November to really see how it all works out.

Once again, the WSOP POY race will include events at the WSOP at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas May 29 to July 17 and WSOP Europe at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic October 11 to November 2.

Some multi-flight events offer players the opportunity to cash more than once. However, players can only earn POY points once for each event.

Additionally, the following events are excluded:

  • $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em Event #1
  • $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Event #32
  • Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Event #36
  • $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em Event #55
  • $1,000/$10,000 Ladies Event Event #57
  • $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop Event #78

Plus, additional events may be excluded after the full WSOP Europe schedule is announced.

In any event, the race starts on or about May 29 and it should be an exciting one that rewards winning much more than it did last year. A move that seems in line with what the poker community has always valued first and foremost.

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