WSOP Player Of The Year Race Is Quickly Becoming A Mess And A PR Debacle

June 23, 2017
WSOP Player Of The Year Race Is Quickly Becoming A Mess And A PR Debacle


The World Series of Poker Player of the Year formula appears to be drawing all kinds of attention. Only it’s not the kind the WSOP or its new sponsor had been hoping for.

It appears people are having trouble with the fact that half way through the 2017 WSOP, the only two-time bracelet winner sits 35th in the POY standings.

In the Bach of the pack

Despite winning the $1,500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed event and the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, as of June 23, that’s exactly where David Bach stood.

In contrast, Canadian Mike Leah hasn’t won anything. However, he’s currently second in the race. Leah did make a final table, finishing seventh in the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship. However, his POY points have really been earned by his volume of cashes so far, in addition to the events they’ve come in.

None were bigger than the $31,903 he earned at the Lowball Championship final table. However, Leah has had an outstanding nine cashes so far. Plus, he’s managed to cash in some of the gimmicky big-field events. This includes the $565 COLOSSUS III, the $2,620 MARATHON, the $1,000 Super Turbo BOUNTY, and the $565 Pot-Limit Omaha, aka the PLOlossus.

From the looks of it, cashing in an event with a trending title and a massive field is worth more than winning a bracelet. That’s particularly true in the championship level events, where the fields are elite, but small.

Obst legitimately leads

Nobody is going to argue that current WSOP POY leader James Obst doesn’t deserve to be sitting on top right now. After all, the Aussie has earned a bracelet and has a runner-up finish, alongside a total of six cashes. In fact, he’s made two final tables and barely missed another two. Obst has proved he’s playing as well and running as hot as anybody in the Las Vegas, Nevada tournament series right now.

However, this year’s new POY formula has a lot of people questioning its legitimacy. In fact, you can count Daniel Negreanu among them. He’s has had seven cashes and made three final tables so far, but has been publicly questioning why he isn’t higher than fifth.

Bluff Magazine sponsored the award for a few years. It used its own formula to determine the winner. There were few if any complaints about the outcome.

The Global Poker Index struck a deal to buy the naming rights from Caesars in 2015. It started using its own formula. There were some critics at first. Then $50,000 Poker Players Championship winner Mike Gorodinsky took it home that first year. A year later, multiple bracelet winner Jason Mercier grabbed POY, and the critics were silenced.

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WSOP POY has a new King

Now the bull to the poker industry’s china shop has written the check this year. In fact, the Czech Republic’s King’s Casino, which has literally come from out of nowhere to become the de facto home of poker in Europe, and the future home of WSOP Europe, is now sponsoring the award. They’ve even gone as far as to offer a 2017 WSOP Europe Main Event seat to the leader after the Las Vegas series is through, and a 2018 WSOP Main Event seat to the overall winner once it’s over.

However, what they’ve failed to do is create a formula players think is fair, and one that won’t turn into a public relations nightmare for them half of the way through.

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