WSOP Player of the Year
The World Series of Poker has officially named a Player of the Year since 2004, but similar awards were bestowed on Johnny Moss in 1970 (when he was voted the "best all-around player"
of the cash games that were played) and Johnny Hale and Chip Reese in 1980 and 1981 when they were named "Best All-Around Player".
With the number of events in the mid-thirties, the WSOP decided to use a formula based on how high they finished in tournaments. That lasted only a year. In fact, the WSOP Player of the Year formula has changed quite often through the years:
WSOP POY Formula Changes
- 2004: The WSOP Player of the Year race debuts, probably inspired by the WPT's award, which began the previous year. Each event earns the same number of points based only on the players' finish. The Main Event does not count.
- 2005: Players earn one point for each dollar in prize money they win.
- 2006: The new $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament is also excluded from the rankings.
- 2007: A new points system debuts but lacks any adjustment for the field size.
- 2008: The $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament starts counting.
- 2009: The Main Event becomes eligible again, although POY Lisandro fails to cash in it.
- 2010: Bluff Magazine takes over the ranking calculations.
- 2011: Field size and buyin become factors in the formula so larger fields and higher buyins are worth more. WSOP Europe events count for the first time after being ignored for four years.
- 2013: WSOP Asia-Pacific debuts and counts in the standings.
- 2015: The Global Poker Index takes over the ranking calculations.
- 2017: Kings Casino Rozvadov, host of the 2017 WSOP Europe takes over the ranking calculations and reverts to a fairly simple formula.
The point totals themselves thus can't be compared between years, although the relative margins of victory can be.
WSOP Player of the Year
|2004||Daniel Negreanu||0||Ted Forrest||0||0%|
|2005||Allen Cunningham||1,007,115||Mark Seif||799,950||25.9%|
|2006||Jeff Madsen||1,467,852||Phil Hellmuth||1,190,002||23.3%|
|2007||Tom Schneider||255||Jeff Lisandro||225||13.3%|
|2008||Erick Lindgren||245||Barry Greenstein||235||4.3%|
|2009||Jeff Lisandro||355||Ville Wahlbeck||320||10.9%|
|2010||Frank Kassela||290||Michael Mizrachi||240||20.8%|
|2011||Ben Lamb||909.05||Phil Hellmuth||755.25||20.4%|
|2012||Greg Merson||981.13||Phil Hellmuth||889.33||10.3%|
|2013||Daniel Negreanu||890.22||Matthew Ashton||665.75||33.7%|
|2014||George Danzer||923.50||Brandon Shack-Harris||806.70||14.5%|
|2015||Mike Gorodinsky||2,251.81||Jonathan Duhamel||2,175.64||3.5%|
|2016||Jason Mercier||2,195.57||Paul Volpe||1,923.66||14.1%|
|2017||Chris Ferguson||1,178.53||John Racener||1,042.04||13.1%|
|2018||Shaun Deeb||5,073.92||Ben Yu||3,746.04||35.4%|
|2019||Robert Campbell||3,961.31||Shaun Deeb||3,917.32||1.1%|
- Scores are unknown for 2004. [Zero placeholder in table allows numeric sorting.]
- Merson was the only POY to win the Main Event, and as a result, he also won the most money ($9,785,354), dwarfing Lamb's second-best total of $5,352,970. Negreanu (2004) won the least money ($346,280), a record that is unlikely to get broken.
- Lisandro and Danzer won the most bracelets, three.
- In 2006, Hellmuth was actually announced as the winner when he placed third for $53,945 in the very last $1,500 No-Limit Hold 'Em event of the summer. But the WSOP, which had already declared that the Main Event did not count in the standings, then said that the six tournaments that started after the Main Event didn't count either.
- In 2008, Lindgren's 4th place finish in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament, two spots better than Greenstein's, made the difference in the closest-ever POY race until then.
- In 2009, Lisandro failed to cash in the Main Event and had to hope that Wahlbeck didn't go deep (and indeed he busted on Day 3).
- The next three years came down to the Main Event Final Table. In 2010, Mizrachi needed to win the Main Event to tie Kassela but ended up placing fifth, two spots better than he started. In 2011, Lamb sealed WSOP POY honors with a third place finish in the Main Event, edging Hellmuth. In 2012, Merson needed to win the Main Event, which he did to leave Hellmuth second for a third time.
- The 2015 race was the closest until then, with Jonathan Duhamel losing by just 3.5%.
- In 2017, Ferguson cashed the most times, 23, crushing the record of ten previously shared by Negreanu (2013) and Danzer (2014)
- Shaun Deeb ran away with the 2018 award, finishing with a record 35.4% margin. Negreanu's margin of victory in 2013 was the second largest percentage-wise despite coming down to the final tournament of the year.
- The 2019 race came down to the final event of WSOP Europe, when Shaun Deeb had a great run to 11th place in the Colossus but needed 9th or better to pass Robert Campbell, who ended up winning the closest contest ever over Deeb. Daniel Negreanu was initially declared the winner (the first without a bracelet albeit with a record 24 cashes), but one of his results was later discovered to have been entered twice.
- Campbell reached the most final tables, six, one more than Negreanu (2004) and Danzer.
Multiple Top Ten Finishes
Bluff Magazine sponsored and tabulated the WSOP Player of the Year results from 2010 to 2014. In those five years, besides Hellmuth, four other players finished in the Top 10 twice: Daniel Negreanu (1st in 2013 and 5th in 2014), David "Bakes" Baker (4th in 2010 and 5th in 2013), Michael Mizrachi (2nd in 2010 and 6th in 2012), and Richard Ashby (8th in 2010 and 10th in 2014).
Going back to 2007 adds Jeff Lisandro (2nd in 2007 and 1st in 2009), Phil Ivey (3rd in 2009 and 5th in 2012), and Tom Schneider (1st in 2007 and 10th in 2013).
Going back to 2005 adds Allen Cunningham (1st in 2005 and 10th in 2006). Hellmuth also placed 2nd in 2006 and 5th in 2007. Ivey also finished 6th in 2005.
Lastly, to go back to the beginning, in 2004 Negreanu was the first WSOP Player of the Year, making him the only two-time winner. Unfortunately, the rest of the top ten for 2004 could not be tracked down (nor even the formula to calculate them).
Since 2015, the list has expanded to include Anthony Zinno (6th in 2015, 8th in 2018, and 4th in 2019), Chris Ferguson (9th in 2008 and 1st in 2017), David "ODB" Baker (7th in 2012 and 10th in 2019), and Shaun Deeb (3rd in 2015, 1st in 2018, and 3rd in 2019). Negreanu posted a record sixth Top 10 finish in 2019.