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Card Player Player of the Year: Jake Schindler

[SS] “Happy New Year!” Stan the Stat greeted.

[LL] “Happy 2019!” Leroy the Lion returned.

[RR] “Ready to ring in the new year with some poker?” Roderick the Rock inquired.

[SS] “Not quite. It’s time to wrap up last year first.”

[LL] “Player of the Year?”

[SS] “Yes, there were some amazing performance in 2018! Justin Bonomo set an all-time record with ten titles and $25,295,441 in winnings and finished… fifth!”

[RR] “Wow!”

[SS] “David Peters also broke the previous record but ended three behind Bonomo.

Three players would have set the record for most final tables any other year: Stephen Chidwick, Rainer Kempe, and Peters each made 26 final tables! And any other year, Chidwick would hold the record for points, having topped Daniel Negreanu’s 14-year-old record.

But in 2018 none of those were good enough, as Jake Schindler reached an astonishing 31 final tables and collected 9,407 points for the crown. Congratulations to both Schindler and Bonomo on their incredible years!”

Card Player Player of the Year – 1997 to 2003

Year Winner
1997 Men Nguyen
1998 T.J. Cloutier
1999 Tony Ma
2000 David Pham
2001 Men Nguyen
2002 T.J. Cloutier
2003 Men Nguyen

Card Player Player of the Year – 2004 to Present

Year Winner Points Runner-Up Points Margin
2004 Daniel Negreanu 8,764 David Pham 7,068 19.4%
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 John Phan 4,428 14.9%
2006 Michael Mizrachi 5,989 Nam Le 5,215 12.9%
2007 David Pham 6,562 J.C. Tran 5,748 12.4%
2008 John Phan 6,704 David Pham 6,022 10.2%
2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 Cornel Cimpan 5,934 15.2%
2010 Tom Marchese 6,738 Dwyte Pilgrim 5,576 17.2%
2011 Ben Lamb 6,036 Chris Moorman 5,875 2.7%
2012 Greg Merson 5,100 Dan Smith 5,040 1.2%
2013 Daniel Negreanu 5,140 Paul Volpe 4,298 16.4%
2014 Daniel Colman 5,498 Ami Barer 5,042 8.3%
2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 Joe Kuether 6,070 8.5%
2016 David Peters 8,601 Fedor Holz 7,058 17.9%
2017 Adrian Mateos 7,220 Bryn Kenney 7,173 0.7%
2018 Jake Schindler 9,407 Stephen Chidwick 8,845 6.0%

Notes:

  • Men Nguyen won the award a record four times (1997, 2001, 2003, and 2005).
  • T.J. Cloutier (1998 and 2002), David Pham (2000 and 2007), and Daniel Negreanu (2004 and 2013) have won twice each.
  • Negreanu outpointed second place by the largest (2004) and third largest (2013) margins. Merson (2012) eked by with the smallest margin. Mateos edged Kenney by a mere 47 points (0.7%) for the 2017 crown. Fedor Holz finished third for a second consecutive medal finish.

Here are the all-time records for Points, Titles, and Final Tables with data going back to the rule changes of 2004.

Most Player of the Year Points

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2018 Jake Schindler 9,407 6 31 $8,731,019
2 2018 Stephen Chidwick 8,845 5 26 $9,950,805
3 2004 Daniel Negreanu 8,764 4 11 $4,420,221
4 2016 David Peters 8,601 5 22 $7,370,255
5 2018 Alex Foxen 8,259 5 18 $6,606,037
6 2018 David Peters 8,059 7 26 $10,598,504
7 2018 Justin Bonomo 7,752 10 23 $25,295,441
8 2017 Adrian Mateos 7,220 4 22 $5,664,635
9 2017 Bryn Kenney 7,173 5 23 $8,201,128
10 2004 David Pham 7,068 5 15 $1,533,268

Notes:

  • David Peters and Justin Bonomo became the first players to finish in the Top 10 in a season four times. David Pham was the first player to finish in the Top 10 three times way back in 2008. Jason Mercier matched him in 2015, Bonomo and Peters in 2016, and Schindler in 2018.
  • Erik Seidel, Jason Mercier, Joseph Mckeehen, and David Peters are the only players to finish in the Top 25 five times. Phan, Dan Smith, Daniel Negreanu, J.C. Tran, John Juanda, Steve O’Dwyer, Erick Lindgren, Nick Petrangelo, and Schindler have each done it four times. Mckeehen has the record with five straight, one ahead of Tran and Petrangelo (both Mckeehen’s and Petrangelo’s streaks are alive).
  • Vanessa Selbst is the only women to finish in the Top 25, which she had done three times with two Top 10 finishes before retiring at the start of 2018.

Most Titles

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2018 Justin Bonomo 7,752 10 23 $25,295,441
2 2018 David Peters 8,059 7 26 $10,598,504
3 2018 Jake Schindler 9,407 6 31 $8,731,019
2018 Rainer Kempe 5,924 26 $5,464,179
2018 Sam Soverel 3,355 18 $2,522,258
2005 John Hoang 3,267 17 $492,817
2018 Sean H. Yu 1,206 13 $190,027
2008 Men Nguyen 3,662 10 $776,832
2012 Dan Smith 5,040 9 $3,673,806
2018 David Brookshire 1,758 9 $284,817

Notes:

  • With another increase in tournaments to choose from, the Top 10 was rewritten this year with seven 2018 results, including a new leader and runner-up.

Most Final Tables

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2018 Jake Schindler 9,407 6 31 $8,731,019
2 2018 Stephen Chidwick 8,845 5 26 $9,950,805
2018 David Peters 8,059 7 $10,598,504
2018 Rainer Kempe 5,924 6 $5,464,179
5 2018 Justin Bonomo 7,752 10 23 $25,295,441
2017 Bryn Kenney 7,173 5 $8,201,128
7 2016 David Peters 8,601 5 22 $7,370,255
2017 Adrian Mateos 7,220 4 $5,664,635
2004 Gioi Luong 5,006 4 $504,004
10 2018 Adrian Mateos 6,477 3 21 $4,844,609

Notes:

  • Like the previous two lists, 2018 obliterated the old standings with six new entries including the top four.
  • Luong topped this list from 2004 until 2016 but is hardly a household name. The Californian has never won a WSOP bracelet, and his biggest cash was $290,792 for a runner-up finish in a WSOP circuit event in 2007.

Highest Earnings

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2018 Justin Bonomo 7,752 10 23 $25,295,441
2 2014 Daniel Colman 5,498 4 8 $22,319,279
3 2012 Antonio Esfandiari 3,330 2 4 $18,992,281
4 2016 Fedor Holz 7,058 6 15 $16,288,714
5 2018 Mikita Badziakouski 4,926 5 11 $14,594,839
6 2018 Jason Koon 5,827 3 16 $12,404,918
7 2014 Martin Jacobson 4,148 2 5 $10,677,589
8 2018 David Peters 8,059 7 26 $10,598,504
9 2018 Stephen Chidwick 8,845 5 26 $9,950,805
10 2012 Greg Merson 5,100 2 2 $9,664,179

Notes:

  • Before 2018, this list was entirely composed of Big One for One Drop winners (Colman and Esfandiari) and World Series of Poker Main Event during champions (everyone else). With the proliferation of High Roller events, 2018 added five players from neither category, including Bonomo at the top. Peter Eastgate, Jonathan Duhamel, Pius Heinz are next three on the list.3

Footnotes:

  1. In 2012, Greg Merson beat Dan Smith by 60 points (5,100 to 5,040) for a 1.18% margin, while Mateos overcame Kenney by just 57 points and a mere 0.65%.
  2. Mateos first made a name for himself by winning the 2013 WSOP Europe Main Event in 2013 when he was just 19.
  3. Jamie Gold is notably missing from the list because it was one of the years where the WSOP Main Event didn’t count toward the standings.
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2018 WSOP Wrapup

[RR] “Other than the Main Event champion, what was the biggest news of this year’s World Series of Poker?” Roderick the Rock inquired.

[SS] “Phil Hellmuth won his record 15th bracelet in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold ‘Em turbo”, Stan the Stat responded. “He’s now an impressive five ahead of Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Ivey. Ivey returned with four cashes, so the race isn’t over yet, but Hellmuth is so far ahead of the next active player, that nobody else is likely to catch him for a long time. Erik Seidel has eight bracelets, but none in over decade. Daniel Negreanu is active enough but has just six (Jeff Lisandro may be a better bet, also at six).”

[LL] “Hellmuth will play every single event if anyone starts closing in”, Leroy the Lion chipped in. “I wouldn’t count Ivey out, but only if he realizes that bracelets will add more to his legacy than any amount of high stakes cash game winnings ever could.”

[SS] “Hellmuth’s bracelet was also his fourth in the 2010’s, tied for the lead with George Danzer (who got to four first in 2016), Jason Mercier (who tied him later that year), Brian Hastings and Brian Rast (who each won one bracelet this year), and Joe Cada and Shaun Deeb (the two double-bracelet winners this year). Impressively, Hellmuth has 11 bracelets in other decades while those other six have combined for just 1 (Mercier in 2009).

There hadn’t been a double-bracelet winner by the time the Main Event started, but the Main Event had been moved up a couple of weeks, and Deeb, Cada, and Justin Bonomo all pulled it off in the remaining 13 events. Cada jumped into The Closer,1 just two days after his 5th place Main Event finish, while Bonomo, who’s on a tear this year, captured the Big One for One Drop for ten million dollars to leap from third in the career tournament earnings list to first over Negreanu and Seidel.

[RR] “How did the women do?”

[SS] “No female won a solo, open event, but Nikita Luther took down the $1,000 Tag Team event, splitting $175,805 with her teammate Giuseppe Pantaleo. She was just the third Israeli to win a bracelet, and not surprisingly, the first female.

And Fahrintaj Bonyadi won the Super Seniors at age 83. She was a whopping 23 years above the eligibility cutoff, and she and her son Farzad Bonyadi became the first mother and son to win bracelets.

The highest finishing female in a solo, open event was Kate Hoang, who was the runner up to Julien Martini in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better for $148,150. Katherine Fleck was third in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud, while Carol Fuchs, who won the $1,500 Dealers Choice Six Handed in 2015, was third in the Mixed $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better.

[LL] “Vanessa Selbst probably would have won at least one bracelet if she hadn’t retired.”

[SS] “Certainly possible. There were a record 78 events, producing a record 79 winners from 18 different countries:”

# Country
56 U.S.
3 Germany
2 Canada, England, France, Russia
1 Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Columbia, India, Israel, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Spain

Footnotes:

  1. Despite its name, “The Closer” was only the second to last event to finish, with the Big One for One Drop starting and ending last.
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2018 WSOP Main Event Winner – John Cynn

[SS] “Truly epic Main Event this year!” Stan the Stat gushed.

[LL] “The second most players ever, an outrageous final table bubble burst, a former champion (Joe Cada) and a former 11th place finisher (John Cynn) at the final table, which ends up being the longest ever, and a fantastic heads-up duel lasting until almost 5 a.m.!” Leroy the Lion agreed.

[SS] “Yes, the 7,874 players was behind only the 8,773 in 2006, in the midst of the poker explosion.”

[RR] “Do you think we’ll break that record soon?” Roderick the Rock wondered.

[SS] “Certainly. With the legalization of sports gambling, online poker is sure to follow and spread to more U.S. states. That will lead to more entrants over the next few years from more people playing in general and more Main Event satellites.”

[LL] “Main Events like this one will help, too! The three-way, double-all-in hand to set the final table was almost unbelievable. Nicolas Manion leaps into the chip lead over Michael Dyer, Antoine Labat is fairly crippled, and Yueqi Zhu exits in tenth place when he and Labat both woke up with Kings only to run into Manion’s Pocket Rockets. The only way that could have been more exciting was if the Aces had been cracked by a flush or straight.”

[SS] “And perhaps fittingly, Manion couldn’t hold on to those chips, ending up in fourth place.1 Michael Dyer, who held a dominating lead before the final table and again with six players remaining, barely outlasted him, finishing third, while Cynn made up most of his deficit to Tony Miles. Heads up is where the real fun began.”

[LL] “Yeah, Miles and Cynn were pretty evenly matched, although I really liked the way Cynn had been playing for the whole final table.”

[SS] “And continued to play. Other than getting bluffed off the championship-clinching hand at one point, I didn’t think he made any major mistakes. The final table ended up lasting a record 442 hands, with heads up going a record 199 hands and 10 hours, partly because Miles saved match point when Cynn folded a weak two pairs to his bluff way back at 8:30 p.m. The chip lead switched numerous times, but Cynn never seemed to be in serious trouble. The one time Miles had a chance to gain a 3-to-1 chip lead, he couldn’t find a river call with just fourth pair, although it turns out he had Cynn outkicked.

Finally, Cynn flopped three Kings and let Miles bluff off his remaining chips on the turn. Cynn took a while2 before making the correct call and had Miles drawing dead.”

[LL] “Congrats to Cynn for making this the year of Cynn City!”3

[SS] “A Cynntillating performance.”

[RR] “Truly Cynnsensational!”

2018 World Series of Poker Main Event Summary

Dates 7/2/2018 to 7/15/2018
Players 7,874 (1,182 cashed)
Winner John Cynn ($8,800,000, U.S.)
Runner-Up Tony Miles ($5,000,000)
Final Table Bubble Boy Yueqi Zhu (10th, $850,025)
Money Bubble Boy Matthew Hopkins (1,183rd)
Last Former Champ Standing Joe Cada (5th, $2,150,000)
Last Woman Standing Kelly Minkin (50th, $156,265)
Last Celebrity Standing Ray Romano (did not cash)
In 52 Characters or Less Cynn City! Indianan goes 10 places better than 2016.

Footnotes:

  1. Antoine Labat, who started the final table last in chips, was 9th. Artem Metalidi also did not improve his position and ended 8th. Alex Lynskey barely played a hand and exited in 7th (from 5th), allowing Aram Zobian (6th) and Joe Cada (5th) each to slide up one place.
  2. There was a small controversy, when Miles accused Cynn of slowrolling, but Miles later apologized. Cynn’s three Kings were far from the nuts, losing to King-Queen, Ace-King, and various full houses.
  3. Norman Chad said this phrase during the broadcast, although he certainly wasn’t the first to use it.

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2018 WSOP Schedule


[SS] “The World Series of Poker just keeps on growing”, Stan the Stat related. “They added four events to bring the new record to 78; should hit triple digits around 2022.”

[LL] “What’s new?” Leroy the Lion asked.

[SS] “Big blind antes. Doesn’t affect the mix of events, but it’s an efficient way of implementing antes.”

[LL] “The person in the big blind gets hammered though as he has to ante for everyone.”

[SS] “But it’s completely fair, since that same person avoided paying the ante in every other position.”

[RR] “Carlos the Crazy used to have antes in his home tourneys,” Roderick the Rock recalled, “and I hated them becasue they really slowed things down. This is a terrific solution.”

[SS] “They’re implementing it in just eight Hold ‘Em events this year, but I expect big blind antes will be standard as soon as next year.”

[LL] “And not just at the WSOP… Good stuff, but I was actually wondering what the four new tournaments are.”

[SS] “They added a Hold ‘Em and three Omaha events.”1

WSOP Event Comparison: 2017 vs. 2018

By Game Type:

Game Type 2017 2018 Change
Hold ‘Em 42 43 +1
Lowball 6 6 0
Omaha 11 14 +3
Stud 4 4 0
Mixed Games 11 11 0

By Limit Type:

Limit Type 2017 2018 Change
Limit 17 15 -2
Pot Limit 11 14 +3
No Limit 40 41 +1
Mixed Limit 6 8 +2

By Buyin:

Buyin 2017 2018 Change
$333 1 0 -1
$365 1 3 +2
$565 3 4 +1
$888 1 1 0
$1,000 11 10 -1
$1,111 0 1 +1
$1,500 24 24 0
$2,500 4 4 0
$2,620 1 1 0
$3,000 6 6 0
$3,200 0 1 +1
$3,333 1 0 -1
$5,000 3 3 0
$10,000 15 15 0
$25,000 1 1 0
$50,000 1 2 +1
$100,000 0 1 +1
$111,000 1 0 -1
$1,000,000 0 1 +1

[SS] “This year’s WSOP kicks off with the Casino Employees event on May 30 and ends with the million-dollar buyin Big One for One Drop that goes from July 15 to 17. The Main Event is expected to run from July 2 to 14.”

[LL] “Looking forward to it! Always exciting to see who’s going to win multiple bracelets.”

[SS] “And who’s going to break the record for most cashes.”

[RR] “And it would be great for poker if a famous pro and a woman reached the Main Event final table.”

{ June 24, 2018 Update: one Limit Hold ‘Em event had been incorrectly categorized as No-Limit. That change has been reflected in the limit table. }

Footnotes:

  1. The new events are the $50,000 No-Limit Hold ‘Em High Roller (Big Blind Antes), the $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller, the PLO GIANT – $365 Pot-Limit Omaha, the Mixed $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better; Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better; Big O (5-Card PLO/8), and the $565 WSOP.com ONLINE Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed. That’s actually five new events as one of the $1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em events was dropped. The $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop also returns to the WSOP, probably alternating with the High Roller for One Drop – $111,111 No-Limit Hold ‘Em. Some other buyins were slightly changed.

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Card Player Player of the Year: Adrian Mateos

[SS] “Happy New Year!” Stan the Stat exclaimed.

[LL] “More importantly, good riddance to 2017!” Leroy the Lion insisted.

[SS] “You said the same thing last year.”

[LL] “I didn’t expect 2017 to be so much worse than 2016.”

[SS] “Well, you may not have had a great year, but Spaniard Adrian Mateos, at a mere 23 years old, certainly did. As did American Bryn Kenney, whom he edged out for Card Player Player of the Year honors in the closest race ever.1 Kenney tied the record of 5 titles and set the record with 23 final tables, one more than Mateos, and even won a year-high $8,201,128, over $2.5 million more than Mateos, who notably became the first non-American to win the title.2

Kudos also to Fedor Holz who followed a runner-up finish last year with third place this year.”

Card Player Player of the Year – 1997 to 2003

Year Winner
1997 Men Nguyen
1998 T.J. Cloutier
1999 Tony Ma
2000 David Pham
2001 Men Nguyen
2002 T.J. Cloutier
2003 Men Nguyen

Card Player Player of the Year – 2004 to Present

Year Winner Points Runner-Up Points Margin
2004 Daniel Negreanu 8,764 David Pham 7,068 19.4%
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 John Phan 4,428 14.9%
2006 Michael Mizrachi 5,989 Nam Le 5,215 12.9%
2007 David Pham 6,562 J.C. Tran 5,748 12.4%
2008 John Phan 6,704 David Pham 6,022 10.2%
2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 Cornel Cimpan 5,934 15.2%
2010 Tom Marchese 6,738 Dwyte Pilgrim 5,576 17.2%
2011 Ben Lamb 6,036 Chris Moorman 5,875 2.7%
2012 Greg Merson 5,100 Dan Smith 5,040 1.2%
2013 Daniel Negreanu 5,140 Paul Volpe 4,298 16.4%
2014 Daniel Colman 5,498 Ami Barer 5,042 8.3%
2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 Joe Kuether 6,070 8.5%
2016 David Peters 8,601 Fedor Holz 7,058 17.9%
2017 Adrian Mateos 7,220 Bryn Kenney 7,173 0.7%

Notes:

  • Men Nguyen won the award a record four times (1997, 2001, 2003, and 2005).
  • T.J. Cloutier (1998 and 2002), David Pham (2000 and 2007), and Daniel Negreanu (2004 and 2013) have won twice each.
  • Negreanu outpointed second place by the largest (2004) and third largest (2013) margins. Merson (2012) eked by with the smallest margin. { January 4, 2018 update: Mateos edged Kenney by a mere 47 points (0.7%) for the 2017 crown. Fedor Holz finished third for a second consecutive medal finish. }

Here are the all-time records for Points, Titles, and Final Tables with data going back to the rule changes of 2004.

Most Player of the Year Points

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2004 Daniel Negreanu 8,764 4 11 $4,420,221
2 2016 David Peters 8,601 5 22 $7,370,255
3 2017 Adrian Mateos 7,220 4 22 $5,664,635
4 2017 Bryn Kenney 7,173 5 23 $8,201,128
5 2004 David Pham 7,068 5 15 $1,533,268
6 2016 Fedor Holz 7,058 6 15 $16,288,714
7 2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 4 17 $1,494,494
8 2010 Tom Marchese 6,738 2 11 $2,068,658
9 2008 John Phan 6,704 3 8 $2,075,323
10 2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 5 11 $3,442,769

Notes:

  • David Pham was the first player to finish in the Top 10 three times (2004 [2nd], 2007 [1st], and 2008 [1st]). Jason Mercier matched him in 2015 and Justin Bonomo and David Peters in 2016. Many players (16 through 2017) have done it twice.
  • Erik Seidel and Jason Mercier are the only players to finish in the Top 25 five times. Phan, Peters, Dan Smith, Daniel Negreanu, J.C. Tran, John Juanda, Steve O’Dwyer, Erick Lindgren, and Joseph Mckeehen have each done it four times.
  • Vanessa Selbst is the only women to finish in the Top 25, which she had done three times with two Top 10 finishes before retiring at the start of 2018.

Most Titles

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2005 John Hoang 3,267 6 17 $492,817
2008 Men Nguyen 3,662 10 $776,832
2012 Dan Smith 5,040 9 $3,673,806
4 2017 Bryn Kenney 7,173 5 23 $8,201,128
2016 David Peters 8,601 22 $7,370,255
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 17 $1,004,718
2004 David Pham 7,068 15 $1,533,268
2010 Dwyte Pilgrim 5,576 13 $1,074,997
2004 Can Kim Hua 4,495 12 $785,779
2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 11 $3,442,769
2014 Joseph Mckeehen 3,266 11 $1,223,852
2004 John Phan 3,080 10 $677,045
2009 Jason Mercier 4,130 9 $1,245,876

Most Final Tables

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2017 Bryn Kenney 7,173 5 23 $8,201,128
2 2016 David Peters 8,601 5 22 $7,370,255
2017 Adrian Mateos 7,220 $5,664,635
2004 Gioi Luong 5,006 $504,004
5 2004 John Cernuto 3,631 3 19 $460,789
6 2005 John Hoang 3,267 6 17 $492,817
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 5 $1,004,718
2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 4 $1,494,494
10 2010 Sorel Mizzi 4,851 4 16 $1,524,371

Notes:

  • Luong tops this list but is hardly a household name. The Californian has never won a WSOP bracelet, and his biggest cash was $290,792 for a runner-up finish in a WSOP circuit event in 2007.
  • While it seems obvious to have another list with the top ten in Winnings, it’s a rather uninteresting list topped by the 2014 and 2012 One Drop winners followed by eight WSOP Main Event champs.

Footnotes:

  1. In 2012, Greg Merson beat Dan Smith by 60 points (5,100 to 5,040) for a 1.18% margin, while Mateos overcame Kenney by just 57 points and a mere 0.65%.
  2. Mateos first made a name for himself by winning the 2013 WSOP Europe Main Event in 2013 when he was just 19.

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WSOP Player of the Year 2017 – Chris Ferguson


[SS] “Another year, another change to the World Series of Poker Player of the Year formula”, Stan the Stat complained.

[LL] “It only seems that way”, Leroy the Lion amended.

[SS] “You’re barely right, but the two-year gap between changes is actually tied for the longest since the award began in 2004.”

[RR] “And then some players will complain, and they’ll change it again”, Roderick the Rock contributed.

[SS] “Probably. Kings Casino Rozvadov, host of the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe in the Czech Republic for the first time, sponsored this year’s WSOP Player of the Year contest, so they replaced the Global Poker Index’s complex formula with their own new and fairly simple formula, making each cash worth:

	(prize/buyin)^(1/3) * (buyin)^(1/6) * 10

You know who’s not complaining? Chris Ferguson and John Racener, who broke the Las Vegas record for cashes in one World Series of Poker summer with 17.1 With the new formula possibly overweighting smaller cashes, they continued their battle across the pond into WSOP Europe, where Ferguson cashed another six times, two more than Racener. Jesus finally sealed the WSOP POY award when Racener exited on Day 2 of the WSOP Europe Main Event. Along the way, Ferguson won the 92-player €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better for his sixth career WSOP bracelet, ending a 14-year drought.2 He still finished with the least money ($436,343) since Tom Schneider won with just $416,829 in 2007.”

2017 WSOP Player of the Year Top Ten

Rank Player Points
1 Chris Ferguson 1,178.53
2 John Racener 1,042.04
3 Ryan Hughes 994.35
4 Mike Leah 910.01
5 John Monnette 865.21
6 Kenny Hallaert 838.35
7 Alex Foxen 833.45
8 Dario Sammartino 775.89
9 Raymond Henson 768.49
10 Ben Yu 766.49

[SS] “Ferguson also closed in on the 100-cash mark with 97, leaping to fourth on the career leaderboard behind only Phil Hellmuth (130), Daniel Negreanu (103), and Erik Seidel (101).”

[LL] “Wow, he’ll be #2 by the end of next summer if Negreanu and Seidel don’t rise to the challenge!”

Footnotes:

  1. Ferguson and Racener broke Roland Israelashvili’s year-old record of 16. Ferguson previously held the record of 8 from 2003 to 2008.
  2. As large as that 14-year gap is, it’s a decade shorter than Chip Reese’s record of 24 years and currently ranks only 7th.

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2017 WSOP Schedule


[SS] “I knew the World Series of Poker would go over 70 events this year,” Stan the Stat mentioned, “but I didn’t think it’d jump all the way to 74. That’s the largest increase since nine events were added in 2007.”

[LL] “It’s great to know that the poker economy is doing well”, Leroy the Lion remarked.

[SS] “Yes, although some of the new events are low buyin tournaments, so they’re also catering to poker players with smaller bankrolls. Because of that, it’s not surprising that No-Limit Hold ‘Em, the most popular game for casual players, accounts for most of the increase.1 Two of new events are online, so that’s an interesting trend.”

[LL] “I’ll bet the WSOP hopes those events do well; so much less overhead for them! If we could only get the laws changed, imagine how huge the WSOP could be if you could play from anywhere in the world instead of having to be in Nevada.”

[RR] “With 3D holograms of the players, so you could still read their body language!” Roderick the Rock suggested.

[SS] “Still many years off, unfortunately. The WSOP actually had great success at the other end of the social spectrum last year as well with the new team event. They’ve added a second one this year with a $10,000 buyin.”

[RR] “I wonder if that will attract mostly pro teams.”

[LL] “I would guess so. Lots of amateurs play in the $10,000 Main Event, but a good chunk of them satellite in. Since I don’t see this event having satellites, even $2,500 a head is going to deter most casual players.”

[SS] “The WSOP has those players covered, too. The new $333-buyin WSOP.com Online and $365-buyin Giant No-Limit Hold ‘Em events are the cheapest one-person open events in the history of the WSOP,2. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new record for field size.”3

[SS] “Oh, and one last piece of news… after an appropriate nine years, the November Nine is history. This year will have just a two day break after the Main Event final table is set, so the champion will be determined in July again.”

[LL] “Probably another result of ESPN’s cutbacks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the decision was mostly financially-related.”

[SS] “Undoubtedly. ESPN also sold coverage rights to Poker Central. This is great if you like to watch the WSOP almost live on a thirty-minute delay.”

WSOP Event Comparison: 2017 vs. 2016

By Game Type:

Game Type 2016 2017 Change
Hold ‘Em 38 42 +4
Lowball4 8 6 -1
Omaha 11 11 0
Stud 4 4 0
Mixed Games4 9 11 +2

By Limit Type:

Limit Type 2016 2017 Change
Limit 16 17 +1
Pot Limit 10 11 +1
No Limit 37 39 +2
Mixed Limit 6 7 +1

By Buyin:

Buyin 2016 2017 Change
$333 0 1 +1
$365 0 1 +1
$565 3 3 0
$888 1 1 0
$1,000 11 11 0
$1,111 1 0 -1
$1,500 23 24 +1
$2,000 1 0 -1
$2,500 3 4 +1
$2,620 0 1 +1
$3,000 7 6 -1
$3,333 0 1 +1
$5,000 3 3 0
$10,000 13 15 +2
$25,000 1 1 0
$50,000 1 1 0
$111,000 1 1 0

Footnotes:

  1. The total amount needed to play every event increased from $410,805 to $428,694, but the average buyin dropped from $5,954 to $5,793.
  2. The previous low for a single-person open event was $500, done many times. The 1977 Women’s Championship ($100) and the 1978 Women’s Championship ($200) remain the lowest buyin events ever.
  3. The largest event was the 2015 $565 Colossus, which attracted 22,374 players. See the top ten Biggest WSOP Fields.
  4. For this chart, Lowball events include Lowball, Deuce-to-Seven Draw/Triple Draw/Mixed Triple Draw, and Razz.

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{ June 9, 2017 update: There are 42 Hold ‘Em events and 8 Lowball events, not 43 and 7. }

{ April 24, 2018 update: amended to correct one mixed event that had been incorrectly categorized as a No Limit Hold ‘Em event. }

{ The Hold ‘Em at Home blog is brought to you by THETA Poker Pro, the strongest, fastest, and most configurable Texas Hold ‘Em game for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV. }

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Card Player Player of the Year: David Peters

[RR] “Happy 2017, guys!” Roderick the Rock greeted.

[LL] “More importantly, good riddance to 2016!” Leroy the Lion reflected.

[SS] “It wasn’t all bad,” Stan the Stat suggested, “and I know at least a couple people who didn’t want it to end too soon.

Fedor Holz had a year for the ages. His $16,288,714 in live tournament winnings were the third highest ever.1 In mid-December, Holz led the 2016 Card Player Player of the Year race by 157 points and would have been a worthy champion. But David Peters ended the year on a tear with a third place finish to pass the German and a win at the wire to ice the title.

Peters won less than half as much money (only $7,370,255), but the Player of the Year award isn’t just about the money. The Ohio native reached a record-tying 22 final tables,2 won five events,3 and amassed an impressive 8,601 points; Holz’s 7,058 points would have won the award every other year except 20044. Most of Peters’s points came from High Rollers (eight finishes worth over 100 points), but his third place finish in the EPT Prague €5,300 Main Event and victory in the WSOP $1,500 No-Limit Hold ‘Em were his two best results (over 1,000 points each).”

Card Player Player of the Year – 1997 to 2003

Year Winner
1997 Men Nguyen
1998 T.J. Cloutier
1999 Tony Ma
2000 David Pham
2001 Men Nguyen
2002 T.J. Cloutier
2003 Men Nguyen

Card Player Player of the Year – 2004 to Present

Year Winner Points Runner-Up Points Margin
2004 Daniel Negreanu 8,764 David Pham 7,068 19.4%
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 John Phan 4,428 14.9%
2006 Michael Mizrachi 5,989 Nam Le 5,215 12.9%
2007 David Pham 6,562 J.C. Tran 5,748 12.4%
2008 John Phan 6,704 David Pham 6,022 10.2%
2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 Cornel Cimpan 5,934 15.2%
2010 Tom Marchese 6,738 Dwyte Pilgrim 5,576 17.2%
2011 Ben Lamb 6,036 Chris Moorman 5,875 2.7%
2012 Greg Merson 5,100 Dan Smith 5,040 1.2%
2013 Daniel Negreanu 5,140 Paul Volpe 4,298 16.4%
2014 Daniel Colman 5,498 Ami Barer 5,042 8.3%
2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 Joe Kuether 6,070 8.5%
2016 David Peters 8,601 Fedor Holz 7,058 17.9%

Most Player of the Year Points5

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2004 Daniel Negreanu 8,764 4 11 $4,420,221
2 2016 David Peters 8,601 5 22 $7,370,255
3 2004 David Pham 7,068 5 15 $1,533,268
4 2016 Fedor Holz 7,058 6 15 $16,288,714
5 2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 4 17 $1,494,494
6 2010 Tom Marchese 6,738 2 11 $2,068,658
7 2008 John Phan 6,704 3 8 $2,075,323
8 2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 5 11 $3,442,769
9 2004 John Juanda 6,596 2 15 $1,204,389
10 2007 David Pham 6,562 4 11 $1,764,143

Most Titles5

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2005 John Hoang 3,267 6 17 $492,817
2008 Men Nguyen 3,662 10 $776,832
2012 Dan Smith 5,040 9 $3,673,806
4 2016 David Peters 8,601 5 22 $7,370,255
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 17 $1,004,718
2004 David Pham 7,068 15 $1,533,268
2010 Dwyte Pilgrim 5,576 13 $1,074,997
2004 Can Kim Hua 4,495 12 $785,779
2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 11 $3,442,769
2014 Joseph Mckeehen 3,266 11 $1,223,852
2004 John Phan 3,080 10 $677,045
2009 Jason Mercier 4,130 9 $1,245,876

Most Final Tables5

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2016 David Peters 8,601 5 22 $7,370,255
2004 Gioi Luong 5,006 4 $504,004
3 2004 John Cernuto 3,631 3 19 $460,789
4 2005 John Hoang 3,267 6 17 $492,817
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 5 $1,004,718
2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 4 $1,494,494
7 2010 Sorel Mizzi 4,851 4 16 $1,524,371
8 2004 David Pham 7,068 5 15 $1,533,268
2015 Byron Kaverman 5,342 4 $3,008,957
2004 John Juanda 6,596 2 $1,204,389
2005 Max Pescatori 3,381 1 $410,109

Footnotes:

  1. The two biggest years were both fueled by the Big One for One Drop: Daniel Colman’s $22,319,279 in 2014 and Antonio Esfandiari’s $18,992,281 in 2012. Peters is the only player in the top ten who didn’t win the Big One or the WSOP Main Event.
  2. Gioli Luong also reached 22 final tables in 2004.
  3. Three players have won six events: John Hoang in 2005, Men Nguyen in 2008, and Dan Smith in 2012.
  4. Percentagewise, Peters beat runner-up Holz by the largest margin besides Negreanu over David Pham in 2004.
  5. The all-time records for Points, Titles, and Final Tables date back to the rule changes of 2004.

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Poker Hall of Fame Induction 2016

[RR] “Were you surprised by how the voting went?” Roderick the Rock wondered.

[SS] “Yeah, all the polls had Hillary winning comfortably…” Stan the Stat began.

[RR] “No, not the Presidential election. I’m talking about the Poker Hall of Fame.”

[SS] “Oh. I’m not surprised about that one at all.”

[LL] “I was pulling for Chris Moneymaker, but they didn’t ask me to vote”, Leroy the Lion commented.

[SS] “I doubt he even finished in the top ten, and he’ll never get in as long as he’s grouped in the player category.

On the other hand, Carlos Mortensen was a shoo-in. He won the WSOP Main Event in 2001 and the WPT Championship in 2007 and is the WPT all-time money leader. He’s also one of only ten players who’ve won multiple WSOP and multiple WPT bracelets.”

[RR] “Todd Brunson was a bigger surprise to me. I thought Chris Bjorin might have been a better choice even though he’s relatively unknown despite being in the top ten in WSOP final tables. Even David Ulliott has had more tournament success than Brunson. But I guess Brunson’s well-known cash game success, including his battles with billionaire Andy Beal1 and on High Stakes Poker, carried the day.”

[LL] “I think it’s cool that he joins his dad in the Hall of Fame. No other relatives have been inducted, unless there are illegitimate children we don’t know about.”

[RR] “Well ‘Doyle’ sounds like ‘Hoyle’…”

[SS] “At least it was an uncontroversial election. I think the whole world can abide by the results without any worry. Unlike the U.S. Presidential election, these were both great choices:

Mortensen was born in Ecuador, grew up in Spain, and moved to the U.S. to play poker. He has almost $12 million in live tournament cashes, including three million-dollar victories.

Brunson was born in El Paso, Texas and started college before following in his father’s footsteps as a poker pro and moving to Las Vegas. He had just turned 24 when he won his first major tournament, the 1993 Diamond Jim Brady Championship, for almost $200,000. Despite career tournament earnings surpassing $4 million, Brunson is more renowned as a high stakes cash game expert where he has won many times that amount.”

Footnotes:

  1. Beal’s story was documented in the 2005 book, The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King.

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2016 WSOP Main Event Odds

[SS] “Do you guys know what’s really odd?” Stan the Stat opened.

[RR] “Three, five, seven, and every prime number besides two?” Roderick the Rock suggested.

[LL] “Rod’s sense of humor?” Leroy the Lion countered.

[FF] “All of you guys”, Figaro the Fish corrected.

[SS] “Well, I can’t disagree with you Figaro, although you’re included too.

But I’ve been looking over these Las Vegas odds on particular players winning the Main Event, which starts tomorrow, and the numbers are just bizarre…, like it’s a popularity contest, not a poker tournament.”

[LL] “Well, the betting public is going to back the players they know, right?”

[RR] “Almost by definition, people place long shot bets just for fun. They enjoy a smidgen of a hope for a little while, but really don’t expect to win.”

[SS] “You’re right. ‘Cause otherwise, what kind of fool would take Phil Ivey at only 40-to-1?”1

[LL] “He’s usually to busy raking it in playing cash games to be bothered to even show up, right?”

[SS] Exactly! The second highest player is more reasonable; Daniel Negreanu’s at 60-to-1. He’ll definitely play and has finished 11th twice (2001 and 2015). Allen Cunningham is fine at 100-to-1 (4th place in 2006), but Gus Hansen isn’t (his best finish is 61st, and that was back in 2007).”

[RR] “But he’s still gaining fans from High Stakes Poker reruns on television.”

[SS] “Jason Mercier is one of the summer’s hottest players, so he could be the bargain of the lot at 125-to-1.”1

[LL] “It’ll be amazing if he runs deep, needing his third bracelet of the summer to win his huge side bet with Vanessa Selbst, or whoever she ended selling off her action to!”

[SS] “Other overpriced players include Tom Dwan at 200-to-1 (has never cashed), Doyle Brunson at 400-to-1 (almost undoubtedly not playing), Howard Lederer at 600-to-1 (the amount of pressure on him if he runs deep would be overwhelming given his status as persona non grata due to the Full Tilt Poker meltdown; Chris Ferguson is probably also overvalued since his price is 200-to-1, but at least he still has a lot of fans), Chris Moneymaker at 700-to-1 (hasn’t cashed in any WSOP event since 2007), Darvin Moon at 1,000-to-1 (hasn’t cashed in any WSOP event besides his 2009 WSOP ME runner-up finish), and Jennifer Tilly at 1,000-to-1 (Phil Laak at 700-to-1 is no better, as his only money finish was 412th last year).”

[RR] “Even the best bets are bad bets though, I think.”

[SS] “Selbst is the top woman is of course, at 400-to-1. Maria Ho and Vanessa Rousso are 800-to-1, while Cindy Violette, Jennifer Harman, and Mimi Tran are 1,000-to-1 (and all much better bets than Tilly).”

[LL] “Was there a line for any female winning?”

[SS] “Unfortunately not. I think they missed a good opportunity there, too, because I think a 15-to-1 line could have brought in a lot of bets from women.”2

More interesting to me than the player bets are four new bets I hadn’t seen before.”

Winner’s Birthplace

  • U.S.: 1-to-2
  • Europe: 3-to-2
  • Canada: 11-to-5
  • South/Central America: 5-to-1
  • Australia: 10-to-1
  • Other: 10-to-1

[SS] “Before Johnny Chan in 1987, every WSOP ME winner was born in the U.S. Since then, 16 of the 28 winners were born in the U.S., 6 in ‘Other’, 4 in Europe, 1 in Australia, and 1 in Canada. ‘Other’ looks like the best bet here by far.1

[LL] “Definitely! All the Asian-born players.”

Age of Winner

  • Over 27.5: -120
  • Under 27.5: -120

[SS] “Noel Furlong was the last person older than 41 to win a championship in 1999. Since then, it’s been a young man’s game, but especially since the November Nine began in 2008. Every single winner starting with Peter Eastgate has been under 27.5. Take the ‘Under’.”1

[RR] “That seems like a really bad line. I’d seriously consider that bet despite the vig!”

Winning Hand at Final Table

  • One Pair or Lower: -150
  • Two Pair and Higher: +110

[SS] “Of the 44 winning hands from 1972 to 2015, only 13 have been as weak as a pair (9 pairs and 4 high cards). Take the ‘Two Pair and Higher’ bet.”1

[RR] “Also weird.”

Number of U.S. Players at Final Table

  • Over 4.5: -150
  • Under 4.5: +110

[SS] “Since 2008, the final table has contained 5, 7, 6, 4, 8, 5, 4, and 6 Americans, an average of 5.6; or more importantly, six were ‘Over’ and only two were ‘Under’. Take the ‘Over’.”1

[RR] “And that also seems odd! How do I get in on these bets?”3

Footnotes:

  1. Please don’t take gambling advice from a fictional character in a blog written by an iPhone app developer.
  2. Less than 4% of last year’s Main Event field was female. Even if that increases to a record 5%, the bookies would easily be getting the better end of the bet.
  3. The initial odds were posted in 2016 WSOP Main Event Odds on May 27, 2016 but are subject to change.1

    { July 19, 2016 Update: The results of two of the bets are now known: none of the mentioned players made the final table, so “the field” would have been the right bet if it existed. And 5 U.S. players reached the November Nine, so “Over” was the correct bet. }

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