WSOP Player of the Year race goes to Rozvadov; Campbell, Deeb and Negreanu in contention

The WSOP Player of the Year (POY) award is one of the most hotly contested titles in poker and everyone who heads to Vegas to play a full schedule in the summer will hope to collect the accolade, and ideally a couple of bracelets along the way. The award has been collected by some stellar names in recent years, with Daniel Negreanu the only man to win it twice.

Negreanu 2019
Daniel Negreanu – Photo

This year, as is often the case, the race is a very close one, meaning that those still in the mix must look to the WSOP Europe in Rozvadov if they want to bring the title home.

Great fight scheduled for Rozvadov

Having picked up two bracelets in Las Vegas this year, Australian Robert Campbell deservedly leads the POY race with 3,418.78 points. His bracelets in the $1,500 Limit Lowball Triple Draw and $10,000 Stud hi/lo Championship events have seen him top the leader-board, with two other final tables also helping him to this position. Campbell could have been out of sight, but for the fact that former POY winners Shaun Deeb and Daniel Negreanu have collected 17 cashes each this summer.

These cashes include near misses for both players in terms of bracelet, with Negreanu taking 2nd place twice. US pro Deeb won the POY title last year and is now aiming for unprecedented back to back titles, while Negreanu took POY in 2004 and 2013, meaning that he is vying for an unprecedented three wins. Ten more bracelet events await at the WSOPE in the Czech Republic in Rozvadov, and so all is still to play for.

The WSOPE begins on October 15th and will run until November 4th.

Current 2019 WSOP Player of the Year Leaders

    1. Robert Campbell 3,418.78
    2. Shaun Deeb 3,280.13
    3. Daniel Negreanu 3,166.24
    4. Dan Zack 3,1256.13
    5. Phillip Hui 2,881.67

Is glory alone worth fighting for?

Campbell is yet to state whether he intends to attend Rozvadov or not, with Deeb and Negreanu both having signalled their intention to go. If Campbell doesn’t, this surely raises questions about whether the POY title really has any value beyond a bit of extra glory for the winning player. The race for Player of the Year is still spoken of as a prestigious battle and a title that players should be excited about chasing, but with zero prizes offered to those players, should they really care? Where is the incentive?

The WSOP did have a prize for POY in years gone by, but with prizes having now been removed, it appears the WSOP is banking on the bracelets and glory alone to be enough to lure players to the WSOPE.

As Paul Volpe pointed out on Twitter, players may be taking an equity hit in certain events because they are prioritising collecting POY points above playing to win. Is this choice really +EV if the prize for winning POY is a simple pat on the back?

There have at least been some positive changes to the race in the last few years, with the points system being adjusted to a more agreeable formula. But, despite this, there still remains a noticeable void in terms of prizes. This will be further highlighted if Robert Campbell chooses not to bother with travelling to Rozvadov to fight for the title.

2019 WSOP Europe – Key Events:

€25,500 Short Deck High Roller
€25,500 NL Platinum High Roller
€100,000 Diamond High Roller
€10,000 WSOPE Main Event

Craig Bradshaw