The WSOP Player of the Year was first awarded in 2004 to Daniel Negreanu and since then, the best player of the series has been a hotly contested title. Former winners include Allen Cunningham, Jeffrey Lisandro, Ben Lamb and Greg Merson. The 2013 WSOP saw a trio of former winners win gold again and put themselves in the running again.
Tom Schneider, Erick Lindgren and Jeff Madsen all added another bracelet to their collection and each of them found redemption in a different way.
Schneider earned his POY title in 2007 after he won two bracelets and a third final table. He swept the HORSE events in 2013 and picked up two more bracelets in just more than a week.
He picked up his first bracelet this year in the $1,500 buy-in event and defeated a final table that included Owais Ahmed, Rep Porter and Frankie O’Dell. The $5,000 event had Greg Mueller, Chris Klodnicki, David Benyamine and Konstantin Puchkov at the final table.
Schneider’s 2013 WSOP also included seven total cashes for $604,698.
Jeff Madsen exploded on to the poker landscape in 2006 with two bracelet wins and two third-place finishes. He picked up one bracelet in a $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event and the other in a $5,000 Six-Max NLH event. He proved he wasn’t a No Limit specialist with a third place in Omaha Hi-Lo and another in Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo. He earned nearly $1.5 million in 2006.
Madsen would string together respectable WSOP related results over the next four years but could never match his breakout performance. In 2013, Madsen won the $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha bracelet at a table where he had to beat Scott Clements — one of the best Omaha specialists in the game today.
Madsen picked up two other cashes for a total of $401,731 earned on the summer. He finished 33rd in a $1,500 NLH in a field of 2,541 and 123rd place in another $1,500 NLH event that had more than 1,700 runners.
But neither Schneider nor Madsen found redemption better than Erick Lindgren at the 2013 WSOP. Lindgren infamously entered a rehab facility for gambling addiction, was widely hated from the Full Tilt Poker debacle, had gone broke and was the scourge of Internet forums with his very public gambling debts.
Lindgren won his WSOP POY title in 2008 with five cashes, three final tables and a bracelet win in the $5,000 Mixed Hold’em event. At the time, he was widely considered one of the best players to not have a bracelet. Following his win, he even appeared on the cover of BLUFF with the headline “Finally.”
Lindgren sat for an exclusive interview with BLUFF in January 2013 for a no questions barred interview while trying to turn his life around. Lindgren had a WSOP warm-up score with a second-place finish in the $25,000 WPT World Championship for $650,275. The boost in confidence served him well; he followed that up with five WSOP cashes and a bracelet win in the $5,000 NLH Six-Max event for $606,317.