Breaking Down the 2013 WSOP Player of the Year Race

Greg Merson became the first player ever to win WSOP Player of the Year and the WSOP Main Event in the same year in 2012.

Greg Merson became the first player ever to win WSOP Player of the Year and the WSOP Main Event in the same year in 2012

The 2013 World Series of Poker Player of the Year race marks the third consecutive year that the award will be given based on a formula created by BLUFF. With WSOP Asia-Pacific factoring into this year’s WSOP Player of the Year race the action is already underway, and if it’s anything like the last two years there’s a good chance it will once again carry all the way into October.

In addition to the prestige of being named WSOP Player of the Year, BLUFF has added an extra incentive this year by giving the winner free entry into the 2014 WSOP Main Event, the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific Main Event and the 2014 WSOP Europe Main Event. The formula for determining WSOP POY is based on the BLUFF Player of the Year equation, the industry-leading standard, and takes into account the buy-in and field size of each event to reward success and consistency throughout the WSOP, WSOP Europe and WSOP APAC.

The 2012 WSOP POY race was the closest in the history of the award and wasn’t determined until the final hand of the WSOP Main Event. John Juanda took an early lead, but few could contend with Phil Ivey’s once-in-a-lifetime run, one that saw him make five consecutive final tables over the course of less than two weeks. Ivey was comfortably ahead until Greg Merson made a late push of his own. Merson didn’t play many events early in the series, earning his first cash midway through in the $3,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em event.

He’d go on to bubble the final table of the $2,500 Four-Handed No Limit Hold’em event but he’d more than make up for that in the weeks that followed. Merson went on to win one of the premier events of the summer, earning over $1.1 million and his first career bracelet in the $10,000 Six-Handed event. As if that wasn’t enough Merson then fought through a 6,598 player field in the Main Event to lock up a spot in the November Nine, guaranteeing himself enough points to push him past Ivey.

WSOP Europe had a tremendous impact, with two different players winning events to pass Merson. Antonio Esfandiari won Event 2, adding a second bracelet to his win in the Big One for One Drop to take over the lead. Both Phil Hellmuth and Joseph Cheong made the final table of the WSOPE Main Event with a chance to pass both Esfandiari and Merson, with Hellmuth earning his second bracelet of 2012 (and a record-extending 13th career bracelet) to put maximum pressure on Merson.

In order to earn enough points to win WSOP POY Merson would now have to win the Main Event, which he would go on to do a few weeks later to become the first player ever to win both the Main Event and WSOP POY. Hellmuth’s finished second in that race for the second consecutive year, taking the runner-up spot to Ben Lamb in 2011.

With his win in the 2013 WSOP APAC Main Event and another final table in Melbourne, Daniel Negreanu is out in front going into the summer. He’s trying to become the first player to win WSOP POY twice, but with 62 bracelet events in Las Vegas and seven more in Paris there’s still a lot of time for the field to catch up. Three of the current top five in the 2013 WSOP POY standings have already won bracelets, but they’ll have to do more than that if they hope to win.

Here are the standings going into the WSOP, which gets underway in one week’s time.

  1. Daniel Negreanu – 408.40
  2. Daniel Marton – 252.00
  3. Bryan Piccioli – 190.00
  4. Winfred Yu – 180.00
  5. Aaron Lim – 162.50

(For full standings, head over to the 2013 WSOP Player of the Year)

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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