Breaking Down the World Series of Poker Player of the Year Race

If Phil Hellmuth can win his 13th WSOP bracelet or come close in the WSOPE Main Event, he'll have a great chance at winning WSOP Player of the Year. (Lance Bradley photo)

Updated – October 4th

With the field set for the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event, we can now break down most of the scenarios of how the WSOP Player of the Year race can play out. Of all of the contenders in the race, just four players are still mathematically in contention to win the award, though some of them would need to win the WSOPE Main Event and avoid any further scoring from either current leader Antonio Esfandiari or Greg Merson, who is also at the final table of the WSOP Main Event.

Esfandiari, Merson, Phil Hellmuth and Joseph Cheong now each have a clear path to victory. Here is what each of them needs in order to become the 2012 WSOP Player of the Year.

Antonio Esfandiari

With his win in the Big One for One Drop and second bracelet of the year here in Cannes, Esfandiari is in the driver’s seat. If none of the top contenders make deep runs and Merson falls flat later in October in Las Vegas, the award belongs to him.

Esfandiari can win if:

  • Greg Merson doesn’t finish in the top four in the WSOP Main Event; Phil Hellmuth doesn’t finish in the top four in the WSOPE Main Event; Joseph Cheong doesn’t win the WSOPE Main Event.

Greg Merson

Merson can win if:

  • He wins the WSOP Main Event.
  • He finishes second in the WSOP Main Event and Phil Hellmuth doesn’t win the WSOPE Main Event.
  • He finishes third in the WSOP Main Event and Phil Hellmuth doesn’t win or finish second in the WSOPE Main Event.
  • He finishes fourth in the WSOP Main Event: Phil Hellmuth doesn’t finish in the top three in the WSOPE Main Event; Joseph Cheong doesn’t win the WSOPE Main Event.

Phil Hellmuth

Hellmuth can win if:

  • He wins the WSOPE Main Event and Greg Merson doesn’t win the WSOP Main Event.
  • He finishes second in the WSOPE Main Event and Greg Merson doesn’t win or finish second in the WSOP Main Event.
  • He finishes third in the WSOPE Main Event and Greg Merson doesn’t finish in the top three in the WSOP Main Event
  • He finishes fourth in the WSOPE Main Event: Greg Merson doesn’t finish in the top four in the WSOP Main Event; Joseph Cheong doesn’t win the Main Event.

Joseph Cheong

Cheong can win if:

  • He wins the WSOPE Main Event: Greg Merson doesn’t finish in the top three in the WSOP Main Event; Phil Hellmuth doesn’t finish second or third in the WSOPE Main Event.
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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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