Shack-Harris, Danzer Top 2014 WSOP POY Race as APAC Begins

It’s all come down to this. With hundreds of players either in Melbourne or in transit, and the first of three starting sessions in the first event of the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific in the books, the journey to find the 2014 WSOP Player of the Year has reached its climax.

Two players have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, but the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas awards the most POY points of any tournament held all year – 500 to be exact. With several members of the November Nine opting out of a trip down under, however, the focus has been squarely placed upon the 10 bracelet events in Australia – which will give all of the other players an opportunity to catch and pass the two unequivocal breakout stars of the 2014 WSOP.

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1. Brandon Shack-Harris – 752.00

2014 WSOP Earnings: $1,416,110 (Largest: $937,975)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 ($1,000 Pot Limit Omaha)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 4
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 6

You might not have heard of Shack-Harris before the summer of 2014, but he’s a guy you’re unlikely to forget when you look back at this WSOP. Shack-Harris defeated the largest live Pot Limit Omaha tournament field in history in Event 3 to win his first career bracelet, and a few days later he got heads-up in the $10,000 Razz event. He fell just short of that title, but Shack-Harris found himself three-handed for a bracelet a couple weeks later in a $1,500 Limit Hold’em event. To shatter any lingering doubt about his versatility, Shack-Harris capped off one of the better series’ in recent memory by finishing second to John Hennigan in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. He’s in Melbourne to defend his lead, although he suffered a few bumps along the way on his trip down to Australia.

2. George Danzer – 745.20

2014 WSOP Earnings: $782,240 (Largest: $352,696)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 2 ($10,000 Razz, $10,000 Stud 8/b)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 3
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 7

Until Shack-Harris made a deep run in the $1,500 10 Game Mixed Event, Danzer’s two bracelet wins and three final tables had him in the lead. There’s virtually nothing separating the two players, and there will be a lot of drama around each of the 10 bracelet events at WSOP APAC that these guys play. It was an absolutely unbelievable summer for Danzer, though, who until this past April hadn’t won a single live tournament. After getting the monkey off his back in Monte Carlo, Danzer tore through the 2014 WSOP by winning two different $10,000 Stud Championships – including a $10,000 Razz event where he prevented Shack-Harris from winning a second bracelet of his own.

3. John Hennigan – 557.88

2014 WSOP Earnings: $1,848,325 (Largest: $1,517,767)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 ($50K Poker Players Championship)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 4

While Hennigan’s made his name almost exclusively as a mixed game players, he flexed his No Limit Hold’em skills a few times this summer, too. Hennigan’s first deep run in a massive No Limit Hold’em field resulted in a second place finish and a $319,993 payday, and he finished top-100 in the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em and another $1,000 field. The true highlight of his summer, however, was his victory in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. After finishing 12th in 2012 and third in 2013, Hennigan broke through and handed Shack-Harris his second runner-up finish of this summer in claiming his third career WSOP bracelet. It’s unknown if Hennigan, who hasn’t traveled on the tournament circuit much in the last few years, will even make the trip.

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4. Daniel Negreanu – 519.08

2014 WSOP Earnings: $8,545,408 (Largest: $8,288,001)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 0 (Best: 2nd, Big One for One Drop)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 9

It’s never a safe bet to write of Negreanu in any way, and just a year after becoming the first ever two-time WSOP Player of the Year Negreanu has a chance for a third title. Negreanu’s nine cashes at the 2014 WSOP are bookended by a pair of second place finishes, after he kicked off his summer with a runner-up finish in the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven. He took over the all-time tournament earnings lead with his runner-up result in the Big One for One Drop, banking over $8.2 million, but Negreanu’s seven other cashes include numerous deep runs. Negreanu finished 10th, 10th and ninth to bubble three other final tables, and he also made the round of 16 in the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship. Add in two deep runs in $1,500 Hold’em events, and for the second consecutive year Negreanu has a chance to make history.

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5. Dan Colman – 452.40

2014 WSOP Earnings: $15,440,919 (Largest: $15,306,668)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 1
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 3

Say what you will about Dan Colman and the controversy that surrounded the aftermath of his Big One for One Drop win, but you can’t deny his results of late. After winning over $2 million in the EPT Grand Final Super High Roller, 23-year-old Colman played the $1 million buy-in ‘Big One’ and took home the second-largest tournament cash of all time along with his first career bracelet. Colman also made the semifinals of the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship and finished 19th in the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event held just before One Drop. Colman has stated he won’t be heading down to Australia for WSOP APAC, ending his chances of contending for WSOP POY.

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6. Justin Bonomo – 449.63

2014 WSOP Earnings: $707,469 (Largest: $449,980)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 5

It looked like it would be another heartbreaker of a summer for Bonomo, who opened up his summer with the third runner-up finish of his WSOP career in the $10,000 Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Championship. Not to be deterred, however, Bonomo immediately dusted himself off and won the very next tournament he played – the $1,500 Six Max No Limit Hold’em. Bonomo went on to earn three other top-25 finishes to round out his 2014 WSOP. Bonomo is also among the ranks of players deciding to forgo a trip to Melbourne this time around.

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7. Richard Ashby – 413.55

2014 WSOP Earnings: $506,843 (Largest: $274,019)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 0 (Best: 2nd, $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 6

Ashby came into the summer with a bracelet to his credit, and despite four close calls he couldn’t quite seal a second WSOP win in Vegas this time around. After a deep run in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event, Ashby got to within a hair’s breadth of his second bracelet before falling in second to Brock Parker in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship. Ashby made another final table in the $10,000 HORSE, finishing fourth, and narrowly missed out on final tables in the $5,000 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha (seventh) and $10,000 Seven Card Stud (10th).

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8. Brock Parker – 406.25

2014 WSOP Earnings: $514,138 (Largest: $443,407)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 ($10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 5

Funny enough, Parker lands one spot behind Ashby, the man he beat heads-up for his third career WSOP bracelet in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship. Parker also final tabled the $1,500 Razz event this summer, finishing fifth, and made a deep run in the $10,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em Championship.

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9. Calvin Anderson – 398.20

2014 WSOP Earnings: $444,449 (Largest: $190,538)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 3
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 5

Coming off Player of the Series honors in the PokerStars SCOOP leading into the 2014 WSOP, Anderson continued a ferocious run in the early stages of the summer. After taking 14th in the $25,000 Mixed Max and eight in the $10,000 HORSE event, Anderson won his first bracelet in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event. Days later Anderson went for the double in the $10,000 Championship Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event, finishing third, and tacked on one additional cash in the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice event.

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10. JC Tran 374.10

2014 WSOP Earnings: $528,463 (Largest: $290,622)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 0 (Best: 4th, $25,000 Mixed Max)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 1
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 5

Tran rounds out the top 10 thanks in large part to deep runs in the two of the biggest No Limit Hold’em events of the summer. Tran made the semifinals of the Mixed Max event, only to go out against Jason Mo to kick off his summer with a big result. He also made the final table of the $10,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em event, where he finished fourth. With three other top-40 finishes, Tran continued a tremendous run that dates back to his fifth place finish in the 2013 WSOP Main Event.

11. William Givens 367.30

2014 WSOP Earnings: $419,499 (Largest: $306,634)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 (Event 45, $1,000 No Limit Hold’em)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 4

After having a close call in the $5,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em, where he took 19th, Givens made another deep run only to finish 55th in the $2,500 No Limit event a few days later. Not to be deterred, Givens tore through a massive $1,000 No Limit field, final tabled and finished fourth to cap an unbelievable week. Givens made it a summer to remember one week later, navigating through yet another $1,000 No Limit minefield and eventually winning his first bracelet.

12. Pat Walsh 360.00

2014 WSOP Earnings: $923,379 (Largest: $923,379)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 ($10,000 Pot Limit Omaha)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 1
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 1

Walsh had just one cash this summer, but he certainly made it worth it in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship. In his first tournament cash since March of 2011, Walsh beat out a field of 418 players to win the last Championship event of the summer and $923,379, along with his first career bracelet.

13. Bryn Kenney 351.70

2014 WSOP Earnings: $348,419 (Largest: $348,419)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 ($1,500 10 Game Mixed Event)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 3
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 4

Kenney has had a lot of tournament success in his career, but a WSOP bracelet eluded him until late in the 2014 WSOP schedule. It came on July 4, when Kenney was one of two bracelet-winners to celebrate late-series victories on Independence Day in the 10 Game Mixed Event. This was the third final table of the summer for Kenney, who also finished fourth in the $5,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em and fifth in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud within a single week.

14. Jesse Martin 350.50

2014 WSOP Earnings: $656,143 (Largest: $594,570)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 0 (Best: 3rd, $50,000 Poker Players Championship)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 1
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 8

Martin broke through for his first bracelet in 2013, winning the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven event, and he nearly made it two in as many years. In the biggest Mixed Game event of the year, Martin made a strong run at the title in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, but fell two spots short against Hennigan and Shack-Harris. Martin also bubbled the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship final table and cashed six other times at this WSOP.

15. Todd Brunson 345.03

2014 WSOP Earnings: $391,075 (Largest: $165,891)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 0 (Best: 2nd, $10,000 Seven Card Stud)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 7

Brunson was making deep runs all over the place this summer, registering seven top-40 cashes, an 11th place finish in the Poker Players Championship, 13th in the Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship and two final tables. He finished sixth in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em Championship, and looked to be in good position to win his third career bracelet before he fell heads-up to Matt Grapenthien in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship.

16. Kory Kilpatrick – 343.00

2014 WSOP Earnings: $501,445 (Largest: $254,891)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 ($3,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 4

Kilpatrick won a bracelet in his first cash of the summer, taking down the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout. After a deep run in the $5,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em event, where he finished 17th, Kilpatrick neared a double for the summer before going out in third place in the $5,000 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha.

17. Dan Kelly 337.50

2014 WSOP Earnings: $269,664 (Largest: $195,167)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 ($1,500 Limit Hold’em)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 7

A year after cashing eight times at the 2013 WSOP, Kelly came through with seven more cashes in 2014. He opened with a final table in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship, and Kelly made the money six other times throughout the summer. Kelly’s second bracelet came in mid-June when he won the $1,500 Limit Hold’em, which he followed up with a run to the final three tables of the $1,500 Ante Only.

18. Alex Bilokur – 330.25

2014 WSOP Earnings: $416,697 (Largest: $398,567)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 ($10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 1
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 4

Bilokur owns a top 10 spot in the BLUFF Player of the Year race, and that standing has a lot to do with his first bracelet win. He earned his second big victory of the year, only this time it came with a payday of almost $400,000 in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em Championship.

19. Phil Hellmuth – 330.10

2014 WSOP Earnings: $203,818 (Largest: $74,848)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 0 (Best: 2nd, $1,500 Razz)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 2
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 7

It wouldn’t be a WSOP Player of the Year race without Hellmuth. There have been a few close calls in his race for bracelet number 14, but none better than his first shot of the summer. Hellmuth got heads-up with Ted Forrest and they engaged in a long, protracted battle in the $1,500 Razz event before Forrest ultimately grabbed his sixth career WSOP win. Hellmuth narrowly missed out on the $3,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em final table, taking eighth, and then made the final table of the $10,000 Seven Card Stud near the end of the 2014 WSOP, only to go out sixth.

20. Pierre Milan – 326.50

2014 WSOP Earnings: $563,655 (Largest: $536,768)
2014 WSOP Bracelets: 1 ($2,500 No Limit Hold’em)
2014 WSOP Final Tables: 1
2014 WSOP Total Cashes: 6

Rounding out the top 20 is Milan, who earned cashes in six No Limit Hold’em events this summer. None of them come close to his $2,500 No Limit bracelet victory, which netted Milan over $500,000 and the hardware.

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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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