In one of the most anticlimactic WSOP Player of the Year races ever, Shaun Deeb is officially the champion. The New Yorker, who won two bracelets this year, made mincemeat of the competition. John Hennigan, Joe Cada, and Ben Yu provided some competition for most of the summer. But, in the end, none of them were a match for the eventual winner.
WSOP POY is maybe the most coveted award in poker. Each year, since 2004, the World Series of Poker has crowned an overall series champion, which is based on total points accumulated. Players earn points for cashes during almost all of the 88 bracelet events between the summer WSOP and WSOP Europe. Only the casino employees, seniors, super seniors, ladies, tag team, and Big One for One Drop events are excluded.
Chris Ferguson is the defending champion after cashing in 23 events, a single-year record. He wasn’t quite so impressive this year as he finished 15th.
Hennigan provided some POY competition in June with a pair of bracelets and a second place finish within a two-week period. But the 2018 Poker Hall of Fame inductee, and now six-time bracelet winner, couldn’t quite keep pace.
Deeb was a beast in Las Vegas, winning two bracelets and cashing 16 times. This month, at King’s Casino in Czech Republic, he added four more cashes and nearly won a third bracelet but finished second in Event #6, €1,650 Mixed PLO/NLHE (€63,761).
The bulk of his cashes were small, but he had two massive scores that ensured a nice profit for the year. Those big wins also came with a shiny piece of jewelry.
Shaun Deeb 2018 WSOP Bracelet Event Wins
- Event #74, Big Blind Antes $10,000 No-Limit Hold-em Championship ($814,179)
- Event #42, $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller ($1,402,683)
Deeb probably played in more bracelet events than anyone else this year. And he also was, perhaps, the most committed to winning POY.
The award was hardly in doubt heading to this month’s WSOP Europe. Deeb had a commanding lead and finished with 5,073.92 points. Runner-up, Ben Yu, had just 3,746.04 points. Joe Cada (3,531.86) and John Hennigan (3,499.91) also put up valiant efforts but were simply no match for the eventual champion.
After returning from Europe to his home in the US, Deeb’s kids congratulated him on his Player of the Year award. They might not have been as ecstatic as their father about winning POY, but still had to be a nice reminder of life’s purpose away from the grind.
WSOP POY History
In 2004, the World Series of Poker began awarding Player of the Year to the individual who accumulates the most points throughout the series. Daniel Negreanu, the inaugural winner, had just $346,000 in earnings that year, the lowest for a POY champion.
Negreanu is also the only two-time POY, having also won the award in 2013. The second time around, Kid Poker’s performance was a bit more impressive. He won two bracelets and had nearly $2 million in cashes.
Last year’s winner, Chris Ferguson, barely surpassed the $400,000 mark. Deeb notched $2.5 million in cashes this year, the most ever for the POY.
WSOP Player of the Year History
- 2004 Daniel Negreanu (Canada)
- 2005 Allen Cunningham (USA)
- 2006 Jeff Madsen (USA)
- 2007 Tom Schneider (USA)
- 2008 Erick Lindgren (USA)
- 2009 Jeff Lisandro (Australia)
- 2010 Frank Kassela (USA)
- 2011 Ben Lamb (USA)
- 2012 Greg Merson (USA)
- 2013 Daniel Negreanu (Canada)
- 2014 George Danzer (Germany)
- 2015 Mike Gorodinsky (USA)
- 2016 Jason Mercier (USA)
- 2017 Chris Ferguson (USA)
- 2018 Shaun Deeb (USA)