Breaking Down the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year Race: Daniel Negreanu a Heavy Favorite

4 min read

Daniel Negreanu is clearly the favorite to win WSOP Player of the Year at this point. But with just two events still to be decided in Rozvadov, he isn’t the only player with a realistic shot at the award. Let’s break down the closely contested race from a numbers standpoint.

Daniel Negreanu WSOP poker
Will Daniel Negreanu win his third WSOP Player of the Year award? (Image:

The POY race has been a close one since the start of the summer series in Las Vegas. No player has gone on a heater that we’ll all remember years from now, a la Jason Mercier in 2016. That has opened the door for numerous grinders to remain in contention for the 2019 POY title.

During much of the summer, Dan Zack held the lead. When the Las Vegas series concluded in July, the Los Angeles-area cash game grinder stood atop the standings. But he didn’t make the trek to Rozvadov, Czech Republic to battle for the POY crown. Daniel Negreanu, Shaun Deeb, and Robert Campbell then became the three top contenders and still are, but there are a few other players who aren’t mathematically eliminated just yet.

Daniel Negreanu Just Needs to Hold On

“Kid Poker” is in a dominating position when it comes to the Player of the Year race. He busted on Day One in the Main Event at WSOP Europe but didn’t need to rack up any points as he’s already in the lead. Instead, the pressure is on Deeb and Campbell to score a late cash to catch up before the series ends next week.

However, neither Campbell nor Deeb were able to cash in the Main Event. That means they’ll need to pull off a deep run in the €550 Colossus, which kicked off on Monday. There are nine Day One starting flights and players can re-enter once each flight. You can expect the POY contenders to all fire numerous bullets in this one as it is their last shot at racking up points.

Updated WSOP Player of the Year Standings

Daniel Negreanu has a fairly comfortable lead in the Player of the Year standings. But he can’t be too comfortable in case one of the other contenders runs deep in the Colossus.

Current WSOP Player of the Year Standings

  1. Daniel Negreanu 3,971.54
  2. Robert Campbell 3,857.97
  3. Shaun Deeb 3,710.64
  4. Phillip Hui 3,186.17
  5. Dan Zack 3,126.13

As we’ve already discussed, Zack is out. Kahle Burns, who is in sixth place (2,9873.37 points), is still technically in the race but he would need to win the Colossus and also hope Negreanu and Campbell, and possibly Deeb, don’t cash.

We’re only one session into the Colossus, so we don’t know how many players will enter. But if we base our assumption that the same number of entries as last year sign-up, which was 2,992, first place in the Colossus would award 1,045 points.

A min-cash would be worth 52 points, which isn’t enough for anyone else to catch Daniel Negreanu. Based on that assumed 2,992-player field, per the POY calculator tool, Deeb would need a top nine finish to top “Kid Poker,” assuming Daniel doesn’t also cash. Campbell must finish somewhere in the top 20 percentile, again assuming Negreanu fails to cash.

Player of the Year Surprise Winner?

There is one potential wild card that we haven’t yet discussed – Anthony Zinno. Zinno has one of the biggest stacks in the Main Event heading into Day Four with 42 players remaining. He’s guaranteed at least 122.71 Player of the Year points.

That isn’t even close to enough to put him in contention with Daniel Negreanu as he currently has just 2,718.15 and is in 10th place. But a Main Event title is worth 1,227.06 points and would bring him up to 3,945.21, just 26.33 points behind “Kid Poker.”

If Zinno ships the bracelet and then enters and cashes the Colossus, he could snatch that Player of the Year title away from Negreanu. Sure, it’s a long-shot. But poker is a crazy, unpredictable game. So, don’t think for one second that it’s impossible. We’ve seen crazier things happen.

Related Posts

Did you know about our poker forum? Discuss all the latest poker news in the CardsChat forum

Popular Stories