WSOP: POY Frontrunner John Monnette Showing No Signs of Slowing Down


John Monnette leads the race for WSOP Player of the Year.

The 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year race has had more than a handful of leaders and even more controversy over who the real leader should be over the last six weeks. Current frontrunner John Monnette doesn’t care much for the controversy, but he’s clearly doing everything in his power to hold onto his lead as he plays Day 2C of the Main Event.

Monnette took the lead on Sunday night after his fifth place finish in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship, his 14th cash this summer. Chasing down POY honors wasn’t something Monnette had planned before the WSOP began though.

“I didn’t intend to when I started, I didn’t just really know how things were going to go, but once i saw what was going on, I have been a little bit, but I also haven’t been ridiculous about it,” said Monnette. He didn’t play Colossus, the $565 Pot Limit Omaha or the $888 Crazy Eights event, even though many of the other contenders did.

John Monnette’s 2017 WSOP Results

Event # Tournament Position Winnings POY Pts
8 $333 Online Little Grind 299th $602 32.1
9 $10,000 Omaha High-Low 9th $29,391 66.4
14 $1,500 HORSE 71st $2,612 40.7
22 $10,000 NL 2-7 Single Draw 1st $256,610 136.8
29 $2,500 NL Hold’em 79th $5,209 47
37 $1,000 NL Hold’em 298th $1,502 36.2
46 $1,500 PLO High Low 76th $2,677 41
48 $10,000 Stud High-Low 17th $15,182 53.3
51 $10,000 PLO High-Low 16th $19,313 57.8
54 $25,000 PLO 8-Max 14th $38,347 72.6
63 $1,000 NL Hold’em 6th $46,758 113.9
66 $1,500 NL Hold’em 150th $2,915 42.2
68 $3,000 NL Hold’em 176th $4,679 44
72 $10,000 Seven Card Stud 5th $53,621 81.2
TOTAL $479,418 865.2

Known as one of the best mix game cash game players in the world, Monnette has played a good chunk of Hold’em this year. His six NLHE cashes this summer account for 40% of his lifetime NLHE cashes at the WSOP. He admits it’s a slight change from the approach he’s previously taken.

“I enjoy No Limit, I’m playing it a little bit more. I busted out of the (non-Hold’em events), so I would just late reg those No Limit events,” said Monnette. “Because it was late reg, you get just 10 or 15 bigs. I would happen to double up and was kinda running good and would just run up a stack. Some I got far in, others I didn’t, but I kept cashing. I mean, they’re paying 15%, so when you late reg you double once and you’ve got a pretty good shot at cashing.”

Playing as much as he has this summer means Monnette, who makes his living playing high stakes cash games, has had to pass up the super soft cash game action that pops up every summer in Vegas.

“It’s hard for me to play my best when I’m playing cash and I’m playing tournaments. So I kind of just focus on one or the other. The last five or six summers I’ve pretty much focused on tournaments,” said Monnette. “I’ll still go over there and play a little bit. That’s also why if I bust out of a tournament, I’d rather register for a small No Limit tournament then go and play big cash where I might be tilted or not play my best and I’m just in tournament mode, not in cash game mode.”

Monnette became a serious contender for POY after he won the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven event in mid-June. That bracelet win was a special one for him because it was the first one he’d win since getting married last year.

“Bracelets always mean a lot, and winning the bracelet this year was great because my wife Diana was there and she’s always so supportive and I haven’t won one since we’ve been together. She’s always been there for me and wanted to see me win one and I’ve been close several times and never actually won one so that was really cool to do that with her,” said Monnette.

Even though many players have voiced disappointment over the new WSOP POY system, Monnette still thinks the award carries a certain level of prestige. For a guy that doesn’t play the tournament circuit at all, being within striking distance of the award means something and gives his friends and family a chance to support him.

“I just don’t play tournaments all the time so this is the one time of the year that I do play tournaments and I enjoy it and it’s also cool that friends and family can sweat online or watch and see how you’re doing and they’ll shoot me a text ‘oh I saw you’re leading Player of the Year. That’s awesome! Good luck in the Main!’ So that’s cool because it’s the one time of year where there’s a little bit of reporting on stuff because cash games is just kinda quiet,” said Monnette.

If Monnette manages to maintain his hold on top spot through the end of the Main Event, he’ll win a €10,000 seat to the WSOP Europe Main Event later this fall. The race for POY continues with the 12 events on the WSOPE schedule.

“I assume if I get that seat, I would go because I don’t want to throw away a $10K seat and that would mean that I’m also in first so I’d try and go,” said Monnette. “I haven’t looked at the schedule, I know it’s in October or November – I don’t really know. I’ve been so busy and caught up in all of this that I haven’t looked too far forward.”

The type of schedule that Monnette has played this year makes it difficult to come in every single day fresh and ready for the challenges ahead. Monnette has done his best to find some life-work balance and knows that’s had a hand in his results, but now that the Main Event is here, he knows he’s getting close to finally being able to rest.

“It’s always draining. I’ve been trying to be a little healthier this year, not drink as much and eat a little better, which has been going downhill, haven’t worked out in a while which that usually helps,” said Monnette. “But towards the end of the Series I’m just trying to stay focused and play my best and look forward to the end when I can go on vacation.”

Monnette has 113,000 through Level 6.