The World Series of Poker Player of the Year race featured a new leader almost every week for the duration of the series. Elio Fox jumped to an early lead thanks to his bracelet win and runner-up finish in the $100,000 High Roller all within in the first week. By the middle of June, Fox’s epic first week was an afterthought. Post-lim events played a large role in how the final leaderboard shook out.
The most competitive race in WSOP history ended (for now) with one of the three-multi bracelet winners from 2018 in front. Shaun Deeb played an incredible amount of volume and is 90 percent of the way toward accomplishing one of his major career goals.
Deeb shipped the $10,000 Six-Max a few days after making Day 6 of the Main Event and placing 105th. The bracelet is the second for Deeb this summer and the fourth of his career. Deeb’s final haul from the 2018 WSOP includes two bracelets, three final tables, and 16 cashes. 2017 Player of the Year Chris Ferguson is the only player who cashed more times than Deeb and he racked up 17 to lead the category for the second straight year.
Second in cashes and second in POY is $50,000 High Roller winner Ben Yu. Deeb defeated Yu heads up in the $25,000 PLO and leads him in POY by a little under 600 points. Yu earned a career-best $1.65 million for his third bracelet win. A few days earlier, Yu took fourth in the DoubleStack Turbo and overall, he concluded his WSOP campaign with four top-four finishes.
Yu and Deeb finished in 11th and 12th place, respectively, on the overall WSOP earnings list. The only players ahead of them were Main Event final tablists or a player who cashed in the Big One for One Drop with the exception of one Nick Petrangelo, who won the $100,000 High Roller and took third in the $50,000 edition won by Yu.
The player of the moment and third on the POY list is Joe Cada. Cada opened the 2018 summer with a win in the $3,000 Shootout and steadily accumulated from there toward a stellar final two weeks. The 2009 Main Event champion took fifth in his bid at a second title. Following the disappointing finish, Cada jumped in the $1,500 Closer and won the title along with his fourth bracelet in only two days of play. Cada earned a combined $2.7 for the two scores and certified himself a place in the annals of WSOP runs.
John Hennigan led the POY race midway through the summer. Hennigan’s second-place finish in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and win in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E was never replicated but he did wind up with 12 cashes in total. Those 12 cashes are 12 more than Hennigan collected in 2017. Hennigan was awarded with a Poker Hall of Fame induction during the Main Event to cap off his best year at the series.
Scott Bohlman and Paul Volpe sit in the middle of the 2018 class. Bohlman came close twice to being the first multi-bracelet winner of the summer but settled for second in the $10,000 Stud Hi-Lo and third in the $3,000 PLO Six-Max.
Volpe faced off heads up against Deeb in the $10,000 Six-Max and earned silver for his Main Event post-lim. ‘The Main Event’ made Day 5 of his nicknamed tournament and set a record with eight cashes in events with a $10,000 buy-in or higher.
The No Limit players carved out space in the top-10 as done by Eric Baldwin and Justin Liberto. Between the two players, they went to the payout cage 25 times and all but two of their ventures were for events that didn’t have NLH in the title.
Heavy-hitters Mike Leah and Anthony Zinno round out the important part of the leaderboard. Neither player added a second bracelet despite having five final tables between them to close another victory out. Zinno made up the trophy difference at The Venetian where he won the CardPlayer $5,000 event for $466,670 to wrap up his summer schedule.
The race concludes on November 2 at WSOP Europe at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Deeb confirmed on the Poker Life Podcast he would be in attendance at it remains to be seen who from the top-10 will join him.
Top 10 2018 WSOP Player Of The Year Points