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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 Position Name Points 1 Shaun Deeb 4,334.06 2 Ben Yu 3,746.04 3 Joe Cada 3,531.86 4 John Hennigan 3,499.91 5 Scott Bohlman 3,155.88 6 Paul Volpe 2,859.76 7 Eric Baldwin 2,516.30 8 Justin Liberto 2,459.84 9 Mike Leah 2,354.13 10 Anthony Zinno 2,330.37
There’s a reason that summer in Las Vegas is often called ‘poker player summer camp’ and it’s not just because the World Series of Poker is going on. During the summer bracelet chasing takes center stage in Sin City but over the past decade, many other Las Vegas poker rooms have battled with the WSOP for the hearts and minds of the poker playing public by consistently scheduling competing summer series that offer players excellent value through great structures and big guarantees. Here's a quick look around the city at some of those non-WSOP tournaments keeping poker players in action. ARIA Poker Classic and High Roller Series There are basically two tournament series happening at the same time inside the ARIA. The first is for the everyday player. It's filled with buy-ins right around the $400 and $240 buy-in level, The ARIA Poker Classic. The second is home to the high rollers - small fields, high buy-in, and elite competition - The ARIA Summer High Roller Series. Even though the Rio has offered some big buy-in tournaments early in the WSOP schedule, many of the biggest names in the game have been spending more time in the ARIA this summer simply because it’s where the biggest games are. Before he was embroiled in controversy for folding out of order at the WSOP, Sam Soverel bested the 23 player field in Aria High Roller 11 on May 30 for a $235,880 payday. He was joined in the money by David Peters (runner-up, $189.620), Jake Schindler (3rd, $92,000) and Poker Central founder Cary Katz (4th, $57,500). Australia’s Michael Addamo won the $10,000 buy-in ARIA High Roller 12 on June 4 for $136,000, defeating Germany’s Manig Loeser heads up. Loeser finished in second place taking home $88,400 for his efforts while fellow countryman Rainer Kempe finished in third for $54,400. Spain’s Juan Dominguez is having a nice start to his summer as he went back-to-back at the ARIA. First, he topped the 45 player field of the $10,000 ARIA High Roller 13 for $153,000 and the very next day he won the $10,000 ARIA High Roller 14 for another $126,682. Ben Yu was the official runner-up, taking home $125,318 while the familiar faces of Jake Schindler (3rd, $67,500), Manig Loeser (4th, $45,000) and Ali Imsirovic (5th, $36,000) also made final table appearances. The 2019 Wynn Poker Classic One of the nicer properties on the Las Vegas strip, the Wynn/Encore hosts the Wynn Poker Classic and through the first week and a half, players have been turning up en masse to play in their daily offerings. The Wynn has been offering multiple $1K+ buy-in tournaments and some well-known names have been showing up for them. On June 3, 484 runners showed up for the $1,100 in which the UK’s Louis Salter took home the $98.452 first-place prize and defeated a final table that included Connor Drinan (runner-up, $64,295) and Lily Kiletto (7th, $13,907). The next day 432 players jumped into the $1,600 buy-in which saw Florida’s Evan Teitelbaum hold off one-time WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen to take down the $138,209 first place prize. McKeehen settled for $89,018 as the runner-up. Other notable final table players included Mark Radoja (5th, $31,068) as well as Entourage and Ballers music supervisor Scott Vener (9th, $12,468). Keven Stammen bested the 618 runners of the $550 daily on June 6 for a $50,940 payday while Justin Liberto defeated Germany’s Bart Lybaert on June 8 to win a $1,100 tournament for $94,659. Lybaert’s $61,412 runner-up prize helped push him to over $3M in career earnings. The DeepStack Championship Poker Series at The Venetian The Venetian continues to provide large field tournaments for players looking for action outside the Rio. They have a partnership with the Mid-States Poker Tour for some of their larger events but also provide daily tournaments for players looking for buy-ins under $1,600. Although the Deepstack Series starts in the middle of May, the $1,100 ‘Summer Kickoff ‘ Event from May 27-29 brought out 518 runners where World Poker Tour Champion Brian Altman took home the $90,905 first-place prize. He defeated Robert Kuhn who ended up with $84,390 as the runner-up. The final table included popular Twitch Poker streamer Ricky ‘RatedGTO’ Guan who finished in fourth for $36,364, a top-3 score for his young career. Pot Limit Omaha cash game grinder Sasha Liu outlasted the 144 runners in the $800 Pot Limit Omaha 8-Max Bounty to take down the $20,161 first-place prize. Canadian Kevin Barton fell in second place for a $11,995 payday.