Daniel Negreanu Wants to Make Changes to the WSOP POY Calculations

The World Series of Poker Player of the Year race has been in the news a lot in the past week and for good reason. Daniel Negreanu won the POY title after Shaun Deeb was eliminated from the final event of WSOP Europe on the final day. Daniel Negreanu was then demoted to third place after a data entry error was discovered that awarded him too many points this summer. These last few days are probably the most anyone outside of a few poker pros have ever talked about the WSOP Player of the Year contest. But let’s talk about it just a little bit more.

Always the outspoken one, Negreanu tweeted last weekend his ideas for improvements to the WSOP POY calculations. And he is known to think about the Player of the Year quite a lot.

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu

In the blog post he made on Saturday in which he related his feelings on the POY foul-up, Negreanu once again provided POY change proposals.

“We want the stretch run to be about people chasing final tables and wins, not max late regging, hoping to double once, then grab the points from a min cash. It’s silly, and I felt silly doing it,” he explained.

The first of his ideas is to implement a cap on cashes that count toward the POY standings to a dozen. As it is now, every cash counts. Negreanu wants to emphasize quality over quantity and eliminate players just trying to min-cash in the WSOP Europe events for the points.

He also wants to see a reduction in the point value for a min-cash in “multi-heat, large field reentry events.” He cites the Colossus as the primary motivation for this, saying that min-cashing in an event with nine heats is not an accomplishment in tournament poker.

Negreanu’s third suggestion is related to the one above. He would like to see a min-cash for a high buy-in, small field be worth more than one in a large field because it is harder to cash in the former.

Again related, Negreanu also wants points for the Main Event to be decreased. Not necessarily significantly, but he believes this is important particularly if his first idea is implemented, as he wouldn’t want the Main Event over-weighted.

His fifth and final suggestion is one that he says isn’t that important to him, but is important to many in the poker community. Simply divide the number of points a player receives in a tournament by the number of entries that player used. This would give the deepest pocketed players less of an advantage in the Player of the Year race, even if they still have an advantage in the tournaments themselves.

It is easy to see why Negreanu is less invested in that last one. He is better able to re-buy than most players and is very well equipped to take advantage of re-entry tournaments.

I won’t presume that I know more than most people about what is best for Player of the Year races, as I can’t imagine you will see me at a World Series of Poker or World Poker Tour table any time soon. I will say, though, that Negreanu’s suggestions make sense overall. The first, second, and fifth ideas, in particular, seem pretty good. Capping the number of cashes that count toward Player of the Year and dividing points by the number of entries limit the advantage that the richest players have. It’s a quality over quantity thing. The second idea, decreasing the points awarded for a min-cash in events like the Colossus, just seems obvious.

One of the interesting things about Negreanu’s attitude about the Player of the Year chase is that he cares about it so much. He quite literally went into WSOP Europe with the goal to win POY, not to win tournaments or get the best return on investment that he could.

From his blog post:

I went out to Rozvadov clear on the goal ahead, strategized to give myself the best chance to end with the most points, and based on what I knew, I accomplished that. As far as the journey goes, I can only see it as a success. I left Rozvadov feeling good about my decisions, and that hasn’t changed with today’s news.

He says he doesn’t like having to game the system to make a charge at the Player of the Year, but he opts to do so because it’s important to him. Negreanu claims that he wants to see further POY changes not because he is upset about losing out on the title this year (and in his defense, he posted his ideas on Twitter before the news of the data error dropped him to third), but because “when I win POY I don’t want there to be any doubt in anyone’s mind as to whether or not I was deserving.”

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