2014 WSOP

George Danzer Wins WSOP Player of the Year

It is unlikely that many people thought about it at the time, but the end of the $10,000 Razz Event in the 2014 World Series of Poker (WSOP) would turn out to be a snapshot of how the WSOP Player of the Year (POY) would play out. The see-saw battle for top honors between George Danzer and Brandon Shack-Harris began in May and did not end until this week, when Shack-Harris could not climb quite far enough in the WSOP Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) Main Event, allowing Danzer to claim the POY award.

What might be the most amazing thing about Danzer’s Player of the Year performance is that even with three bracelets, he was unable to clinch it until this week. That goes to show how great of a year Shack-Harris had. Danzer won that razz tournament, as well as the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Event and the $5,000 Eight-Game Mix Event at the WSOP APAC, becoming just the sixth player to win three World Series of Poker bracelets in a single year.

George Danzer Image credit: WSOP.com

George Danzer
Image credit: WSOP.com

All told, Danzer cashed ten times in WSOP events this year, totaling $867,649 in winnings. The list is as follows (thank you to WSOP.com for listing them so I didn’t have to re-type everything):

5th Place – Event #5: $10,000 Limit 2-7- Triple Draw
1st Place – Event #18 $10,000 Razz
39th Place – Event #25: $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo
9th Place – Event #32: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed
1st Place – Event 38: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo
48th Place – Event #47: $1,500 Ante Only No-Limit Hold’em
44th Place – Event #54: $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
22nd Place – APAC Event #1: $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Accumulator
6th Place – APAC Event #6: $1,650 Dealers Choice
1st Place – APAC Event #8: $5,000 8-Game Mix

But again, despite this great success, Brandon Shack-Harris had a shot to overtake Danzer in the WSOP APAC Main Event. He cashed nine times in World Series events this year, raking in $1,448,716, $600,000 more than Danzer, thanks largely in part to a runner-up finish in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship which garnered him over $900,000 alone.

Going into the WSOP APAC Main Event, Shack-Harris was 116.8 WSOP POY leaderboard points behind Danzer. The points system is managed by BLUFF, which assigns an amount of base points to a player’s finishing spot in an open tournament, as long as that spot was in the money. Those base points are then potentially multiplied twice: once depending on the size of the field and once depending on the buy-in. If it is not already obvious, the large tournaments with large buy-ins will award the most points. The one exception to the formula is the traditional WSOP Main Event, which has a set points scale and does not use multipliers.

What this all meant was that Shack-Harris needed to finish either first or second in the WSOP APAC Main Event to overtake Danzer. The $8,800 buy-in (converted to United States dollars) created a 1.5x points multiplier, as did the 329-player field. The BLUFF formula awards 100 base points for a win and 70 points for a runner-up finish, meaning the champ and second place finisher will earn 225 and 157.5 points, respectively. Those would have been enough for Shack-Harris to grab the POY points lead. Third place has a base value of 50 points and a total value of 112.5 after multipliers, so that would have left him just short.

Shack-Harris made quite a run, but couldn’t make it high enough, finishing 17th for 22.5 points. He still made one more last-ditch effort, entering the WSOP APAC High Roller event late right after being knocked out of the Main Event, but he was unable to make another deep run. Because neither Danzer nor Shack-Harris are part of the November Nine in the WSOP Main Event, neither has any more chances to add points, so Danzer will finish with 923.50 POY points and Shack-Harris ends the year with 829.20 points. None of the members of the November Nine can mathematically eclipse that 923.50 mark, so George Danzer is officially the World Series of Poker Player of the Year.

Everyone knew George Danzer was a very good player before this title run, but even Danzer would probably admit that he didn’t expect this. Prior to this year, he had come close on several occasions, but had never even won one bracelet, let alone three. In 2010, he finished third in the $10,000 Deuce to Seven Draw Event, was the runner-up in the 2012 $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Event, third again in $10,000 No-Limit Duece to Seven Draw Lowball, and made two more final tables in 2013.

Danzer’s goal was likely to finally get over the hump and finally win a WSOP bracelet this year. Now the whole thing has become old hat.

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