WSOP to Change Player of the Year Formula for 2018

The World Series of Poker has announced that it will change the formula it uses to calculate the 2018 WSOP’s Player of the Year (POY) award. The basic thrust of the award, according to a release published by the WSOP earlier today, is that the WSOP will return some of earlier years’ emphasis on bracelet winners and top finishes in open events.

The changes come in the wake of another contentious year of debate regarding the prestigious POY award, which typically carries prizes well into four digits. 2017’s wide-open POY race ended up being won by Chris Ferguson of Full Tilt Poker infamy, who logged a record 23 cashes – 17 during the summer WSOP and six more at last autumn’s WSOP Europe – to secure the coveted and valuable honor. Under the new formula, the WSOP noted, Ferguson would have won the honor anyway.

Also, there’s a good chance that quite a bit of the pushback the WSOP received regarding the 2017 POY race and formula was due to the much-maligned Ferguson winning that honor, rather than with any true faults with the formula itself. That 2017 POY formula went through sound mathematical analysis, though it was perceived by many players as being too rewarding for min-cash finishes.

As a result, and in direct response to ongoing player feedback, the 2018 POY system will add back at least some of its prior emphasis on the highest finishers in any given event. The revision is likely to be particular well received by the so-called “bracelet hunter” pros, who participate in many of the WSOP’s small-field, uncommon-variant events.

For a bit of inspiration, World Series of Poker officials have turned to their popular WSOP Circuit tour. Each stop on that tour, typically consisting of 12 official ring events, also awards Casino Championship points. Each series’ Casino Championship leaderboard winner joins that Circuit stop’s main event winner in collecting a free seat into the Circuit’s season-ending championship.

The WSOP POY race also typically awards seats as prizes. Last year’s POY chase awarded two such seats, one to last falls WSOP Europe main event in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, and another to this summer’s WSOP Main Event. (Ferguson collected both seats after narrowly winning the summer WSOP race.)

According to the WSOP, “The most significant difference between 2017 and 2018 is the ratio of points awarded for a win vs. points awarded for a min-cash. In 2017, the examples above range from 3.25:1 (for the $10,000 PLO/8) to 8.16:1 (for the Main Event). In 2018, that ratio is always roughly 20:1.”

As in previous years, certain non-open and specialty events are excluded from receiving POY points. For the summer’s 2018 WSOP, that includes these events:

  • Event #1: $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em
  • Event #32: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em
  • Event #36: Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em
  • Event #55: $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em
  • Event #57: $1,000/$10,000 Ladies Event
  • Event #78: $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop

Events in which a player can cash more than once, such as the Colossus, will award points only once to any multi-cashing player. Heads-up and shootout events award POY points, but those are based on the round in which a player is bounced, rather than the specific order in which those exits occur.

As was the case in 2017, the WSOP will provide an online points calculator through which in-the-money players can calculate an approximation of their expected POY points in any given event. Final-table finishers will find those POY points published in that event’s recap as well.

Overall, the WSOP’s 2018 Player of the Year race will include the World Series of Poker at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (May 29 – July 17) and WSOP Europe at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic (Oct 11-Nov 2), excepting that small number of excluded events.

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