WSOP POY Data-Entry Error Uncovered, Robert Campbell Awarded Honor
An unexpected turn of events involving the 2019 Player of the Year (POY) chase has changed the winner of this year’s award from Daniel Negreanu to Australian pro Robert Campbell. Negreanu had seemingly won the honor five days ago with the ending of the World Series of Poker Europe festivities in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.
However, Russian poker writer Alex Elenskiy, researching a POY piece, discovered something amiss: Negreanu and 14 other players had been credited with POY points in an event during the summer’s main WSOP in which they did not cash, nor, in most instances, even participate. The 15 players had cashed in Event #87 to earn POY points, but Elenskiy discovered the 14 others had those same results entered into the database for Event #68, which had concluded more than a week earlier.
The erroneous data entry the Event #68 results likely overwrote the original results, and the erroneous entries and corresponding POY points were then picked up the WSOP’s once-per-day automated update of the cumulative POY points chase. Negreanu gained an extra 213.1 points because of the error; he was the only one of the 15 players who received unearned points where the error impacted the POY outcome.
And affect it did, in a major way. Originally, the final WSOP points calculation showed Negreanu on top with 4,074.9 points, ahead of Campbell’s 3,961.3 and Shaun Deeb’s 3,917.3. With the extra points removed, Negreanu’s total dropped to 3,861.8, leaving him in third, with Campbell now declared the winner.
The WSOP was quick to react to the situation. “After being alerted earlier today of a possible error in our Player of the Year standings, we immediately began to investigate it,” the WSOP wrote in a statement. “We have confirmed a data entry error was made in our uploading of results into the backend [of] our website for WSOP Event #68, affecting places 32-46.”
The statement then went on to detail the discovery and removal of the extra points from Negreanu’s total, which bumped Campbell to first and Deeb into second. The POY standings on the WSOP.com front page remained unchanged until the automated overnight update, which has since occurred and now shows Campbell as the 2019 WSOP winner.
“We’d like to offer our sincere and public apology to those players who chased the award,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “It s an amazing thing when poker players pursue history and a sense of sporting honor, and thus it’s a terrible embarrassment for us to stain a great race for the title. We’re going to take the next few months to overhaul the POY and many of our procedures that have gone off course.” The WSOP also noted, “We deeply regret this error.”
It was perhaps a stroke of minor good fortune amid a bad situation that no money or major prize was involved, unlike previous years when one or more major-event seats were up for grabs. However, several of the top POY points earners from the summer WSOP traveled to Rozvadov in large part to continue the chase, including both Negreanu and Deeb, who narrowly trailed Campbell as the WSOP Europe slate began.
However, the two reacted in markedly different ways to the error’s discovery. Negreanu, who is known to meticulously track results, nonetheless claimed he was not aware of the extra 213 points having been added to his total, and he issued a lengthy and warm statement congratulating Campbell on his belated POY triumph. Negreanu also reiterated some of the changes he’d like to see made to the annual POY chase; though several of those are good, none of them would have had any impact on the data-error situation that caused this snafu.
Deeb, however, tweeted a rant accusing Negreanu of cheating, by having known that his total was 213 points too high. A heated Deeb wrote, “Two things Its amazing Daniel wouldn’t bet on me with poy cuz he was afraid I would cheat when he’s the one caught trying to cheat. Second the only acceptable move from @WSOP is co poy with me and @SonicJaxx2019 (Campbell).”
The main problem with such a co-POY honor is that Deeb didn’t come out on top in either scenario, meaning with the extra points either included or properly removed. Deeb also alluded to the possibility that he could have played the final WSOP Europe differently, when he had one of the larger near-final-table stacks, but crashed out in 11th place. Deeb thought h needed a fifth-place finish or higher to overtake Negreanu, but as it turned out, a ninth-place finish would have bumped him ahead of Campbell for the POY honor.
However, all three players could — and likely would — have played the final WSOP events differently had the points error been discovered earlier or not occurred at all.