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Ashton leads but the race is far from over
The World Series of Poker Player of the Year award is one of the most coveted distinctions a poker player can get and it is based on the results from the many events that take place throughout the year. In the past years, the competition for the POY race would have been already completed by this point but the addition of the WSOP Europe in the rankings and the upcoming WSOP Main Event final table make so that things are just getting warmed up.
There are plenty of players that can make a break for the title and the great number of scenarios that can take place means that the race is wide open as the action moves towards Europe. However, a general shape of the race can be seen after the many events that took place in Las Vegas this summer and the points accumulated from the first edition of the WSOP APAC which took place earlier this year. In total, there have been 66 WSOP events and the Main Event still needs to be played out in early November.
So far, Matthew Ashton (649.75) leads the pack and Daniel Negreanu (598.34) is second after leading for a very long time thanks to his win at the WSOP APAC Main Event for his fifth bracelet. Loni Harwood (487.20) is third, followed by David “Bakes” Baker (475.35) and Donald Nguyen (466.13) to complete the top five players.
The standings will certainly change as the results from the WSOP Main Event come in as well as the seven bracelet tournaments scheduled for the WSOP Europe. The November Nine will get at least 100 points for the POY race, while the winner will earn a cool 500 points; enough to skyrocket him towards the top of the rankings.
If chip leader JC Tran (104.88) wins the Main Event, he will surpass Daniel Negreanu and take second place in the POY race. A few more good runs in Europe would make him a dangerous contender for the title. A win in Las Vegas and one in Paris would almost finish the race but beyond such a big achievement, it is hard for any of the November Nine players to win the Player of the Year award.
Matthew Ashton had a great performance in Las Vegas and finished with four cashes, big ones. He won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for 360 points, finished second in a $5,000 Stud event for 147 points, got another 94 points from a third place finish in a $2,500 Omaha/Stud tournament and added another 49 points from a seventh place finish in a $2,500 Stud event. Having the lead going into Europe will certainly give him a comfortable position and if he manages to make a few deep runs, the POY title is as good as his.
Daniel Negreanu is quite close and the many years of experience he has can give him the edge. However, he hasn’t been doing so well in the past few years, but winning his fifth bracelet in April from the WSOP APAC landed him 360 points. He also finished second in a $2,500 Triple Draw tournament for another 122.5 in Australia and with another five cashes in Vegas, he is well in the running for the POY race.
If any of the two players win a bracelet from the European events, they would have around 900 points, enough to secure a comfortable lead and most likely win the title. However, both players can have good runs and the race might just head for a photo finish if they leave the rest of the contenders in the dust and get good results.