Josh Arieh ended up winning the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year. Arieh has had a successful run at this year’s festival, cashing in 11 live events and two online events, winning two bracelets, and taking home more than $1.1 million in earnings.
Challenges From Hellmuth and Negreanu
Arieh’s name only emerged in the WSOP POY leaderboard just over a week ago, when the festival was down to its final events. He was nowhere near the top 10 as the month began, thus, he was not considered among the frontrunners for the title, though he already won a bracelet earlier at the series when he took down Event #39: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed). He also cashed in three other events before reaching the top spot.
He climbed to no.1 out of nowhere after finishing 6th in the $50K Poker Players Championship and subsequently bagging a second bracelet in Event #66: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Championship.
As the series played down to its last events, Arieh’s POY rank was challenged by the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Shaun Deeb, all of whom also enjoyed incredible runs at this year’s festival.
But the 47-year-old held on to the top spot till the end, earning more points after finishing strong in Event #73: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship (9th), Event #84: $50,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha (7th), and Event #86: $1,000 Super Turbo No-Limit Hold’em (10th).
Arieh admitted to being surprised at winning the 2021 WSOP POY.
Hellmuth Falls Short of Winning POY
Josh Arieh’s closest competitor in the POY race was Hellmuth who also had an excellent run in the series. The Poker Brat has set a new record by making the final table in seven bracelet events in a single year, a record previously held by An Tran who, in 1993, reached six final tables. Hellmuth also won his 16th bracelet in October, extending his own record of winning the most number of bracelets. He finished second twice at the series.
Both Hellmuth and Arieh took a shot at the final tournament of the series, Event #88: $5,000 8-Handed No-Limit Hold’em. A victory in this event would have allowed Hellmuth to surpass Arieh in the POY race but it did not happen as he fell short of making the money. Arieh also busted on Day 1, wrapping up his 2021 WSOP run with 4,194.59 points. Hellmuth currently ranks 2nd, with 3,644.09 points, followed by Daniel Negreanu at No. 3 with 3,531.03 points.
Deeb Still Gunning for 6th Bracelet
Meanwhile, Shaun Deeb’s chances of winning his sixth bracelet are still alive as he is still competing in the final tournament, but his dream of taking home the 2021 WSOP POY title has now been crushed. Even if he ends up winning Event #88, it wouldn’t be enough to dethrone Arieh. Deeb is at no. 10 on the leaderboard with 2,895.75 points.
Arieh Dedicates Win to Daughters
Reacting to his incredible WSOP run and his POY victory this year, Arieh said it’s cool and at the same time weird. He said his latest achievement means a lot as it will make her daughters proud.
Arieh now has four bracelets to his name, the first two he won back in 1999 and 2005. He finished third in the 2004 WSOP Main Event for a career-best score of $2,500,000. After his latest victories, Arieh’s total live earnings have now climbed to $9.2 million, putting him second in Georgia’s all-time money list, and 60th in the whole of US.