The 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year Race has intensified, as the festival plays down to the final events. The rankings experienced a major twist over the past week, with Josh Arieh catapulting to the top spot out of nowhere.
Arieh has won two bracelets so far this year. He emerged victorious in Event #39: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha in October and followed it up with another bracelet win just over a week ago in Event #66: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. He also finished fourth in the WSOP.com High Roller and also recently cashed in the Main Event. Overall, the American poker pro has a total of seven cashes.
Arieh’s current POY rank comes as a surprise, as he wasn’t even in the top 10 last week. But Arieh’s impressive poker background speaks so much about his skills as a player.
Prior to his latest victories at the festival, Arieh had two bracelets under his name, which he won in 1999 and 2005. The biggest score of his career came in 2004 when he finished third in the WSOP Main Event for $2,500,000. Before taking a shot at this year’s WSOP festival, Arieh’s live tournament earnings sat at over $8 million.

2021 WSOP POY Latest Standings

Arieh is currently at the top with 3,379.96 points, with Scott Ball and Jake Schwartz occupying the second and third spots with 2,907.94 and 2,816.45 points respectively. Anthony Zinno is at no. 4 with 2,731 points, followed by Kevin Gerhart at no.5 with 2,726.99 points. Also in the running for the title are Ryan Leng (6th, 2,684.04 points), Tommy Le (7th, 2,618.21 points), and Ben Yu (8th, 2,612.19 points).
Shaun Deeb, who won the title in 2018, is currently at no. 9 with 2,611.07 points. Close behind him is Phil Hellmuth who has earned 2,598.59 points so far at the festival.

Deeb Keen On Winning 2021 WSOP POY

Deeb is good friends with Arieh but he is still keen on stopping him from walking away with the title. To do that, Deeb was forced to do something he’s seldom done before – sell action.
In a tweet, the American poker pro announced his intention to sell action in the upcoming $100,000 NLHE High Roller, and also in the $250K Super High Roller event in a bid to topple Arieh off the top spot. A victory in any of these two events would allow Deeb to do that, assuming Arieh does not secure any more points towards the end of the festival.
Deeb bagged his fifth bracelet this year by winning the $25K Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller. He also cashed in 13 other events, winning more than $1.3 million in total prize money so far. Deeb recently engaged in a Twitter debate with Hellmuth over how POY points are awarded.
Deeb maintained that the POY race should always be about the overall grind, not just the number of bracelets won. Meaning, one can win the title by cashing in plenty of events even without winning a bracelet. This sounds absurd, according to Hellmuth who also criticized the WSOP for their rules in awarding the points. “The Poker Brat” said he’s surprised that Deeb is supporting these rules.
The WSOP POY calculates the points based on the status of a tournament as well as the size of the field. This has made it possible for Arieh to climb to No. 1 despite having fewer cashes than Deeb.

WSOP POY Race Continues

It’s too early to predict at this point who is going to be crowned the 2021 WSOP POY, as many big events are yet to be completed. Arieh could rack up more points and maintain his status till the end, or Deeb and other players could score a huge win over the next few days to surpass Arieh and ultimately take home the title.

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