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The top 10 runners in the WSOP Player of the Year race are all hoping to win a place in poker history, entry into the WSOP Main Event of 2024 and a unique trophy. Which poker legends are looking good for a run at the title?
With ‘restricted’ events such as the Casino Employees, Seniors, Super Seniors, Ladies and Tag Team events not counting towards WSOP POY points, the players who are already soaring in the top 10 have a big advantage. With points on the board and only the second half of the WSOP to come, having any sort of lead on rivals right now is very important.
One of those is Shaun Deeb. The popular player, who is currently participating in a $1 million weight loss prop bet, won his sixth bracelet of his career earlier this Series and currently sits in third place on the leaderboard. Back in 2018, Deeb won the Player of the Year award with two bracelet wins, four final tables and an amazing 20 cashes as he banked $2.5 million that summer alone. He’s chasing down the current leader, Ian Matakis and Portuguese player Michael Rodrigues, who already has a win and second place in the first four weeks of the WSOP.
Also in the top four is Chris Brewer, whose Super High Roller win might have been overshadowed by allegations of cheating against another player at the table but earned him his first bracelet and $.5.2 million for the biggest top prize of the WSOP so far.
Another player who has won a WSOP bracelet already in 2023 is Josh Arieh, who took down the Limit Hold’em Championship earlier this Series for his fifth WSOP title. He’s joking when he describes his good friend Shaun Deeb’s chances of pipping him to the post.
“It’s dumb*ss Shaun Deeb,” he laughs. “He’s the best player and is running back and forth between tournaments. He can’t wait to look at his ugly picture on the wall!”
In all seriousness, Arieh himself is focusing on his game and will let anything else take care of itself… for now.
“Right now, I’m just playing poker,” he says. “I’m not really thinking about Player of the Year. Thinking about it ruins it, makes it not fun. I’m not multi-regging tournaments; I’m just playing the events I wanna play. The craziness will ensue if I’m still up there in the last week, but right now I’m just playing poker, trying to stay in my seat and cash a ticket.”
Arieh is modest about his own chances, but along with the only double bracelet winner this series, Chad Eveslage, and another player who has taken winner and runner-up positions this summer so far – Michael Moncek – is threateningly close to the leaders in the middle of the top 10.
This year’s WSOP Player of the Year Race will award a 2024 WSOP Main Event seat worth $10,000, a unique trophy and an exclusive Player of the Year banner to be mounted on the wall at Paris or Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas ready for next year’s World Series. Everyone wants their flag to greet others on their way into the arena next year.
Three dangerous players hover at the lower end of the top 10 and could yet spring a surprise on the ‘back nine’ as they fight for the title. Dutch player Jans Arends has already won a high roller to capture his first WSOP bracelet at the live felt and has 1,999 points. Tyler Brown has been remarkably successful, cashing five times already and winning the Mystery Millions event for $1,000,000.
Then we come to Chance Kornuth. The man who is 65th on the all-time money list is also a major threat to anyone looking to sail to victory. Kornuth is chasing gold and so far has an astonishing nine cashes in the 2023 WSOP, including two online. Kornuth’s record is impressive, but his ‘chip leader’ mindset makes him a real threat for those deep runs and at final tables, he is very impressive, having won 22 of the 42 ranking heads-up matches he has played in a career that has yielded $14.7 million in live tournament results alone.
With Dan Zack making the podium places in the latest WSOP Online event, even last year’s winner is not out of the running yet. Were Zack to win, he would become the first player since the Player of the Year race began in 2004 to win in back-to-back years.
Who’ll win this year’s WSOP Player of the Year? It could be the closest race for many years.
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