WSOP Announces Changes to 2018 POY Criteria

Poker hand with two kings and flop of two more kings

The World Series of Poker will add emphasis to bracelet wins and high finishes for its 2018 Player of the Year (POY) race.

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has announced changes in the criteria used to determine the WSOP’s annual Player of the Year (POY) award. Billed as “updated and improved” and developed in response to player feedback, the WSOP formula has been adjusted to award a larger share of points to bracelet winners and final-table finishers.

The annual POW award is often a topic of controversy and 2017 was no exception. A formula specially designed for 2017 offered a flatter points scale than in earlier years. The result was that players who logged numerous “min-cashes” in events fared far better in the POY race than before.

Though the math behind the 2017 POY formula was sound, the WSOP has acknowledged that some of its more dedicated pros want to reverse at least some of 2017’s changes. In reality, a large part of the blowback the WSOP received may have been because the ultimate winner of the 2017 POY race, Chris Ferguson, is widely viewed as a pariah in the poker world. The once-hugely-popular Ferguson played a prominent role in the failed Full Tilt Poker site, which closed its doors after 2011’s “Black Friday” crackdown.

The WSOP said this about the new 2018 formula:

The most significant difference between 2017 and 2018 is the ratio of points awarded for a win vs. points awarded for a min-cash. In 2017, the examples above range from 3.25:1 (for the $10,000 PLO/8) to 8.16:1 (for the Main Event). In 2018, that ratio is always roughly 20:1.

The overall winner [Ferguson] from 2017 would have remained unchanged. The winner’s point total would have been 3,309 points from 23 cashes, including 1 bracelet, one runner-up finish, and one additional final table.

The WSOP also noted that the formula is “loosely based” on the formula used to calculate Casino Championship points on the long-running WSOP Circuit series. In that series, each stop sends an overall points leader to the season-ending Casino Championship. Modifiers in the WSOP’s new system include, as would be expected, the number of entrants and the size of the buy-in for any given event.

The WSOP’s annual Player of the Year also receives a valuable prize in addition to bragging rights, often an entry into a high buy-in, high-profile WSOP event, as occurred in 2017. The WSOP has not yet announced whether a similar prize will be offered in 2018.

As was the case in 2017, the WSOP has announced that a points calculator will be available on the WSOP website once the WSOP begins at the end of May. This will allow players to see approximately how many points they’ll receive for any given event, based on the number of total entries and finishing place. As was also the case last year, those points for any given event and an in-the-money finish will also be shown in the individual event results and prize pool tabs.

The World Series of Poker has also created a table showing a points comparison between 2017 and 2018 for a handful of prominent events. The table illustrates the sharp contrast in points awarded to any given event’s bracelet winner:

 

Event

Entries

2017 Points System

2018 Points System

Winner

Runner-Up

9th Place

Min-Cash

Winner

Runner-Up

9th Place

Min-Cash

MAIN EVENT

7,221

433.2

360.6

215.3

53.1

1,694

847

424

85

Millionaire Maker

7,761

315.7

268.9

141.7

38.7

1,341

671

335

67

$1,500 NLHE

1,956

222.7

189.7

95.8

38.7

1,129

565

282

56

$10,000 PLO/8

207

172.1

146.6

70.4

52.9

1,087

543

272

54

— Source: WSOP.com