BLOG – The WSOP Player of the Year Race needs review

BLOG – The WSOP Player of the Year Race needs review

Friday, 5 November 2010

At the 2010 World Series of Poker, Frank Kassela won two bracelets ($2,500 Razz and $10,000 Stud 8) as well as making one other final table in the immensely tough $25,000 6-max event and netting a total of over $1.2m from his three final tables and three cashes. He leads the Player of the Year race and deservedly so.

But now listen to this – if Michael Mizrachi wins the Main Event, which is a big but not leviathan ‘if’, he will draw the Player of the Year race with both him and Kassela on 290 points apiece. Let’s compare: in this hypothetical situation, Mizrachi will have won the $10,000 Main Event; the $50,000 Players’ Championship and final tabled the $10,000 Limit Hold ‘em and $10,000 Stud events. What is wrong with this?

Everything. How on earth can you win the Main Event, the pinnacle of all poker victories, as well as the toughest and most prestigious field in the shape of the $50,000 8-game Players’ Championship AND final table two further $10,000 events in two other poker disciplines for a total cash of over $10.2m and not win the Player of the Year award? It’s absolutely beyond me.

The point model is skewed, with 100 awarded for first place down to say 7 for 40th. But how is a 23rd place finish in the Main Event (an incredible run of poker over eight or nine days of play) equal in points to a 23rd place finish in a $1,500 Omaha 8 event? How is a win in the $25,000 6-max event worth 100 points, the same as a win in one of the $1,000 NL events?
The point system needs to take into account field sizes, the difficulty of the field (let’s face it; the $3,000 HORSE has a harder field than the $5,000 NL) and – in Mizrachi’s case – the general awesomeness of his achievement. Well, hypothetical achievement – I forget he hasn’t actually won the Main Event yet.

However, I concede that there are so many variables in making one tournament worth more than another that the points system should be scrapped overall. You obviously need a quantifiable statistic or two – how about total cashes, final tables and wins? Then a panel of independent judges – much like for the Poker Hall of Fame – could review the performances of the best players at the WSOP and decide based on their own judgement. For me, it’s not even close that Mizrachi should be ahead of John Juanda and Vladimir Schmelev in the race for Player of the Year; the latter two have nine final tables between them (including five-figure buy-in events) but the fact that Mizrachi has won the toughest, most prestigious event and has made it to the November Nine as well as two other final tables – I’m getting annoyed just writing this, he’s such an obvious Player of the Year winner that it shouldn’t even be up for discussion.

Sort it out, WSOP.

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