WSOP Changes Player of the Year Formula
18 April 2018
PokerBrave (3446 articles)
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On Thursday, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) announced that it has made changes to the WSOP Player of Year points formula, based very much on feedback from players.

The WSOP Player of the Year formula has gone through several iterations over the years. POY standings began in 2004 and from then through 2010, the World Series of Poker had its own formula. From 2011 through 2014, poker media outlet Bluff took over as caretaker of the rankings. For the next two years, the WSOP used the Global Poker Index’s proprietary formula, and last year, King’s Casino took care of the rankings.

It is probably impossible to come up with the perfect tournament rankings system and no matter how the formula is massaged, not everyone will be pleased with it. The biggest problem with last year’s formula was that it rewarded high volume, min-cash players way too much. Most of the players at the top of the WSOP Player of the Year standings were very deserving, but the weakness of the formula was on display with the winner, poker’s persona non grata, Chris Ferguson.

On top of being a guy that almost nobody wanted to see rewarded, Ferguson’s rise to the top of the standings was fueled by tiny cashes. He cashed 17 times in the traditional WSOP in Las Vegas and another 6 times at WSOP Europe. In Las Vegas, most of his cashes were in the four-figure range, which is a lot of money for me, but nearly nothing for a WSOP event. He did make two final tables, so that’s good. In Europe, he won a bracelet in a €1,650 buy-in event with fewer than 100 players.

It’s not that Ferguson performed poorly at the WSOP – 23 cashes is certainly some nice work – but it wasn’t a performance that felt deserving of Player of the Year.

In the meantime, David Bach won two bracelets – one in a $10,000 championship event – and had an 11th place finish among his five cashes, and was only able to finish 87th in the POY standings.

Thus, the WSOP has adjusted its formula, trying to achieve a balance of rewarding both consistency (number of cashes) and deep runs. The new formula, the WSOP says, is loosely based on the WSOP Circuit’s points system.

The most significant change is that bracelet wins are weighted much more heavily than they have been. In examples given in a press release, the points awarded for a win ranged from 3.25 to 8.16 times the points awarded for a min-cash. This year, the winner of an event will usually win around 20 times the points of someone who min-cashes.

According to the WSOP, Chris Ferguson still would have been Player of the Year last year, so the changes aren’t that good. Interestingly, the article the WSOP put out about the new formula did not mention Ferguson by name, just referring to him as the “winner.” Could be a coincidence, but I choose to believe it was done purposely.