Long-time coming: Brian Altman finally wins WPT Player of the Year

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on 04/27/2021

If not for the global health pandemic, Brian Altman would have shipped the WPT Player of the Year award 12 months ago. On Monday, he was finally awarded the title he long deserved.

The current season of the World Poker Tour was supposed to conclude in May 2020. But the pandemic forced the cancellation of half the season’s events. So, the WPT decided to extend the season into 2021, and that season is now wrapping up in South Florida with the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.

Altman’s 2019-2021 season was one of the most impressive in WPT history. And he still has a shot to make it even more impressive next month. The poker pro won the Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for $482,636, and finished third in the WPT Maryland Live event. On top of that, he finished 10th in the WPT Legends of Poker at the famous Bicycle Club in Los Angeles.

Running up the score

But he isn’t even done yet. Altman reached the final table of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City back in January 2020. That final table was set to run in early April 2020 at the Luxor in Las Vegas, but COVID-19 ruined those plans.

It took the WPT staff more than a year to reschedule the final table. That will happen next month in Las Vegas at the PokerGO Studio. Altman is one of six remaining players — he’s third in chips — and has an opportunity to win his second World Poker Tour title of the season. Each of those six individuals has already been paid 6th place money ($143,264), but they’re all chasing the $674,840 1st place prize.

Altman received his guaranteed 700 WPT Player of the Year points for 6th place. If he wins the tournament, he’ll receive an extra 500 points. But he doesn’t need them. The Massachusetts native already has 2,900 points, giving him a 700-point lead over Jack Hardcastle and a 900 point lead over Qing Liu.

Hardcastle and Liu both needed to win or at least reach the final table of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown to catch Altman in the Player of the Year race. And even if they did, Altman would have been able to regain the lead at the Borgata Winter Poker Open final table. They were unable to pull it off, so that means Brian Altman is finally the World Poker Tour’s 2019-2021 season Player of the Year. It’s been a long time coming for the MA poker pro who we all knew would eventually take the crown.

Altman’s success over the past World Poker Tour season was no fluke. He’s an accomplished poker player with more than $4.5 million in lifetime live tournament cashes. During the 2018-2019 WPT season, he came close to winning Player of the Year, if only he could have run hot late in tournaments. He cashed in seven events, including a 9th place finish in the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble.

Altman won his first World Poker Tour event back in 2015, in the Lucky Hearts Poker Open, the same tournament he shipped last year. If he has another big year or two, he could eventually replace Darren Elias, who holds the record for WPT cashes and titles, as the G.O.A.T. of the World Poker Tour.

Featured image source: Flickr