Can Hellmuth finally win the WSOP player of the year?

Fox Wallace
Published by:
Posted on October 26, 2021 8:10 am EDT

Phil Hellmuth has finished second in the Player Of the Year race at the World Series Of Poker an astounding three times. And, as you can see from the video below, he really wants it. He remembers each of the players who beat him and how it happened. Having his face on yet another banner at the WSOP would be a crowning achievement for the poker brat, and this year he has a real shot at it with an incredibly hot start. 

Phil Hellmuth Discusses the 2021 Player Of the Year race after winning his sixteenth bracelet. (Video: Chris Wallace)

As we approach the halfway point of the series, Hellmuth is in the lead with 2,598.59 points, 367.49 points ahead of his nearest competitor, and the recent recipient of a Hellmuth tirade, Anthony Zinno. The race is nowhere near over, and Hellmuth was ahead all three times in the past, only to be surpassed late in the series. But with an incredible six cashes, five final tables, and a bracelet, he has put himself in a very strong position. 

The GOAT strikes again

There can be no doubt about Hellmuth’s position as the greatest WSOP player ever. His sixteen bracelets are so far ahead of his competition that it doesn’t look like anyone will ever catch him. But Hellmuth always wants more, and the POY losses seem to really stick with him. You bet he’ll be working extra hard this year to get that banner and add yet another award to justify his belief that he is the greatest tournament player ever.

Hellmuth narrowly missed his 17th WSOP bracelet when Adam Friedman defeated him in the 2021 WSOP Event #36 $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Championship. Aside from his three POY losses, Hellmuth has finished runner-up in an astounding 12 WSOP bracelet events. Comparisons to NFL GOAT Tom Brady suggest themselves. Brady has lost three Super Bowls and 11 post-season games. You have to lose a lot of big games to win as big as Hellmuth.

To achieve Player of the Year status, players have to win in events with a certain list of criteria:

The path to Player of the Year

  • Event buy-ins must generally be at least the equivalent of US $300, calculated with their entry fee.
  • At least 50 entrants or a prize pool of at least $250,000 and 10 entrants.
  • Open to the public or prize pool of at least $500,000. No specialty events.
  • No regularly scheduled events.
  • Player must make money and reach the final table.
  • Online events may qualify if part of a live tournament series.

This year also features a leaderboard that only counts no-limit events. Jason Koon sits atop that leaderboard after a great start to his series. He’s followed closely by two-time bracelet winner Daniel Lazrus, fresh off a win in the Millionaire Maker, and Scott Ball, creator of Twitch Poker and winner of the $5,000 six-max no-limit holdem event.

You can see both leaderboards at the WSOP POY Leaderboard Page.