Ian Matakis extends lead as 2023 WSOP POY race enters final days

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: July 16, 2023 10:57 pm EDT

The World Series of Poker’s 2023 Player of the Year chase has entered the home stretch, and Minnesota’s Ian Matakis has expanded his lead, giving him a large but not insurmountable edge as results from just a handful of events remain to be tallied.

The WSOP’s annual POY race tends to enter a lull during the Main Event’s first week as fewer other events are running at the same time, and none of the top 2023 POY contenders made a deep run in the Main. However, Matakis recently connected for a third-place finish in Event #82: $3,000 6-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha, where he collected $205,696 and 509.6 POY points.

The third-place showing was Matakis’s fourth final-table effort of the series, including his bracelet win in an online event in June. He’s also made the final two tables in three other events and has logged an impressive 19 cashes in this year’s WSOP.

Matakis’s current POY points total of 4,598.18 has him 770 points of the current second-place player, Chris Brewer, who has 3,828.16 to date. Brewer is narrowly ahead of Shaun Deeb, Josh Arieh, and Jesse Lonis, who hold down the third, fourth, and fifth spots.

No other player is within a thousand points of Matakis’s current total, and in rough terms, that’s the number of points that can be earned by winning an event other than the Main Event itself, which this year will give over 1,700 POY points to the winner. The current gap between Matakis and the next four players means that one of those four would have to win one of the final few events to overtake Matakis, while hoping that he doesn’t add even more points to his current total.

As has been the case since 2021, the POY race includes events only from the annual summer WSOP in Las Vegas, plus the associated online events. For several years, ending in 2019, the WSOP Player of the Year race also included bracelet events from the early-fall WSOP Europe series, though that is no longer the case.

When the last 2023 WSOP event wraps in a few more days, the overall POY leader will earn a $10,000 seat into the 2024 Main Event, along with a large banner that will hang in the rafters of either the Horseshoe or Bally’s ballrooms, alongside previous POY winners, during the WSOP in future years.

The top ten in the 2023 WSOP Player of the Year race entering the final days are as follows:

  1. Ian Matakis – 4,598.18
  2. Christopher Brewer – 3,828.16
  3. Shaun Deeb – 3,770.68
  4. Josh Arieh – 3,738.05
  5. Jesse Lonis – 3,616.69
  6. Michael Rodrigues Pires Santos – 3,462.89
  7. Chad Eveslage – 3,199.40
  8. Chance Kornuth – 3,042.07
  9. David “ODB” Baker – 2,980.63
  10. Alex Livingston – 2,860.23