If you ask a typical professional poker player who they’re voting for in the “People’s choice poker personality of the year award,” they will likely look at you with complete confusion. Assuming you manage to convince them that such an award exists, they may cringe visibly before hastily changing the subject to something of actual interest to professional poker players.
For the most part, serious poker players simply don’t care about the celebrity culture in which some media outlets try to immerse the great game. Thus their interest in awards ceremonies is slim to none, and Slim is out of town. The notable exception is a quantifiable, merit-based poker award, that is invariably linked in some way to the amount of money a player has won.
One recurring example is the WSOP Player of the Year Award, which Josh Arieh won in 2021. Twice. The latest installment of “WSOP finds math hard” was announced via Twitter by the omnipresent Kevin Mathers:
“Well, looks like we have a WSOP POY sweat after all. The results for @WSOPcom Online Bracelet 10 are still not uploaded yet, and @benyupoker finished 57th, which means if he wins the $5k NL 8-Max, he’ll be WSOP POY winner after all.”
Fortunately for everyone other than Ben Yu, blushes were spared, and the presumptive winner happily announced he was also the official winner:
“Just kidding… apparently I actually DID win shit.”
Online title still undecided
In some ways, the WSOP.com Player of the Year Award is an even greater test of consistency, since points are accumulated over an entire calendar year. The current favorite is Mike Holtz, who recently celebrated his first WSOP jewelry when he won a gold ring in the Paris Las Vegas online circuit series:
“Woooo! Won my first ring in the $215 for 16.6k. So relieved to finally win one!!”
Holtz’s online handle is “BrockLesnar”. That moniker will be familiar to almost anyone who puts in any tournament action on the site.
The formula that determines player-of-the-year points on WSOP.com favors larger buy-in events, with a points multiplier for major series on the platform; typically those awarding gold rings or bracelets. The only significant remaining series on the WSOP.com calendar is the Harrah’s Las Vegas Online Circuit, scheduled for December 8 – 19.
With a limited number of points up for grabs, the only challenger likely to knock Holtz off the top spot is Krista “Pollux” Gifford. The winner of the award in 2019, Gifford certainly has the experience and talent to regain the title, but the end-of-year clock is ticking down for the New Jersey player.
Along with the prestige of being named the best player over an entire year of play, the award comes with a $10,000 cash prize, a ring, and an additional $1,500 in WSOP.com tournament tickets.
Featured image source: WSOP.com