Season VI Player of the Year - Jonathan Little
Season VI WPT Player of the Year
The sixth season of the World Poker Tour included 19 tournaments that attracted the best poker players in the world, and at the end of it all, it was 23-year-old Jonathan Little who stood out as the WPT Season VI Player of the Year.
Jonathan Little Dominates the First Half of the Season
Little's journey started nearly a year ago in the first event of the season -- the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown (Las Vegas, NV). It featured one of the toughest final tables in recent WPT memory, including Phil Ivey and fellow online pros Darrell "Gigabet" Dicken and Cory "UGOTPZD" Carroll. Little outlasted them all, winning his first WPT title and starting the season on a high note at the top of the Player of the Year leaderboard.
In the fifth tournament of the season, the WPT Gulf Coast Poker Championship (Biloxi, MS), Little proved his chops by going deep once again. Little was the chipleader with eight players remaining, but it took another four hours to reach the final six for the televised final table -- and Little came up short, finishing seventh. It was a huge disappointment, but Little did pick up some points in the POY race, breaking the tie he held with the other Season VI WPT winners. For the rest of the season, Little would have first place all to himself.
But Little didn't stop there.
The halfway point of Season VI came in late October at the WPT North American Poker Championship (Niagara Falls, Canada). Little's fateful moment came early -- in fact, it was the first level of Day 1. Little had a set of eights against Rhynie Campbell's set of jacks, but the fourth eight fell on the turn to give Little the early chip lead. Little would carry that momentum all the way to the final table, ultimately finishing as the runner-up to Scott Clements. Little fell short of his own expectations, but the second-place finish was enough to completely distance himself from everyone else in the POY race. Halfway through the season, it already looked impossible for anyone to catch Jonathan Little.
Enter Phil Ivey.
Phil Ivey Pursues Player of the Year
Ivey had picked up some POY points when he finished fifth behind Little in the Mirage tournament to start the season, but he had bigger concerns than Player of the Year -- Ivey was still seeking his first WPT title.
Ivey had cashed 7 times, and made 7 final tables. When he made the money at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic (Los Angeles, CA) in February, history suggested he'd be adding to his POY points. Ivey's streak held up, and he reached his record-setting eighth final table, which featured another tough lineup with Phil Hellmuth and Nam Le standing in his way. But Ivey finally closed the deal, winning his first WPT title.
With a WPT title under his belt, Ivey could set his sights on new goals -- like Player of the Year. But he still needed another final table finish.
Ivey didn't wait long, reaching the money at the WPT World Poker Challenge (Reno, NV) less than a month later. It was Ivey's ninth WPT money finish, and every other time he cashed he had made the final table. Little's hold on the POY lead faced its biggest challenge yet.
But then the unthinkable happened; Ivey finished in tenth. His streak of converting cashes into final tables was finally broken, and Ivey missed his best chance yet of securing a Player of the Year title.
A Season to Remember
The soft-spoken Jonathan Little announced his presence with authority in Season VI, earning a total of $1.89 million in four cashes. He reached two final tables, finishing first and second, and just missed another, finishing seventh. His career earnings on the WPT amount to more than $2.4 million.
Little represents a new breed of young online players, with a depth of experience from playing online that contradicts his young age. Little plays a deep, well-rounded game that is respected by online and live pros alike. Quietly confident, Little has definitely established himself as one of poker's rising tournament stars.