By Sean Chaffin
A win at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic brought enough points for the champion to move into the top spot in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. That distinction goes to Alex Foxen, who took the title, $1.6 million, and 1,400 points in the POY race.
“I definitely think those are legacy building-type things,” he said after his win about the POY race. “That definitely means something to me for sure. I think I’ve only played maybe one other WPT event this year. I’ve been at a lot of other stops when they’ve been going on so I haven’t gotten the opportunity to play them, so I may have to try and fit more in to give myself a shot at that.”
The event added quite a shakeup to the standings with four players moving into the Top-10 after the event. A runner-up finish at Bellagio wasn’t only good for Toby Joyce financially, but also moved him into a tie with Foxen for the lead with 1,400 points. He won $1.1 million for his big finish after a 12th-place finish at the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open that earned him $42,265 and 200 points.
Donald Maloney drops to third with 1,350 points after snagging his fourth cash this season at Bellagio. The champion of the WPT Borgata Poker Open grabbed another 50 points at Bellagio after finishing 101st for $19,345, but slides below Foxen and Joyce.
Aaron Van Blarcum slides to fourth place with 1,275 points. The Texan has two cashes this season, winning the WPT Legends of Poker and 15th at the WPT bestbest Bounty Scramble. He plans to keep chasing the title and play most events the remainder of the season.
Coming in fifth is WPT Montreal ($380,648) winner Geoffrey Hum. He earned 1,200 points for that win and 50 for finishing 21st at the Seminole Hard Rock for $19,200. Here’s a look at the players rounding out the Top 10:
6th: Milen Stefanov (1,200 points, $545,070) – Winner of the WPT Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.
7th: Kevin Albers (1,200 points, $411,743) – Third-place finisher in the Borgata Poker Open vaults into the Top-10 after a 13th-place finish at Bellagio for $107,840.
8th, Simon Brandstrom (1,200 points, $330,000) – Winner of the WPT UK slides down from sixth.
9th, Peter Neff (1,150 points, $647,040) – Moves into the Top-10 after a third-place finish at the Five Diamond following a 14th place finish ($29,560) at the Legends of Poker earlier in the season.
10th, Seth Davies (1,100 points, $827,285) – A third-place finish at the Five Diamond launches Davies into the Top-10.
What Can You Win in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year Race?
As the official timekeeper and official watch of the World Poker Tour, Hublot is once again the presenting sponsor of the WPT Player of the Year award for Season XVIII. The company will be awarding a custom Hublot timepiece to the winner of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. In addition, the Season XVIII winner receives $15,000 in WPT tournament buy-in credits and complimentary accommodations at all WPT Main Tour events in Season XIX.
Prizes will also be awarded for the second- and third-place finishers in the race. The runner-up will receive $7,500 in WPT tournament buy-in credits and third place will receive $2,500 in buy-in credits. Credits can be used in any global WPT event, including the Main Tour, WPTDeepStacks, WPT500, and WPT Special Events.
Next Stop on WPT Main Tour – Gardens Casino
With the holiday season soon in the rearview mirror, rounders may be ready to get back to the action. The tour heads back to Southern California for the WPT Gardens Poker Championship as part of a busy January. The property is the only WPT-branded poker room in the world and has become a popular stop with two events each season. The Gardens Casino is highlighted by a great atmosphere and a relaxed, comfortable environment. Should the prize pool reach at least $4 million at the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, the winner will receive 1,400 Hublot WPT Player of the Year points.
The $10,000 buy-in event runs January 9-13 and the final table becomes the first this season that will be filmed for FOX Sports regional television at the HyperX Esports Arena on March 31 at Luxor Las Vegas. Book that flight and get ready for some great poker.
The tour picks up more steam in January as the WPT heads back to South Florida January 17-22 for the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock with a $2 million guarantee. The popular event was off the schedule last season but returns for Season XVIII. WPT Russia then cranks up at Casino Sochi January 21-26. That event features a $3,300 buy-in (210,000 rubles) and $1.5 million guarantee (96,250,000 rubles). There should be plenty of winter poker fun on the tour and players won’t want to miss out.
The Borgata Winter Poker Open closes out the month, running January 26-30. The Borgata is one of the hottest poker spots on the East Coast and this event will be the second event in Season XVIII filmed to television. Don’t miss an opportunity to play at a televised final table in Las Vegas and plan to be in Atlantic City for the fun.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.