By Sean Chaffin
After a big January for the WPT, the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race has seen some movement. But all isn’t quite settled yet in the standings – as the final table of the WPT Borgata Winter Open may have some bearing on the standings when the final table plays out at HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor Las Vegas on April 1.
Brian Altman (pictured) currently sits in the top spot after his win with 2,100 at the Lucky Hearts Poker Open. He also scored a third-place finish earlier in the season at WPT Maryland. He now has a chance to add to his lead significantly as well as score back-to-back WPT titles. He sits third in chips and if he can win the title will add another 1,400 points for a total of 3,500.
That would be quite a total. The last player to finish with more than 3,000 points came in Season XII when Mukul Pahuja won the title with 3,450 points. For finishing second, Altman would earn 1,200 and take 1,100 points for third.
Whatever the result, Altman is in a big spot to really separate himself from second-place. That spot is now held by Donald Maloney, who added 100 points to his total after finishing 22nd at the Borgata.
Alex Foxen, who earned $1.6 million and 1,400 points for winning the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, falls to third. In fourth is Five Diamond runner-up Toby Joyce, who remains tied with Foxen in points but behind in winnings with just under $1.2 million.
Sitting in fifth place is WPT Montreal champion Geoffrey Hum after earning 50 points for a 98th-place finish at the Lucky Hearts. He now has 1,300 points and $405,807 in winnings. Here’s a look at the remaining players in the Top 10.
6th, Aaron Van Blarcum (1,275 points, $491,233) – Winner of the WPT Legends of Poker.
7th, Milen Stefanov (1,200 points, $545,070) – Winner of the WPT Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.
8th, Kevin Albers (1,200 points, $411,743) – Third-place finisher in the Borgata Poker Open and a 13th-place finish at Bellagio for $107,840.
9th, Simon Brandstrom (1,200 points, $330,000) – Winner of the WPT UK. That remains his sole cash this season.
10th, Peter Neff (1,150 points, $647,040) – Third-place finisher at the Five Diamond following a 14th place finish ($29,560) at the Legends of Poker.
Beyond Altman, one other player at the Borgata Winter Poker Open has a chance to make some waves in the POY standings. Bin Wang already has two cashes this season including a ninth-place finish at the Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open for $53,005. With 350 total POY points already, A win could move him as high as second place.
Additionally, with the final table from the Gardens Poker Championship also paused until filming in March at the HyperX Esports Arena, things could change a bit more depending on how things shake out in Las Vegas. The Gardens champ will earn 1,200 points and move into contention. Chance Kornuth would have 1,250 points if he took it down depending on results over the next two months.
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 – WPT Germany and Fallsview Poker Classic
After a busy January, the WPT takes a European vacation with the €3,300 WPT Germany held at Kings Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The event runs February 18-23 and promises a nice getaway with €1.5 million guarantee. The tour then returns to North America for the CAD$5,000 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic, which runs February 21-23 on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The events should make for nice views and great poker.
The tour then heads back to the West Coast for the L.A. Poker Classic, an historic event featuring a $10,000 freezeout structure. The event runs February 29 to March 4 at the Commerce Hotel and Casino with the final table played out on April 2 at HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor Las Vegas. David Baker took home the title last season for his first WPT title and $1 million.
Players can then head to Northern California for another big event days later for the $5,000 WPT Rolling Thunder at Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, which runs March 7-10. Erkut Yilmaz won the event last season for $303,920, his second of the season on his way to winning Season XVII Hublot Player of the Year honors.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.