By Sean Chaffin
With the conclusion of two WPT events so far in January and two more left to go, the race for the Hublot Player of the Year remains quite a battle. After his win at the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open, Brian Altman earned 1,200 points and vaulted into the top spot.
Altman topped a field of 843 to take home $482,636. He also made some history, becoming the first player two win the same WPT event twice. Now with three Season XVIII cashes including two final table appearances, Altman sits atop the heap with 2,100 points.
“I’m probably going to spend a few days in Philadelphia with some friends, and then head to the WPT event in Borgata. I was already planning to play most of the events the rest of the season in regards to winning WPT Player of the Year. I was going to play them regardless of what happened here,” said Altman.
Altman earned 200 points to start Season XVIII with a 10th place finish at the WPT Legends of Poker and followed that effort up with a third-place result at WPT Maryland that earned him 700 additional points.
That total puts him 700 points above WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic champion Alex Foxen, who earned $1.6 million and 1,400 points for the win. Toby Joyce, the runner-up at Bellagio, is tied with Foxen in points but behind in winnings with just under $1.2 million. He sits in third place but plans on playing more events to compete for the title.
Borgata Poker Open champion Donald Maloney slips to fourth with 1,350 points after snagging his fourth cash this season at Bellagio for another 50 points. He now has $662,056 in winnings.
WPT Montreal champion Geoffrey Hum remains in fifth after earning 50 points for a 98th-place finish at the Lucky Hearts. He now has 1,350 points and $405,807 in winnings. That finish now has Legends of Poker champion Aaron Van Blarcum falling from fourth to sixth with 1,300 points and $491,233 in winnings.
Not much has changed beyond those shifts. Here’s a look at the rest of the Top 10:
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.
Additionally, with a final table of six paused from the Gardens Poker Championship until filming in March at 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.
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 Russia and Borgata Winter Poker Open
WPT Russia is currently underway at Casino Sochi and runs through January 26. That event features a $3,300 buy-in (210,000 rubles) and $1.5 million guarantee (96,250,000 rubles). That result may also have some impact on the POY standings as well.
The $3,500 Borgata Winter Poker Open closes out the month, running January 26-30 and with a $3 million guarantee. 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 for 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.
Following the Borgata, the tour takes another European vacation with the €3,300 WPT Germany held at Kings Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The event runs Feb. 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 Feb. 21-23 on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. It should be a nice few months on the tour with plenty of action in store for players.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.