Chad Eveslage Takes WPT Player of the Year, 2022 Success in Stride

Winning the WPT Season XX Player of the Year award was just one of the recent triumphs for Chad Eveslage.

Jeff Walsh
Jan 9, 2023
Chad Eveslage took down the WPT Season XX Player of the Year award.

The WPT World Championship Festival at Wynn Las Vegas was the last chance in 2022 to earn points for the incredibly tight race for the World Poker Tour Season XX Player of the Year award.  And with a number of major events on the schedule, there were still plenty of points up for grabs. So many, in fact, that there were any number of scenarios that could take place that could have supplanted two-time WPT champion Chad Eveslage as the points leader.

But Eveslage wasn’t stressing about it. Sure, he held a slim lead heading into December, but Eveslage is an easy-going vibes kind of guy. It only takes a couple of minutes of being around him to get the sense that he likes to keep things low-key. So when some might be looking over their shoulder at the competition, Eveslage was simply focused on doing what he’d been doing for the better part of two years – posting big-time results. He really wasn’t sweating the POY race at all.

OK…maybe a little.

“I mean I wasn’t super invested,” said Eveslage. “But I was sweating the updates. I was sweating Michael Gathy…I think he could have passed me with a win. Then ‘Cuz’ obviously…I was refreshing the updates, but I wasn’t too gung-ho about it.”

It all worked out for Eveslage. He held on to a 50-point lead over Steve Buckner and added a WPT Player of the Year award to his ever-expanding poker resume.

“My parents will love it. They will love bragging about it,” he laughed.

But as cool as he is about winning the award, he recognizes that 2022 was a special year for him by any metric. Not only did he win his second WPT title at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic he also captured his first WSOP bracelet in a $25K High Roller. That’s two seven-figure scores in a matter of months. Along with his third-place finish at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock N’ Roll Poker Open, Eveslage’s live tournament earnings have soared north of $7 million.

“I know I got a lot better during COVID,” Eveslage said, noting that the past two years have been different. “I was just playing a lot and then I had a good 2021. But a good part of me was, all right, that was just a fluke. And it still kind of is a fluke…but then, 2022 was even better, I did not expect that.

“I mean, I was playing six days a week for most of the day when it was full lockdown. I think a lot of is just good luck too. I think it’s mostly just variance, good luck and then combined with, I did get a little better, I think.”

While Eveslage’s notoriety has certainly spiked in the past two years, he’s no overnight success. The 32-year-old started his discovery of the game in middle school and moved to real money by the time he finished high school. Things were going so well for him that he left college after his first year, and moved from his home state of Indiana to Florida in order to play professionally. He’s been on the grind from Fort Lauderdale for the past eight years, working his way into becoming one of poker’s elite talents.

Receiving the WPT Player of the Year award is just one acknowledgment that he’s earned in the past two years. Add to that the respect of his peers and poker playing public in general. Eveslage’s post-COVID surge has allowed him to push harder and play higher, which has clearly paid off. But make no mistake, for him, poker isn’t about the accolades or attention, it’s more about the results of his hard work – on and off the felt.

“I don’t think I’m going to be the type of guy who goes on a good run and then stops playing…”

“It’s more about the bottom line, I would say,” he said. “I want good players to respect me, more than a wide audience thinking I’m good – which comes along with winning tournaments that’ll have massive fields. Sure, it’s cool, but there’s not that much merit there. It’s mostly just variance…I guess that’s a weird way of saying I would rather win the respect of really good poker pros rather than win titles.”

Right now, he’s got both. He also has the drive to compete. Eveslage says that despite all of his recent successes he has no problem staying motivated. After all this time he still enjoys the game and the competition. He’s not focused too far in the future either, as long as he’s enjoying it, he has plans to keep playing including having his eyes set on playing higher whenever possible including “maybe one day play a Super High Roller [$250K] or something.”

When pressed about what the future may hold, Eveslage settles into his laid-back ways. Like years past, he’ll play all the Florida stops of the WPT, some Las Vegas tournaments…we’ll see. But one thing is sure for the new, reigning WPT Player of the Year – he’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.

“I don’t think I’m going to be the type who goes on a good run and then stops playing, because that does happen to a lot of people, it seems, but I don’t think that’s going to be me.”