By Sean Chaffin
After several weeks atop the Hublot WPT Player of the Year standings, Aaron Van Blarcum was bounced to second place at the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open. After notching a 41st-place finish for $12,060 for his third Season XVIII cash, Donald Maloney vaulted to the top spot.
The winner of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in September now has 1,300 points – 25 points ahead of Van Blarcum’s 1,275. The Texan has two cashes this season including winning the WPT Legends of Poker title and finishing 15th at the bestbest Bounty Scramble.
Just behind Maloney is WPT Montreal winner Geoffrey Hum who took home 1,200 points for that win as well as $380,648. Hum also made up some ground after finishing 21st at the Seminole Hard Rock for $19,200. That earned him an additional 50 points and he now sits alone in third with 1,250 points.
Hum is a serious recreational player, but works full time in Toronto, Ontario. It will be interesting to see how many events he plays and if he can battle for the top spot with Maloney and Van Blarcum.
WPT Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open winner Milen Stefanov moves up to fourth after topping a field of 988 entries for $545,070. The win earns him 1,200 points and becomes his first WPT cash. He told WPT that he definitely plans to play more events, so maybe one to watch as well battling for the title.
Sliding to fifth also with 1,200 points is WPT UK champion Simon Brandstrom ($330,000). Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open runner-up Fabian Gumz moves into the sixth-place spot after a payday of $353,380 and 1,000 points. Here’s a look at the rest of the Top 10:
7th – Uke Dauti: WPT Borgata Poker Open (1,000 points, $410,787)
8th – Roger Teska: WPT Gardens Poker Festival champion (1,000 points, $368,475)
9th – Josh Adkins: WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble champion (1,000 points, $331,480)
10th – Nitis Udornpim: WPT Maryland champion (1,000 points, $319,415)
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 – Bellagio Resort and Casino
Viva Las Vegas! The Main Tour finishes out 2019 once again in Sin City at the Bellagio for the historic WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Players can expect a big field and large prize pool in this $10,400 event. Winners of the tournament, which runs from December 16-21, include some of the biggest names like Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Eugene Katchalov, and Chino Rheem. Dylan Linde took down the title last season for more than $1.6 million. There should be more of poker’s elite in the field again this year.
The prize pool is expected to reach $4 million once again, and the winner will receive 1,400 Hublot WPT Player of the Year points. Should a player cashing for the first time in Season XVIII win the event, they will take the lead in the race.
As the new year rolls around, the tour heads back to the West Coast for the WPT Gardens Poker Championship. The property is the only WPT-branded poker room in the world and has become a popular stop with two events each season now. The property is highlighted by fantastic amenities and a relaxed, comfortable environment. The $10,000 buy-in event runs January 9-13 and should offer a nice poker stop to beat the cold winter temperatures. Plan on heading west for plenty of fun and some great poker action.
It will be a busy 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.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.