May 26, 2018
Art Papazyan, the winner of two World Poker Tour titles in Season XVI, has been crowned the Hublot WPT Player of the Year for this season. Papazyan secured 2,450 points, thanks to his two WPT victories and a third cash, and held off a late charge from Joe McKeehen to win the award. For the win, Papazyan earned a Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour Limited Edition watch, plus complimentary accommodation and ground transportation for any WPT Main Tour stop he wishes to attend in Season XVII.
Papazyan had a truly breakout year on the World Poker Tour in Season XVI. He made his first big splash in the Season XVI WPT Legends of Poker when he topped a field of 763 entries to take the title and $668,692. Papazyan’s win in the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event included defeating Phil Hellmuth in heads-up play and denying the WPT Raw Deal host his first WPT title.
Papazyan proved he wasn’t a one-hit wonder when he traveled to WPT Maryland at Live! Casino a few weeks later and won the $3,500 Main Event for $389,405, topping a field of 561 entries. Both wins earned Papazyan 1,200 points to move him into a very comfortable lead with 2,400.
Later in the season, Papazyan finished in 137th place out of 1,309 entries in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Although it was only 50 more points added to his Hublot WPT Player of the Year total, the points helped give Papazyan an added edge heading into the final event of Season XVI, the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic. In that event, McKeehen ran deep and was eyeing a chance to overtake Papazyan. A second-place finish would’ve moved McKeehen into a points tie with Papazyan, but Papazyan would win the tiebreaker with the most money won. Without those extra 50 points, a first- or second-place finish in the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic would give McKeehen the award. Instead, McKeehen needed to finish first. Ultimately, the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion busted in third place and Papazyan was crowned the Hublot WPT Player of the Year for Season XVI.
Papazyan joins a powerful list of WPT Player of the Year winners, including three-time WPT champion Anthony Zinno, two-time WPT champions Jonathan Little and Daniel Negreanu, Betrand “ElkY” Grospellier, and J.C. Tran.
At the 4th Annual American Poker Awards, Papazyan won Breakout Player of the Year thanks to coming out of nowhere to win two WPT titles.