Tough Sledding: POY Leader Erkut Yilmaz Expects Competitive Fight to the Finish

Apr 13, 2019

By Sean Chaffin

Erkut Yilmaz

Being at the top of the Hublot Player of the Year standings is an enviable position for most poker players, but staying there is a different matter – especially with nine other players within 900 points.

Hublot WPT Player of the Year

Erkut Yilmaz fired his third bullet on Day 1b of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. He knows that one win by anyone in the Top 10 could wipe out his lead and send him backward, so he has some extra incentive to keep cashing in the remaining three events this season.

“It feels good, but it’s going to be tough,” he says of leading the pack. “It’s going to be tough to win. I’m trying to win, but we’ll see what happens.”

Yilmaz has two wins this season: the WPT Borgata Poker Open for $575,112, and the WPT Rolling Thunder for $303,920.

“I was thinking about playing almost every tournament,” he says. “I didn’t play all, but almost every tournament. Of course, I’m hoping for it, but everybody is pretty close to each other. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

With 2,300 points, Yilmaz stands 250 points ahead of WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic winner Dylan Lynde. Rounding out the top five are Linde (2,050 points); Ping Liu (1,900 points); Tony Ruberto (1,850 points); and Jake Schwartz (1,725 points).

The winner has quite a bit to look forward to including:

$15,000 in tournament credits toward events in Season XVIII including accommodations, ground transportation, and food and beverage credits

A special Hublot WPT Player of the Year trophy

A Hublot watch

An award presentation at the Season XVII WPT Tournament Of Champions at ARIA Hotel and Casino

Staying in the hunt also offers some rewards for others at the top of the standings. Second and third place earn $7,500 and $2,500 in WPT buy-in credits.

Yilmaz hopes for a deep run here at the Seminole Hard Rock, and plans on playing the last two events this season at Choctaw and ARIA in May. In the Showdown, the third bullet has worked out better than his first two so far.

“On this one, I’m even right now,” he said laughing before heading off during the dinner break. “So that’s pretty good.”

Next season, Yilmaz says he will play a little fewer events on the WPT, but still plans to be a regular. He also has big plans this summer at the World Series of Poker, where he’s been playing the last seven years. The success on the WPT now has him interested in doing some bracelet hunting.

“I used to play mostly cash games,” he says, “but I think now I’m going to play tournaments,”

With two WPT titles already in Season XVII, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Could two bracelets also be in his future this summer?

Yilmaz responds laughing: “I’ll take that.”

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.

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