WSOP Player of the Year Race Heating Up

June 19th, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds

The 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is fast approaching the halfway mark and that means the Player of the Year race is starting to heat up.

Daniel Negreanu WSOP.

Pablo Mariz might be top of the WSOP’s Player of the Year table, but Daniel Negreanu (pictured) is closing in fast. (Image: PokerStars.com)

In 2016, Jason Mercier was the runaway winner of the WSOP Player of the Year title thanks to two bracelet wins, a runner-up spot in the $10,000 Seven Card Razz Championship and a string of money finishes.

This time around, Mercier has cashed in four events to date and finished as high as fifth in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship.

Move Over Mercier It’s Mariz On Top

In spite of these results, Mercier hasn’t managed to crack the top ten so far. Leading the way on June 19 was Canada’s Pablo Mariz with 459.41 points. Although he’s still something of a novice on the live circuit, Mariz has notched up four cashes this year, including an outright win in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker.

As well as being his largest even win, Mariz’s $1,221,407 win in the Millionaire Maker has given him enough points to leapfrog the likes of experienced pros such as David Pham, James Obst and Daniel Negreanu.

But, given the wealth of talent behind him, it’s likely Mariz will have to post a few more big results if he’s going to maintain his position at the top of the leaderboard.

Indeed, when Mercier won the title in 2016 he notched up 11 cashes, while Mike Gorodinsky managed eight on route to the title in 2015.

Negreanu Looming Large

Perhaps the biggest threat to Mariz and everyone else on the leaderboard at the moment is Negreanu.

Having won the Player of the Year title twice already, the Canadian pro made it clear he was gunning for a third title this summer. In a blog post outlining his schedule ahead of the WSOP, Negreanu explained that he’s going to be pressuring players with the clock if they try to stall and using sleep as his secret weapon.

Unlike players that are still fairly new to the WSOP, Negreanu has been cashing at the summer festival for almost two decades. During that time he’s learned how to manage his schedule and avoid the excesses of Las Vegas.

As part of his annual strategy, Negreanu even parks a luxury RV in the Rio car park so he can get some proper rest and relaxation away from the crowds during breaks. This has tactic has resulted in Negreanu consistently ranking among the top players at the WSOP.

In fact, with six cashes in 2017, including a second place finish in $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, it looks as though Negreanu might not only win a bracelet, but clinch another Player of the Year title.

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