On the back of his two WSOP bracelets and 13 cashes, Robert Campbell is officially the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year, but not before plenty of controversy after Daniel Negreanu was incorrectly declared the WSOP POTY.
The 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year race was a hotly contested affair that went down to the wire with several players in the hunt right until the final cards of the season had been dealt. Unfortunately for the WSOP, a misreported result to Daniel Negreanu from during the WSOP had incorrectly promoted Daniel Negreanu to the top of the WSOP POTY leaderboard for the third time, before a correction a few days later awarded Australian Robert Campbell the title.
Heading into the final event of WSOP Europe, only Shaun Deeb remained in contention to win the WSOP Player of the Year as 11 players returned for the penultimate day of play in Event #15: €550 Colossus No-Limit Hold’em Event. With Negreanu in the points lead, Deeb entered the day third in chips and would need at least a fifth-place finish in order to overtake Negreanu. Deeb was dramatically eliminated in 11th place, and Negreanu was declared the WSOP Player of the Year for 2019.
A few days later, Alexander Elenskiy reported an error in Negreanu’s results that gave him an additional cash in Event #68. Once the error was confirmed and fix, Negreanu’s points total went from 4,074.88 and 24 cashes to 3,861.76 and 23 cashes which was enough for Robert Campbell to be awarded the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year title.
2019 WSOP Player of the Year Leaderboard
1st Robert Campbell (Australia) – 3,961.31 points
2nd Shaun Deeb (United States) – 3,917.32
3rd Daniel Negreanu (Canada) – 3,861.76
4th Anthony Zinno (United States) – 3,322.00
5th Phillip Hui (United States) – 3,186.17
6th Daniel Zack (United States) – 3,126.13
7th Dario Sammartino (Italy) – 3,091.03
8th Chris Ferguson (United States) – 2,997.10
9th Kahle Burns (Australia) – 2,983.37
10th Dash Dudley (United States) – 2,860.79
Campbell’s 2019 WSOP campaign saw him win two WSOP bracelets, collect 13 cashes, and amass US$750,843 in WSOP earnings on his way to be crowned the second Australian to win WSOP Player of the Year honours following Jeff Lisandro’s amazing year in 2011.
Controversary would soon follow between Deeb and Negreanu. Deeb believed Negreanu knew of the points error as he was so meticulous during the entire WSOP about the points system and how many points he was getting from each cash. What makes it more frustrating for the four-time WSOP bracelet winner Deeb is that if the correct points were calculated on the leaderboard, his Event #15 result may have been entirely different.
Due to the correction, Deeb would’ve only needed to overtake Campbell in the final event, and he could’ve done so with just a ninth-place finish. Beginning the penultimate day third in chips out of the 11 remaining players, it’s safe to say that Deeb may have applied a different strategy to make the top nine and win his second WSOP Player of the Year title.
“We’d like to offer our sincere and public apology to those players who chased the award,” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said. “It is an amazing thing when poker players pursue history and a sense of sporting honor, and thus it’s a terrible embarrassment for us to stain a great race for the title.”
It is expected that the WSOP Player of the Year procedures will undergo a review in the upcoming months so that an error like this won’t happen again. For Campbell however, he will now be able to enjoy joining the elusive club of WSOP Player of the Year winners such as Negreanu, Lisandro, Deeb, and many more that date back to 2004.
“As long as they put my picture directly over Jeff Lisandro’s it will be really good,” Campbell said after his Event #67 win about potentially being the WSOP Player of the Year. “That’s what I’d want to be done. Just straight over the top.”