Well, this is embarrassing. In common with the vast majority of the poker world, PokerStars Blog spent last week basking in the glory of Daniel Negreanu’s third World Series Player of the Year award, won after a long grind in Rozvadov followed a superlative showing in Las Vegas. The article below shows that. But thanks to an eagle-eyed Russian poker reporter, it appears that the celebrations should have been going on in Robert Campbell’s household instead.
Alex Elenskiy, the reporter, noticed that some additional points had been added to Negreanu’s POY points total that he hadn’t necessarily earned. There appeared to have been some kind of miscalculation. The WSOP investigated and discovered that Elenskiy was right: Negreanu had been given 213.1 points my mistake, and when they were subtracted, Negreanu slipped to third in the overall standings. Campbell was first and Shaun Deeb now second.
The WSOP issued a long statement (see below) in which it offered a “sincere and public apology to those players who chased the award”, describing the error as “a terrible embarrassment for us to stain a great race for the title”. The organisation promised an overhaul of the POY calculations.
Congratulations, then, to Robert Campbell, who became the second Australian to win the POY. “Congrats mate!” Negreanu tweeted to Campbell. “Well deserved champ.” Negreanu expanded on the situation in a personal blog post, in which he added: “In the end, I have no regrets. I went out to Rozvadov clear on the goal ahead, strategized to give myself the best chance to end with the most points, and based on what I knew, I accomplished that. As far as the journey goes, I can only see it as a success. I left Rozvadov feeling good about my decisions, and that hasn’t changed with today’s news.”
He further wrote: “It’s an unfortunate situation, but mistakes happen and life goes on. I’m genuinely happy for Robert Campbell because I know how much it meant to him and I also feel he was deserving, having won two bracelets this year. He is also a nice guy which helps.”
Campbell tweeted: “I just want to say thank you to everyone for their overwhelming support! Wow. What an insane 12 hours.” The WSOP’s full statement is at the foot of this post.
Everything below was written before the mistake was known. It’s ancient history now, but who wants to delete good content?
The World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) wrapped up in Rozvadov on Monday when the final event, the €550 Colossus, named its winner and ended three weeks of competition in the Czech poker capital.
There were tens of millions of euros on the line across 15 events, but strangely much of the focus was on a contest with no prize money at all. Despite a long grind in Las Vegas through the summer, the WSOP Player of the Year race was still not decided, and the leading challengers duly headed to the remote Czech Republic to hunt the points that could earn them a place in WSOP folklore (and get their face printed on a banner to be hung in the Amazon Room).
By now, you maybe know how this one panned out. Daniel Negreanu, who remains the single most recognisable poker player on the planet, burnished that reputation by grinding out enough points to overtake Robert Campbell and Shaun Deeb and be named PoY for a record-setting third time. The former Team PokerStars Pro came to Rozvadov equipped with a full round of ammunition and fired numerous bullets in almost all events in a bid to secure the cashes he needed.It worked. Negreanu cashed in seven events, ranging from a 195th place in the €550 Colossus to sixth in the €25,500 Mixed Games Championship, and adding a 908.6 PoY points. (These points are calculated by taking into account field sizes, buy-in sizes and finishing position.) In conjunction with his 17 cashes from the summer leg, Negreanu finished with 4,074.88 points. Australia’s Campbell, who won two bracelets in the summer and cashed three times in Rozvadov, was second with 3,961.31.
The most intriguing subplot was provided by Deeb, however, who was Player of the Year last year. Both Negreanu and Campbell were knocked out relatively early from the final event of the Rozvadov festival, leaving Deeb in the knowledge that a fifth-placed finish or better would earn him enough points to go back-to-back in PoY races. Deeb threw a feint on the penultimate day when he tweeted congratulations to Negreanu, suggesting his own tournament was over. However, he actually made it all the way to the final day and took his seat among the last 11 in the tournament. “Would be one the best poker suckouts of my career,” he said.
It wasn’t to be for Deeb, though. Despite coming into that final day fourth in chips, he was first out. “I choked,” he tweeted, and this time the accolade really was Negreanu’s.“While there is no cash prize for WSOP POY, poker is my passion,” Negreanu said in a tweet. “The title is the achievement and acknowledgment of a lot of hard work, long grueling days against top competition.” He added that his prize was “Satisfaction. Immense satisfaction.”
Since its inception in 2004, no one else has ever won WSOP Player of the Year even twice, and Negreanu has now done it three times. He won it that first year, in 2004, and then again in 2013. This third victory again underscores his durability and commitment, while a glance at the events in which he cashed this year also demonstrates his versatility.
Although Negreanu became the first PoY to come out on top despite not winning a bracelet, he made final tables in NLHE, seven-card stud, razz, and mixed games, and picked up cashes in events with buy-ins from $600 to $100,000. Three of his cashes came in online tournaments, he also made a deep run in a short-deck event, and he was even multi-tabling live events in a bid to achieve this goal.As ever, Negreanu’s success was not without its controversy and this year the detractors tended to focus on the apparently unfair advantage afforded players who are able to fire time and time again in WSOP events. With multiple entries allowed in many of the tournaments, some players are essentially able to buy their way into the money and pick up a few PoY points, even if they actually don’t make any profit on the event. Negreanu himself, who has often been critical of the way the PoY is calculated, conceded that he did indeed have an advantage owing to his essentially limitless bankroll. He came up with a few ways he thinks the format could be changed:
“Here is how I would fix WSOP POY,” Negreanu tweeted. “Limit cashes that count to 12. Make min cashes worth close to nothing. Increase points for top 27 finishes. Increase points for final tables. Decrease points for WSOP main event final table. Quality over Quantity.”
After further input from his followers, he added: “In addition to these changes, many agree, and it makes sense, that whatever point total you achieve in an event, divide that point total by the number of reentries. So if you score 320 points but reentered 3 times you get 80 points.”
Whether or not the WSOP make any changes remains to be seen, but there’s surely little real incentive for the organisation to do so, at least as long as the PoY continues to be won by the game’s best-known figures. Negreanu is by far and away the most valuable asset poker has, with mainstream crossover appeal, and they will be rejoicing in WSOP towers that he is PoY again.
It’s also true that re-entries are now simply a part of poker. Almost all major tournaments the world over, as well as online, permit multiple re-entries, though they are rarely mentioned in the final reckonings, and do not tend to detract from a player’s achievement in making the money. Of course, if Negreanu himself pushes, the WSOP may yield. But my guess is that it would be deemed a tinkering too far.
OTHER WSOP SHORTSPlaying under the misleading name of “mexican222” on PokerStars, the Greek player Alexandros Kolonias has won two SCOOP titles and a host of other accolades, with online tournament cashes of $2.5 million to his name. But he cast all other achievements into the shadows when he won the Main Event of the WSOPE for €1,133,678, by far the biggest single win of his career. Kolonios had, in fact, not won a live tournament prior to this one, despite a long list of final table appearances in high buy-in events. But he picked his moment well, defeating a field of 541 entries to top the charts. Dario Sammartino, who finished runner up in the Main Event in Las Vegas this summer, was second, while Anthony Zinno was third and Claas Segebrecht was second, a couple of months after he won a WCOOP title. Negreanu wasn’t the only former Team PokerStars Pros among the titles in Rozvadov. The final event earned a very familiar figure his second career bracelet: Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier beat a 2,738-entry field to win €190,375. He added that to his $10K Seven-Card Stud title from 2011. ElkY is already one of very few players to have won on the EPT, WPT and WSOP, and this latest title demonstrates that he’s still a force in the tournament scene. Kahle Burns has been knocking around the high roller scene for much of the past five years, but he secured the first two outright victories in tournaments outside his native Australia when he secured double triumph in Rozvadov. Burns won the $25K Platinum High Roller event for nearly €600K and then also won the €2,500 Short Deck title for a further €101,834. Robert Campbell won two bracelets for Australia in Las Vegas, and Burns matched the tally in Rozvadov. Two other players best known for their work at the Super High Roller tables had breakout victories at the WSOPE. Taiwan’s James Chen won the €250K Super High Roller for a €2.85 million score, the biggest of the WSOPE festival, shortly before Wei Lim Chin won €2.17 million in the €100K event, picking up Malaysia’s first bracelet. Those tournaments were dominated, as ever, by a familiar set of high rollers, including a strong contingent of Asian players. Typically, the western pros have gone to Asia looking for the soft money, but it’s only getting tougher across the world.
FULL STATEMENT FROM THE WSOP:
“After being alerted earlier today of a possible error in our Player of the Year standings, we immediately began to investigate it.
We have confirmed a data entry error was made in our uploading of results into the backend of our website for WSOP Event #68, affecting places 32-46.
The results from Event #87, for places 32-46 in that event, were erroneously and additionally uploaded into the final results of Event #68 – more than two weeks after the completion of Event #68.
When a staffer uploaded the first 15 players who were eliminated in the money of Event #87 on July 16 (which included Daniel Negreanu in 36th place) – instead of uploading those results into Event #87, the staffer, by mistake, uploaded them into Event #68 instead. These were places 32 through 46, the lowest 15 positions to cash in Event #87. This error overwrote the correct results in Event #68 for places 32-46, and 15 players were credited with a cash in Event #68 despite not finishing in that place.
As a result, Daniel Negreanu was given 213.1 points erroneously in Event #68, an event we verified he did not cash in. 14 other players were also given erroneous points – the same players who properly cashed in Event #87, like Negreanu.
Recalculating our Player of the Year results today has an impact on the final standings. Robert Campbell finishes in first place with 3,961.31 points, with Negreanu dropping to third place with 3,861.78. Shaun Deeb’s points were not affected by the data entry error, but he moves up into second place, with 3,917.32 in the final POY standings.
We have begun to reach out to the affected players to notify them of this mistake. We deeply regret the error.
“We’d like to offer our sincere and public apology to those players who chased the award,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “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. We’re going to take the next few months to overhaul the POY and many of our procedures that have gone off course.”