We remember each year’s WSOP by the performance of one or two individuals, and this year Shaun Deeb is one of those standout players, putting on an impressive show event after event, felt after felt — good enough for him to take over the top spot on the World Series of Poker Player of the Year leaderboard.
A week from the start of the Main Event, Deeb is showing an ability to go deep in multiple events, with his run of a lifetime culminating this past weekend in a $1.4 million bracelet.
Deeb won the prestigious $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament for his third career bracelet and a $1,402,683 payout. He now has 10 cashes this summer for $1,583,197.
The 1,236 points he earned from his PLO bracelet victory catapulted the slowrolling regular on “Poker Night in America” regular to the top of the POY leaderboard at 2,662 points, just ahead of John Hennigan (2,566).
With more than 25 bracelet events remaining, it’s far too early to hand the POY title to Deeb. But if he continues this pace, he could tie or beat the Las Vegas single-series record of 17 cashes set by Chris Ferguson and John Racener last year.
Ferguson, the 2017 POY, eventually set the single-year record with 23 cashes after cashing six additional times at WSOP Europe in the fall. That record might be out of reach for Deeb, who has never competed in a WSOPE event, however.
Current 2018 WSOP Player of the Year Leaderboard
1 Shaun Deeb (USA) 2,662.25
2 John Hennigan (USA) 2,566.43
3 Elio Fox (USA) 2,010.14
4 Mario Prats Garcia (Czech Republic) 1,751.25
5 Eric Baldwin (USA) 1,738.42
Defending POY Chris Ferguson is in 33rd place (1,229.44)
Despite “Jesus” racking up an almost insane amount of cashes in one summer, Deeb’s 2018 performance is indisputably more impressive than Ferguson’s 2017 summer.
Jesus accumulated just $380,200 in 17 total cashes, and he didn’t win a bracelet until traveling overseas to the Czech Republic in the fall. Ferguson’s total is nearly $1.2 million less than what Deeb has won in 10 cashes this summer,
Deeb has just more than $4.5 million in lifetime live tournament winnings, with one-third of that total coming in the past month.
(He’s also one of the top online poker players in history, having earned nearly $6.6 million throughout his career.)
There were many amazing performances at the 2017 WSOP in single events, most notably Doug Polk’s High Roller for One Drop title in which he came from behind to dominate a difficult final table. But there weren’t any epic multiple-event heaters like we saw from Jason Mercier in 2016 when he won two bracelets and finished 2nd in another event all within eight days.
The same can’t be said about the 2018 WSOP making Deeb’s run to the top of the POY leaderboard even more impressive. Elio Fox began the series with a title in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo event and then finished runner-up in the $100,000 High Roller days later.
John Hennigan’s summer has been even more impressive. The now five-time bracelet winner had a 1st place, 2nd place, and two 7th place finishes within two weeks.
But despite those two talented poker players tearing it up this summer, Shaun Deeb is currently the player to beat in the 2018 POY race.