About halfway through WSOP Europe, Chris Ferguson is back on top of the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year leaderboard, after cashing in four of the first six bracelet events at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.
The small-ball strategy that worked for the game theory specialist during the summer has carried over in Europe, with some otherwise unimpressive finishes in 70th, 36th, 29th, and 39th place that collectively have added up to put him ahead of Ryan Hughes and John Racener.
Race Is On
The POY chase has fueled some heated debates in the poker community ever since it became apparent Ferguson, a former Full Tilt Poker executive, was in the hunt back in June. Many poker pros want him banned from the game, and certainly not competing for a prestigious award.
But with a record 17 cashes over the summer, Ferguson left Las Vegas atop the standings. He gave up that lead to Hughes after the first WSOPE event, but is back out front after his fifth cash of the series, a 29th place finish in Event #6, €2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha, for €3,215.
Hughes and Racener both have cashed twice so far at this year’s WSOPE. Racener is the only one to so far make a final table in Rozvadov, however, finishing 6th in Event #3, €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty, for €7,609.
Current WSOP Player of the Year Standings
Through six events at WSOP Europe (with points in parentheses)
1 Chris Ferguson (1,046.56)
2 Ryan Hughes (961.23)
3 John Racener (956.72)
4 John Monnette (865.21)
5 Alex Foxen (786.76)
If you are hoping for Ferguson to fall, you should be rooting for either Hughes or Racener. John Monnette didn’t make the trip across the Atlantic, and Alex Foxen’s deficit is likely insurmountable without adding a couple bracelets to his results.
Honor without Bracelets?
Ferguson has a chance to become the first player to win POY without winning a bracelet. The majority of his 22 cashes this year, were for the minimum or slightly higher. His four cashes this series are for just over €8,000 ($9,307).
Daniel Negreanu and several other poker pros have said POY shouldn’t go to a player who didn’t win a bracelet. The WSOP changed the scoring system this year to benefit those who play in large-field events as opposed to high roller tournaments.
Negreanu, currently 9th in the POY standings and not competing in WSOPE, doesn’t believe a player such as Ferguson should win given his lack of deep runs. He claims the man nicknamed “Jesus” is taking advantage of the “bogus” new scoring system.