WSOP Error Leads to Campbell Taking POY from Negreanu

WSOP Error Leads to Campbell Taking POY from Negreanu

There has been a lot of talk about revamping the World Series of Poker Player of the Year system. It didn’t even work this year.

Someone at the World Series of Poker made an error when attributing points to the top players on the leaderboard over the summer, and it all led to a race for the POY title at WSOP Europe that was based on false pretenses.

The system was so convoluted that none of the players in the running for the POY title even verified their points along the way, so the error went undetected for months. It wasn’t until after Daniel Negreanu was named the Player of the Year that a person unaffiliated with the WSOP noted the mistake.

With very much ado, the new 2019 WSOP Player of the Year is Robert Campbell.

Poker Journalism FTW

Alex Elenskiy, a Russian poker journalist for whom English is not his first language, was the person to discover the error.

He posted on Twitter and in a Two Plus Two forum thread that points were miscalculated for Daniel Negreanu along the way. Negreanu was given 213.1 points for Event 68 from the summer series, but he, in fact, did not cash in that tournament.

It seemed that some of the tournament results for Event 68 and Event 87 overlapped. Those who cashed from 32nd through 46th place in Event 87 were credited for 48.7 points correctly, and those places were then credited for Event 68 as well. Since Negreanu cashed in 36th place in Event 87, the finish registered twice – in that event for 48.7 points and in Event 68 for 213.1 points.

Once the WSOP paid attention to Elenskiy’s assertion and checked it, WSOP executives realized that he was correct.

Admission and Apology

The WSOP did not post anything on its website or put a note on the WSOP POY page of its site to clarify the error. However, the points were corrected. And the WSOP did issue a statement that it posted to its Twitter page

The “data entry error” was attributed to a staffer who made the mistake. Affected players were contacted.

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart noted, “We’d like to offer our sincere and public apology to those players who chased the award. 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.”

Thus, the final correct WSOP POY leaderboard now reflects Robert Campbell as the winner:

1st place:  Robert Campbell – 3,961.31 points

2nd place:  Shaun Deeb – 3,917.32 points

3rd place:  Daniel Negreanu – 3,861.76 points

4th place:  Anthony Zinno – 3,322.00 points

5th place:  Phillip Hui – 3,186.17 points

6th place:  Daniel Zack – 3,126.13 points

7th place:  Dario Sammartino – 3,091.03 points

8th place:  Chris Ferguson – 2,997.10 points

9th place:  Kahle Burns – 2,983.37 points

10th place:  Dash Dudley – 2,860.79 points

Winner Reactions

Campbell was humble in his ultimate victory.

He had been congratulatory of Negreanu when the erroneous results were announced, and he was grateful to the WSOP for a “fantastic” tournament series in Las Vegas and in Rozvadov. On November 6, he wrote, “I had one of the most exciting years of my life, had an incredible experience and made some great new friends. I certainly have nothing to complain about with 13 cashes, 6 top-10 finishes and 2 gold bracelets; that’s (sic) better results than my previous 3 years combined!”

When he left Rozvadov, he flew to Dubai and landed to discover messages on his phone about the error. When he finally absorbed it all and realized that he was the Player of the Year, he tweeted his gratitude, along with a refutation of the idea that Negreanu knew he was not the true winner.

Runners-Up Reactions

Daniel Negreanu immediately tweeted congratulations to Campbell. The third-place POY finisher said he was “genuinely happy” for Campbell “because I know what it meant to him and frankly, the entire country of Australia.”

He later published a blog post with more thoughts.

“It’s an unfortunate situation, but mistakes happen and life goes on,” Negreanu wrote. He then continued, “When I got the news, I was oddly not phased by it whatsoever. I surprised myself. Not a single negative emotion or feeling of loss. Obviously, had I known the correct point totals it would have changed my strategy in Rozvadov; there are several hands I can think of off the top of my head that would have been played differently well before the closing Colossus event, which was also affected.”

Negreanu concluded that he felt good about his decisions and still views his trip to Rozvadov as a success during which he accomplished his goals.

Second-place finisher Shaun Deeb did not shrug it off as easily.

Deeb then called in to speak with Joey Ingram on a podcast about the situation. He asserted that there is more than a 60% chance that he would’ve won POY if all three men had known the true points tally during WSOP Europe. “I’m the one who takes the brunt of this mistake,” he claimed.

It is clear – and Deeb says as much – that he and Negreanu have a longstanding dislike for each other. Some of the reason that both went to WSOP Europe to compete was to beat each other, but had the tally been different, Deeb claimed that Negreanu may not have even gone to Rozvadov. That and other scenarios would’ve given Deeb a better chance at the POY victory.

(Interview with Deeb begins at 1:53:10.)


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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