2019 WSOP Player of the Year: Upeshka De Silva Takes Over Lead

Upeshka De Silva

The sun is coming up in Las Vegas, the prelude to another busy day of poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. They are starting to approach the halfway point of the 89-event 2019 World Series of Poker, and with three weeks completed Upeshka De Silva has catapulted into the lead in the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year race after having earned his third career bracelet in one of the online events being offered on WSOP.com.

On Sunday, De Silva won Event #38: $600 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold'em Knockout Bounty, needing 11 hours to outlast a 1,224-entry field to earn the victory. That finish came just after De Silva came in third in Event #31: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed won by Thomas Cazayous, which along with four other cashes give him enough points currently to sit at No. 1.

Dan Zack had occupied the top spot for each of our first two weekly POY reports. It wasn't like he took the third week off, either. In fact, Zack has nine cashes already, including four more over the last week to go with his bracelet win in Event #6: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball, thereby keeping close at No. 2.

That said, players not adding cashes and thus POY points aren't keeping their places near the top of the leaderboard. For example, Isaac Baron, winner of Event #16: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed, was No. 2 a week ago, but without adding further points over the last seven days he's dropped to No. 11.

Here's how the 2019 WSOP POY Top 10 looks as of this morning, Wednesday, June 19:

PlacePlayer2019 WSOP POY Points
1Upeshka De Silva2,162.02
2Dan Zack2,146.20
3Scott Clements1,837.33
4Robert Campbell1,605.08
5Daniel Strelitz1,597.26
6Shaun Deeb1,534.87
7Stephen Song1,503.76
8John Gorsuch1,486.47
9Frankie O'Dell1,447.89
10Yuval Bronshtein1,438.31

Scott Clements is a good example of a player who keeps adding POY points and as a result keeps moving up the ranks. A week ago he won his third career bracelet in Event #10: $1,500 Dealer's Choice to ascend to No. 10. Since then Clements has cashed three more times including taking fourth in the Event #29: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship won by Greg Mueller as seen on PokerGO. Those finishes have given him enough POY points to move up to No. 3 at present.

Robert Campbell has moved up to No. 4 following his victory in Event #33: $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw. That was Campbell's third cash this summer and all three have been deep runs, with the others being a fifth (in the $10K Omaha Hi-Lo) and an eighth (in the $1,500 Dealer's Choice). Meanwhile after Daniel Strelitz won Event #11: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em, he's cashed three more times to maintain the No. 5 spot as the only player in the Top 10 to be in the same position he was a week ago.

Shaun Deeb was the 2018 WSOP Player of the Year, and this week he makes his debut in the Top 10 as he tries to defend his title. Deeb nearly won a fifth career bracelet earlier this week, coming runner-up to Adam Friedman in the Event #35: $10,000 Dealer's Choice Championship. That was one of eight cashes Deeb has already accumulated this summer, good enough to place him at No. 6 and in position potentially to catch the leaders.

The remaining four players in the Top 10 have all won bracelets this summer as well.

Stephen Song (No. 7) won his in Event #28: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em, his win coming a day after John Gorsuch (No. 8) took down Event #19: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Millionaire Maker.

Earlier Frankie O'Dell (No. 9) won his third career bracelet in the Event #18: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. And Yuval Bronshtein (No. 10) won his first in Event #13: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw.

Looking just outside the Top 10, sitting behind Isaac Baron (No. 11) this morning are Ben Heath (No. 12), Femi Fashakin (No. 13), Ben Yu (No. 14), and Brett Apter (No. 15).

About the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year

After changing the way POY points were calculated prior to last year, the WSOP has kept the same formula to determine this year's winner. The formula is "loosely based" on the one employed to calculate WSOP Circuit rankings, with modifiers based on buy-ins and field sizes.

At the time, the WSOP explained the changes had been made "to better reward bracelet winners and players who run deep, while still rewarding consistency." A couple of differences from the pre-2018 system include a bigger gap between points earned from first- and second-place finishes, and min-cashes being worth relatively less than was the case before.

Here's an information sheet provided by the WSOP that provides further details regarding the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year.

The 2019 WSOP POY race includes all of the "open" bracelet events from this summer's WSOP in Las Vegas as well as events from the 2019 World Series of Poker Europe series that will take place in Rozvadov, Czech Republic later this year (Oct. 15-Nov. 4). That means from the full schedule of bracelet events this summer, the following six events are excluded:

  • Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em
  • Event #32: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em
  • Event #39: $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold'em
  • Event #47: $1,000/$10,000 Ladies Event
  • Event #57: $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em
  • Event #81: $1,500 Bracelet Winners Only No-Limit Hold'em

The WSOP also added one more bracelet event to this year's schedule — the $50,000 Final Fifty High Roller — bringing the total number of bracelets awarded in the 2019 WSOP to 90. That new entry will also count toward the 2019 WSOP POY race, which means players can earn points in 84 of this summer's events.

We'll continue to look in on the WSOP POY race once a week here on PokerNews going forward. However, you can always check the standings any time on the constantly updated WSOP Player of the Year page. There you also can find a "WSOP Point Calculator" to discover in advance how many points each event will award based on the number of entries.

Follow all of the action from the 2019 World Series of Poker and keep track of which players are making POY pushes on PokerGO.

  • With an online bracelet win, Upeshka De Silva moves into the lead for WSOP Player of the Year.

  • After three weeks, Upeshka De Silva, Dan Zack & Scott Clements lead the WSOP Player of the Year race.

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