Phil Hellmuth Blows Up AGAIN; Rails Against WSOP POY Rules

Player of the Year Ring

Phil Hellmuth had another blow up at this year's World Series of Poker (WSOP) but this time it was off the felt as he took to Twitter to voice his frustrations regarding the scoring of the WSOP Player of the Year (POY).

Hellmuth had an extraordinary October at the WSOP, the all-time leading bracelet winner took his tally to 16 gold bracelets following his triumph in Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw. In addition, he has four other final table finishes which includes a second-place finish in Event #36: $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship.

A WSOP POY accolade has surprisingly evaded Hellmuth despite his WSOP success. He has finished second on the leaderboard in 2006, 2011 and 2012. The latter was essentially a lock for 'The Poker Brat,' but Greg Merson's 2012 Main Event win pipped Hellmuth to top spot.

Hellmuth has never been shy to give his opinion, but does his barb at the WSOP scoring formula have some credence? He raises some valid points in that nobody cares about who finishes 10th and beyond, the poker community wants to know who makes a final table and who wins.

However, topping a leaderboard is all about points and the best way to accumulate them is by playing as many events as possible. With much of Hellmuth's criticisms, they come from a place of emotion which is fine but when it comes to a formula needed to choose the POY, emotion needs to be taken out of the equation.

Other POY contender Shaun Deeb raised a similar point when replying to Hellmuth on Twitter also.

Does Hellmuth raise a good point or does this blow-up come from his goal of wanting to finally finish a top of the leaderboard?

2021 WSOP POY Top 10 Leaderboard As It Stands

1Anthony Zinno2,627.88
2Jake Schwartz2,614.45
3Phil Hellmuth2,598.59
4Shaun Deeb2,470.69
5Ari Engel2,329.61
6Ben Yu2,226.17
7Dylan Linde2,053.09
8Jeremy Ausmus2,007.86
9Daniel Negreanu2,004.86
10Tommy Le1,968.40

Read More: Looking Back At The Illustrious History of the Poker Players Championship

2021 WSOP POY Formula - How Is It Measured?

On it states that "the formula is loosely based on the highly successful point system that has been used on the WSOP Circuit for many years. That scale will be used for each bracelet event, with modifiers based on the buy-in amount and number of entries."

Dates and Qualifying Events

The 2021 Player of the Year race will only include all open bracelet events of the 2021 WSOP at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (September 30 – November 23) including the NV/NJ online bracelet events.

Heads-Up and Shootout Events

Players eliminated in the same round (e.g. fifth through eighth place in a heads-up event, or all players eliminated on Day 2 of a shootout), will all receive the same points. The points awarded for those places will be the average of the points those places would have earned in a standard event.

Multi-Flight Events Featuring Day 1 Payouts

Some events (e.g. The Closer) offer the opportunity to cash more than once. However, a player will only earn POY points once for each event, and the points earned will be based on the position in the final results.


The following No-Limit Hold'em events will not count toward the player of the year:


  • 1st place: $15,000
  • 2nd place: $7,500
  • 3rd place: $2,500

Read More: Spooktastic: Best & Worst Halloween Costumes from the 2021 WSOP

A Glance At The Current WSOP POY Top Five

Now that we are entering the final month of WSOP action in Las Vegas, the POY leaderboard is starting to heat up. At the moment, the difference between first and fifth is less than 300 points, with the top spot seeming to be ever changing.

We take a look at those five players and have broken down how they've performed. They are all competing for some extra prize money as well as their own prestigious WSOP banner which will further cement their legacies in the world of poker.

1. Anthony Zinno - 2,627.88 Pts

Anthony Zinno
Anthony Zinno won his fourth WSOP bracelet in Event #27: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.

Like Hellmuth, Anthony Zinno has been one of the shining lights as this year's series so far, capturing two bracelets within the first two weeks of the WSOP. Further to this, he has cashed in six separate events, which includes making the last two tables in three other tournaments. His peformance this year puts him atop the POY leaderboard with just a few weeks of the WSOP remaining.

Thanks to his efforts, Zinno became the first player ever to win four WSOP bracelets and three World Poker Tour titles and will no doubt be a lock for future WSOP Hall of Fame contention.

Anthony Zinno's Best 2021 WSOP Finishes

2. Jake Schwartz - 2,614.45 Pts

Jake Schwartz
Jake Schwartz has four final table appearances already at the 2021 WSOP

Only Schwartz has reached as many final tables as Hellmuth this year and now sits second for POY. Schwartz was denied his first WSOP bracelet, coincidentally losing to Hellmuth in heads-up play. He has a further two podium finishes as well as a fifth and seventh placed finish to his name.

In total, Schwartz has 12 cashes already and has set himself up nicely to have a good run at making the most final tables in a single WSOP. The current record stands at 6, which has been accomplished by An Tran (1992), George Danzer (2014) and John Monnette (2016).

Jake Schwartz's Best 2021 WSOP Finishes

3. Phil Hellmuth - 2,598.59 Pts

Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth won his record-breaking 16th WSOP bracelet in Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw

As already mentioned, Hellmuth has had a superb 2021, his record breaking win could arguably make him the best poker player of all time.

His five final table appearances, like Schwartz, puts him in a good place to match or even better that particular achievement. Hellmuth has had a handful of final table showings on two other occasions, once in 1992 and another in 2001. If there's one thing Hellmuth excels in, it's breaking his own records.

Phil Hellmuth's Best 2021 WSOP Finishes

4. Shaun Deeb - 2,470.69 Pts

Shaun Deeb
Shaun Deeb won over a million dollars for his win in Event #53: $25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed)

Shaun Deeb's picked up his fifth WSOP bracelet and first of 2021 after being victorious in Event #53: $25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed). That win saw him shoot up the leaderboard to fourth place as well collecting the $1,251,860 payday.

Deeb, who won WSOP POY in 2018, will no doubt be looking to join Daniel Negreanu, as the only players to win the the award twice.

Shaun Deeb's Best 2021 WSOP Finishes

5. Ari Engel - 2,329.61 Pts

Ari Engel
Ari Engel's first-place finish in Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship keeps him in contention for POY

Rounding out the top five is Ari Engel, who won his second WSOP title in Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship for $317,076.

Engel, who won his first bracelet in Event #48: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em at the 2019 WSOP, had to get through a field of 134 runners that included many of the biggest names in poker, including Erik Seidel, Mike Matusow, Shaun Deeb and Phil Hellmuth.

Further to this, he has one other final table appearance and a total of ten cashes this year. One career feat Engel is likely to pull off is recording a total of 200 WSOP cashes, the poker star currently sits on 199 following his in the money finish in Event #55: $400 COLOSSUS No-Limit Hold'em.

Ari Engel's Best 2021 WSOP Finishes

WSOP POY Previous Winners

YearPlayerBraceletsFinal TablesCashesEarnings
2019Robert Campbell2613$743,377
2018Shaun Deeb2520$2,534,511
2017Chris Ferguson1423$428,423
2016Jason Mercier2411$960,424
2015Mike Gorodinsky138$1,766,796
2014George Danzer3510$878,993
2013Daniel Negreanu2410$2,214,304
2012Greg Merson224$9,755,180
2011Ben Lamb145$5,352,970
2010Frank Kassela236$1,255,314
2009Jeffrey Lisandro346$807,521
2008Erick Lindgren135$1,348,528
2007Tom Schneider233$416,829
2006Jeff Madsen244$1,467,852
2005Allen Cunningham145$1,006,935
2004Daniel Negreanu156$346,280
  • Does Phil Hellmuth have a point with his criticisms of the WSOP POY scoring?

Name Surname
Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum's proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

In this Series

More Stories

Other Stories

Recommended for you

Doyle Brunson Treats Crowd to Surprise WSOP Return on Halloween Doyle Brunson Treats Crowd to Surprise WSOP Return on Halloween