There's an Early Frontrunner for 2023 WSOP Player of the Year

chad eveslage 2023 wsop

One week into the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) and there's already a clear-cut favorite for Player of the Year.

No, it's isn't Shaun Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, or Phil Hellmuth, although all those three individuals are certainly capable of winning the prestigious award. The poker player we're talking about is Chad Eveslage, and his red hot start this summer is no fluke.

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Dan Zack is attempting to defend his 2022 WSOP Player of the Year honors, but he's going to have a tough task pulling it off. That's because Eveslage is already off and running away from everyone in the field.

Chad Eveslage Cannot Be Stopped

Chad Eveslage wsop poker
Chad Eveslage

It all began with a title in Event #5: $1,500 Dealer's Choice (6-Handed) for $131,879. Then, he upped the stakes to play the same game when he entered Event #10: $10,000 Dealer's Choice Championship.

For the second time in a matter of days, the Indiana native shipped the bracelet, the third of his career. This one was good for $311,428 after beating out 130 players.

Eveslage already has 1,948 Player of the Year points. Tyler Brown, who took down Event #3: $1,000 Mystery Millions for $1,000,000, is the only player who is close with 1,739 points.

Brown has been the biggest surprise of the 2023 WSOP thus far. On top of his first bracelet win, he took sixth place in the $5,000 Mixed NLH/PLO for $92,362. Prior to the start of the series, he had just $200,000 in live tournament cashes, none of which were at the World Series of Poker, according to Hendon Mob.

But the star of the show early in the series has been Eveslage, who is giving poker fans shades of 2016 Jason Mercier. Over an eight-day period during mid-June seven years ago, the former PokerStars ambassador won two bracelets and reached two other final tables. He'd go on to coast to Player of the Year.

Eveslage hasn't wrapped anything up as the series has just begun. But there's no doubt that at this point in the series, he's the player everyone is chasing. A few more deep runs and he just might run away with it like Mercier did in 2016.

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The hot start for Eveslage is anything but a fluke. Since the start of 2021, he's been one of the top tournament players in the world. Last year, he won his first bracelet, a $1.4 million score for winning a $25,000 high roller. He's also a two-time World Poker Tour (WPT) champion, including the 2022 Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio for just over $1 million.

On Tuesday, Eveslage ran deep in yet another tournament — Event #16: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship. Heading into Day 3, which takes place Wednesday, he'll sit down at the table with the eighth largest stack out of 13 remaining players. First place is set to pay $311,433. The red hot poker pro will add a significant amount of points to his POY resume when the stud event concludes. Should he win it, he just might have an insurmountable lead.

1Chad Eveslage1,948
2Tyler Brown1,739
3Alexandre Vuilleumier1,218
4Kenneth O'Donnell1,210
5Jeremy Eyer1,164
6Michael Moncek1,127
7Joseph Altomonte1,063
8Chanracy Khun1,052
9Sean Winter995
10Rostyslav Sabishchenko960

Who Else has a Shot?

Phil Hellmuth wsop poker
Phil Hellmuth

It's far too early to count the usual suspects out of the race (Negreanu, Deeb, etc.). Hellmuth is also off to a strong start with two relatively deep runs. While he hasn't reached a final table and he's well off Eveslage's pace, the "Poker Brat" is showing that even at age 58, he's still a tough competitor.

Negreanu hasn't found much luck yet, but of course he has a hot streak in him, especially after last year's brutal summer that saw the Poker Hall of Famer lose $1.1 million.

Deeb and Negreanu will play as much volume as anyone, and that gives them a leg up when it comes to racking up Player of the Year points. They also are talented enough to run deep numerous times this summer regardless of how many events they enter. Past winners such as Josh Arieh (2021) and Dan Zack (2022) will also likely factor into the race before it's all said and done. That is, of course, assuming Eveslage cools off, but don't count on it.

  • Find out who is the frontrunner for @WSOP Player of the Year.

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