Last week, the World Series of Poker’s social media account put out a message of congratulations to Daniel Negreanu for winning the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year award, as he had appeared to have done once fellow competitor Shaun Deeb was eliminated from the final event of the WSOP Europe series.
It would have been the third time that the six-time bracelet winner had secured WSOP POY honors, having won in 2004 and 2013.
According to the running tabulation available on the WSOP’s website, Negreanu ended up with 4,074.88 points, which would mean that he had narrowly held on to outlast Robert Campbell (3,961.31 points) and Deeb (3,917.32 points).
Russian poker writer Alex Elenskiy, however, recently pointed out some inconsistencies he had noticed while looking over Negreanu’s results.
shaundeeb</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">RealKidPoker
Kevmath</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/WSOP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">WSOP @SonicJaxx2019 you should check #68, according to official report DN got 213.1 points, but he didn’t cash there. All places from 32 to 46 in #68 are messed up with #87. https://t.co/LUO6oWfNz8
results from #68 – https://t.co/EBmUd5cmoS
— Alex Elenskiy (@GT_iskander) November 8, 2019
The tweet from Elenskiy prompted a flurry of posts from the poker community, quickly confirming that Negreanu had indeed been awarded points for a tournament that he didn’t cash in.
Although Negreanu had 23 other cashes to make up his total score, they weren’t quite enough to overcome Australian mixed-games specialist Robert Campbell, who won two bracelets during the summer.
Negreanu took to Twitter after the news reached him and acknowledged that the POY title did actually belong to Campbell.
Congrats mate! Some good news coming your way. Well deserved champ. https://t.co/BkcrXECuXo
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 8, 2019
Not long after the news broke, the WSOP released a statement recognizing the error and how it affected the results.
We have confirmed a data entry error was made in our uploading of results into the back end of our website for WSOP Event #68, affecting places 32-46. The results from Event #87, for places 32-46 in that event, were erroneously and additionally uploaded into the final results of Event #68 – more than two weeks after the completion of Event #68.
When a staffer uploaded the first 15 players who were eliminated in the money in Event #87 on July 16 (which included Daniel Negreanu in 36th place) – instead of uploading those results into Event #87, the staffer, by mistake, uploaded them into Event #68 instead.
This error overwrote the correct results in Event #68 for places 32-46, and 15 players were credited with a cash in Event #68 despite not finishing in that place.
As a result, Daniel Negreanu was given 213.1 points erroneously in Event #68, an event we verified he did not cash in.
After correcting the error, Campbell’s 3,961.31 were just enough to beat Deeb’s 3,917.32 and Negreanu’s revised total of 3,861.78.
Negreanu responded with a blog post, stating that he was happy for Campbell while also pointing out ways the POY can be improved in the future.
“With age comes wisdom, I truly believe that. Had this happened to me when I was a cocky, 25 year old kid, I’m sure I wouldn’t have taken the news the same as I do today,” Negreanu admitted. “I can honestly say, not a single emotion of loss or upset. My life is awesome. I love the grind, I love the journey, and I don’t live in regret.”
Had Negreanu held on to the title, he would have been the first POY winner without a bracelet win. Campbell’s two bracelet victories came in the $1,500 triple-draw deuce-to-seven lowball event and the $10,000 seven-card stud eight-or-better championship. He had a total of 13 cashes in WSOP events this year, with nine in Las Vegas and another four at the WSOP Europe in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.
The final stretch of the race was incredibly close, with Negreanu, Campbell, Deeb, and others such as Anthony Zinno, David Baker, and Dario Sammartino, seemingly going out of their way to play every single event at the WSOPE in pursuit of the POY title. There were also side-bet implications for many of the players, who may have bet on themselves or against other competitors based on the POY standings.
As poker pro Matt Glantz noted on Twitter, this mistake likely impacted several of the top competitors dramatically, including how Deeb approached playing the final event of the series. The 2018 POY winner thought he needed to finish in the top five to defend his title, but actually only needed ninth place to win. Deeb ultimately finished in 11th, busting in a situation that perhaps he would have approached differently had he known the accurate point total.
Major POY drama unfolding.
Imagine thinking you won POY, but you didn’t due to clerical error.
Imagine thinking you didnt win POY, but you did due to clerical error.
Imagine being 3 of 11 in final event told you need 5th place to win POY but you only needed 9th.
Sux for all 3.
— Matt Glantz (@MattGlantz) November 8, 2019
I just landed in the states I’m in shock and really frustrated time to check all my cashes and see if they missed any I know there was a 1500 6m that was missing from 25k fantasy for a while.
— shaun deeb (@shaundeeb) November 9, 2019
“We’d like to offer our sincere and public apology to those players who chased the award,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “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.”
Here is a look at all of the WSOP POY winners.