The 2018 World Series of Poker wrapped up its third weekend of action by crowning a man who many believe should be in the Poker Hall of Fame. That victory put the player in the mix for the 2018 WSOP Player of the Year award.
Event #27 - $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship
Playing an extra day in what was supposed to be a three-day event, four-time WSOP bracelet Sportsbook John “World” Hennigan outlasted two-time WSOP bracelet Sportsbook David “Bakes” Baker to earn the championship of the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship on Saturday.
Friday saw the 16 players left from the 166-player field (an improvement over 2017’s 150 runners) return for action in the Amazon Room of the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The mixed game nature of the game – Limit Texas Hold’em (H), Omaha Hi/Lo Eights or Better (O), Razz (R), Seven Card Stud (S) and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Eights or Better (E) – ensured that some of the best players would be on the tables and some didn’t even make the money. Anthony Rizzo, Robert Mizrachi and Jean “Prince” Gaspard were just a few of the players who didn’t even get a reward for their efforts, busting from the tournament before the money bubble popped.
The story was different for Hennigan and Baker, however. They came through the carnage on Friday to meet heads-up for the championship. Although Hennigan would be able to get Baker close to the felt on a couple of occasions, he was unable to put him away on Friday night (Saturday morning). The two men, after being asked by WSOP officials, decided to pause the match and come back on Saturday to decide the title.
Once they came back on Saturday, Hennigan would mash the gas and put away Baker. On the final hand of Limit Hold’em, Baker got his last chips in good with an A-6, but Hennigan’s J-3 found a trey on the 10-3-2 flop. Running queens on the turn and river finished off the hand and the tournament, earning Hennigan his fifth WSOP bracelet and an outstanding payday.
|David “Bakes” Baker||$256,297|
(*eliminated on Friday)
Elio Fox Holds POY Lead Over John Hennigan
The World Series of Poker Player of the Year race has been run since 2004. Since last year’s competition – in which eventual POY Chris Ferguson earned the title by his 23 cashes in WSOP tournaments rather than deep performances – the formula used to compile the points for the POY has been thoroughly changed. The result? Players who are getting deep in tournaments or winning WSOP bracelets are being rewarded more than those who are serial cashers.
Elio Fox is one player who has been reaping the benefits of the new system. The Sportsbook of Event #2 ($10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty) used his runner-up finish in the $100,000 High Roller event to set himself above the field in the POY race. Fox is currently the only player above 2,000 points with his 2,010.14 points.
Hennigan’s victory in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. event pushed him into second place on the POY ladder. His 1,727.27 points, however, are a far cry from what Fox has been able to accrue. This is also true of 2009 world champion Joe Cada (1,692.71 points, third), Paul Volpe (1,671.3, fourth) and COLOSSUS champion Arne Kern (1,332.47, fifth) rounding out the top five.
With 40-odd events left on the schedule in Las Vegas – and another 10 in Europe this fall at the WSOP Europe – it is still anyone’s award to take. But these five men have separated themselves from the crowd and will have some big decisions to make if they want to pursue winning the WSOP POY championship.