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Josh Arieh Wins 2021 WSOP Player Of The Year Title

Phil Hellmuth Finishes Runner-Up For The Fourth Time

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Dec 29, 2021

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We don’t know what the series will look like next summer when it makes its debut on the Las Vegas Strip, but if the traditional banners that lined the Rio walls make the trip as well, Josh Arieh has something to look forward to as the 2021 World Series of Poker Player of the Year.

Arieh put together the best series of his more-than 20-year career, which already included numerous final tables, two bracelet wins, and a $2.5 million score for taking third in the 2004 main event.

The Atlanta-based poker pro wasn’t a favorite for the title given his casual playing schedule. In fact, he went back home to Georgia during the series for a quick visit, and only started to really grind for the points after winning his third career bracelet, pocketing $204,766 in the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event.

Arieh would go on to win his fourth bracelet in the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better event, along with $484,791. That win came just a day after he finished sixth in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, adding another $161,422 to his totals.

The 47-year-old cashed 12 times overall, with seven top-10 finishes, for a total of $1,168,126. Moreover, he did it in a multitude of ways, cashing in both hold’em and mixed game events, smaller buy-ins and high rollers. Arieh even managed to make a final table in an online bracelet event.

As a result, he narrowly beat out the likes of Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu for the title, overcoming Hellmuth’s record seven final tables and Negreanu’s 18 cashes.

“It’s just really cool,” Arieh told PokerNews. “My whole life and my career, whatever I do, I build momentum. So when I’m going good, I’m really good. When I’m going bad, I go really bad. [Winning Player of the Year] means a lot because my daughters will be really proud.”

Make sure you check out the next issue of Card Player Magazine, which will feature an interview with Arieh about his incredible run to WSOP Player of the Year.

As for Hellmuth, he was forced to once again settle for second place in the race. The WSOP POY was established in 2004, and in the 16 years the contest has been held Hellmuth has finished runner-up a whopping four times.

Although he was proud of his record-setting fall at the series, which included winning his 16th career bracelet (nobody else has more than 10!), Hellmuth was still openly upset about coming up short yet again.

“I’m feeling really down,” Hellmuth wrote on Twitter. “I’m aware that I had a really good WSOP, but only one bracelet… I’m aware that getting second place in the POY [race] is a testament, but I can’t see the forest through the trees.”

Hellmuth cashed in 10 out of the 34 bracelet events he played, banking $1,248,860 on a reported $448,379 in buy-ins. (The 57-year-old disclosed his full series report online.)

His ROI was better than Negreanu in third place, who also posted his wins and losses on his popular YouTube vlog. The 47-year-old had $1,052,773 in buy-ins and cashed for a total of $1,451,797.

Negreanu won the WSOP POY race back in 2013 following his win in the WSOP Asia-Pacific main event. He thought he had won it again in 2019, until a last-minute clerical error was discovered to give the title to Australian mixed-games standout Robert Campbell instead.

Despite benefitting from a whopping 18 cashes at this year’s series, the seven-time bracelet winner has been very vocal with his criticisms of the POY-point scoring format, and has suggested limiting the number of qualifying events to each individual’s top 12 or so finishes.

“Putting in full volume is too much of an advantage and not indicative of who had the best series overall,” Negreanu said.

Negreanu was followed by Ben Yu, who put together an incredible campaign of his own with 19 total cashes, including his win in the $10,000 six-max no-limit hold’em event for $721,453 and his fourth career bracelet.

The 35-year-old Stanford graduate had a chance to steal away the POY title in the last event of the series, but fell just short with a tenth-place finish. Yu now has $8.4 million in career tournament earnings.

Fifth place went to player-favorite Jeremy Ausmus, who added not one, but two bracelets to the title he earned back at the 2013 WSOP Europe series.

The 42-year-old from Colorado won the smallest, and one of the biggest events on the schedule, banking $48,687 in the $1,000 buy-in charity event, and a massive $1,188,918 in the $50,000 pot-limit Omaha high roller. You can read more about Ausmus’ first win this fall on pg. 34.

The rest of the top 10 was rounded out with Shaun Deeb, who won his fifth career bracelet, Ryan Leng, who earned no. 3, Dylan Linde, who picked up his first, main event winner Koray Aldemir, and Scott Ball, who finished on top of two huge no-limit events. Ball won a separate leaderboard that consisted of just no-limit events. ♠

Final WSOP POY Point Standings

1. Josh Arieh — 4,194
2. Phil Hellmuth — 3,720
3. Daniel Negreanu — 3,531
4. Ben Yu — 3,345
5. Jeremy Ausmus — 3,272
6. Shaun Deeb — 3,119
7. Ryan Leng — 3,042
8. Dylan Linde — 2,976
9. Koray Aldemir — 2,911
10. Scott Ball — 2,907
11. Jake Schwartz — 2,861
12. Anthony Zinno — 2,780
13. Joao Vieira — 2,757
14. Kevin Gerhart — 2,726
15. Ari Engel — 2,664
16. Uri Reichenstein — 2,663
17. Ren Lin — 2,632
18. Tommy Le — 2,618
19. Georgios Sotiropoulos — 2,614
20. Cole Ferraro — 2,606
21. Jason Koon — 2,603
22. Michael Addamo — 2,440
23. Daniel Zack — 2,377
24. Carlos Chang — 2,318
25. Benny Glaser — 2,306