POY Problems

I went on a bit of a Twitter rant yesterday about my concerns with the new WSOP Player of the Year system. With my past jobs at WSOP and Bluff, I’ve been very involved in POY formulas and looking at how to fine tune them. In the past, I’ve always picked some outlier circumstances to test the formula, then worked backwards from there to see where issues arise in more common scenarios. For example, the old Bluff POY had multipliers that were too high for buy-in compared to field size and failed to differentiate buy-ins between $1,000 and $1,500 events, resulting in the grading of $1,500 events being too low, resulting in situations like Brian Rast in 2011 winning the PPC and a $1,500 PLHE bracelet and not even being mathematically capable of taking the lead in the race.

From the looks of it, the new system seems to only make situations like the one with Rast even more likely, thanks to a format that does not place enough emphasis on field size, fails to take into consideration that, with the Main Event paying 1,000 players it is going to have one event completely eschew the results, and put even more point value on the already over-valued $10,000 buy-in and above events.

Based on the comments from GPI’s Alexandre Dreyfus on Twitter yesterday, he and the WSOP seem content with this plan and it is in fact what they are aiming for, which is fine. It is their race, and I appreciate that there are different POVs about how POY systems should work, many of which are completely valid even though they differ drastically. Rather than clog the feeds of my friends over Twitter with some of the examples where I disagree with the valuation of performances, I am just going to leave these ten factoids here and let you know I used the numbers from last year’s (or the most recent year’s field in the case of the One Drop High Roller) to do my calculations using the GPI calculator. I promise I won’t talk about it on Twitter anymore unless someone asks. This is me saying my peace and calling it a day.

10 Points to Consider About the WSOP Player of the Year Points:

1. If you min-cash the Main Event in 1,000th place, you will earn 98.45 points. If you win the $500+$65 buy-in Colossus, you get 101.7 points.

2. Three seventh place finishes in $10,000 events with fields of 150 players will earn you just over 900 points. Winning three $1,000 NLHE bracelets in fields of 3,000 earns you 711 points, which isn’t even enough to put you ahead of the Main Event Champion, who gets 782.81 points.

3. Winning the $50,000 Poker Players Championship (PPC) is worth 554.4 points. Tenth place in the Main Event is worth 554.68 points.

4. Winning the $111,111 One Drop High Roller nets you 612.78 points. Min-cashing three $10K non-hold’em events will earn you about the same amount.

5. Winning the $5,000 Six-Handed NLHE event earns you 492.67 points. Coming in second earns you 438.41 points. In most events, it appears the percentage difference between first and second place points is ~9%.

6. If you combined the points of every $1,000 and $1,500 straight NLHE event last year (14 events total), they would have earned 3,961.51 points. If you combined the points earned by the second place finishers in each of the seven $10,000 non-hold’em events, they would have earned  3,025.17. That is 76% of the points for half of the events WITHOUT winning a bracelet. Second place in a $10,000 event earns anywhere from 40 to almost 200 points more than any of those NLHE victories.

7. Win Colossus w/ 20,000 entries, you get 101.7 points. Win a $1,000 NLHE event w/ 2,000 entries, you get 228 points.

8. Say you win Colossus, Little One, Monster Stack, and Milly Maker. That is 1,004.38 points. If you win the One Drop High Roller and take 50th in the Main Event, you’ll earn 1,008.44.

9. The most points someone winning a $1,500 NLHE event can earn is 333.14. That is equivalent to 93rd in the Main Event. The most points someone winning a $1,000 NLHE event can earn is 237.03. That is roughly equivalent to 247th place in the Main Event.  

10. Min-cashes in the One Drop High Roller and Poker Players Championship are worth 231.82 and 238.06 points respectively. In many events, that is more than the winner will earn.

You can decide how you feel about these valuations. I know how I feel about them.


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