Josh Arieh has busted out of the gates strong in his attempt to defend his WSOP Player of the Year award, while Daniel Negreanu is still searching for that elusive first cash of the series.
Although it's way too early to start making any predictions as to who will become the 2022 POY winner, there are some early signs as to which players might be in contention later in the series.
Chad Eveslage, who won Event #8: $25,000 High Roller for $1,415,610, is currently in the lead.
Can Josh Arieh Defend his Title?
Arieh was a bit of a surprise last year when he won two bracelets and became the 2021 POY. This year, he's already secured a third place finish in Event #8: $25,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed for $616,047.
The final table appearance gave the defending champ 562 points, which puts him in 13th place on the Player of the Year standings.
Current 2022 WSOP Player of the Year Standings
Slow Start for Some of the Usual Suspects
Negreanu has earned exactly zero Player of the Year points thus far because he has yet to record his first cash. Good news for the Poker Hall of Famer — it's way too early to panic. He started off slow last year also and was in contention right up until the end.
Shaun Deeb is another perennial contender. He hasn't started off quite as slow as Negreanu, but his two cashes were for less than $10,000 and he hasn't cracked the top 50 of the Player of the Year standings.
Negreanu finished third last year in the POY race and even earned a participation trophy sent from his trash-talking friend, Arieh. Phil Hellmuth finished in second place and also received a runner-up trophy from the champion.
Hellmuth badly wants to win WSOP Player of the Year as he told PokerNews prior to the start of the series. Thus far, after surviving a bout of travel diarrhea, the "Poker Brat" has one cash in 2022, a 136th place finish for $2,400 in Event #7: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better.
We'll have a more clear grasp in a week or two who will be among the favorites for Player of the Year and will keep you updated throughout the series on the race.
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TagsJosh Arieh WSOP WSOP22 World Series of Poker
Related TournamentsWorld Series of Poker
Related PlayersJosh Arieh