Josh Arieh Wins 2021 WSOP POY After Points Miscalculation Drama

By Craig Klinski
June 16, 2022

josh arieh wsop 2021 player of the year

The 2021 World Series of Poker isn’t officially over but Josh Arieh has officially secured the 2021 crown after play for the Las Vegas portion of the WSOP officially wrapped up.

The WSOP technically continues through December 8th as part of WSOP Europe, but this year WSOP Europe will NOT be part of the calculations. For 2021, only the Las Vegas leg and the 10 online events that occurred in October and November would be applied to the standings.

Josh Arieh, a name that not many had pegged for Player of the Year prior to the start, wound up taking home the honor with two WSOP bracelet wins and numerous cashes throughout the series. Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Ben Yu and Jeremy Ausmus rounded out the top five.

For his efforts, Arieh wins a $15k cash prize while Hellmuth takes home $7,500 and Negreanu $2,500.

Drama preceded POY confirmation

Despite a proclamation that Arieh was the winner of the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year earlier on Tuesday, there was actually a small error in the calculations and that Arieh did not quite have the honor located up.

Due to a miscalculation in point calculations, Ben Yu could have actually eclipsed Arieh had he won the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event which started on Monday. Adding more drama situation was that Yu also happened to hold the chip lead to start the day.

Fortunately for Arieh, Yu was ultimately knocked out in 10th place with Bulgaria’s Boris Kolev taking home the prize in the event.

Arieh’s path to a WSOP Player of the Year victory

Josh Arieh’s rise to the top of the 2021 Player of the Year standings has been well earned with two bracelet wins and twelve total cashes during the 2021 WSOP.

Prior to 2021, Josh Arieh hadn’t won a bracelet since 2005, but this year he took home gold in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo (for $204,766), which he followed up two weeks later with a victory in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better Championship (for $484,791).

Arieh also made the top ten in five other WSOP events during the 2021 World Series including a 6th place finish in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and a 7th place finish in the $50,000 Pot Limit Omaha.

2021 WSOP POY Rankings

The 2021 Player of the Year standings were filled with some big names who took home bracelets over the last couple of months. Some players such as Daniel Negreanu didn’t win a bracelet this year, but he managed to propel himself up in the standings by playing in a lot of events and performing well in many of them.

2021 WSOP Main Event winner Koray Aldemir finished in 9th place in the Player of the Year standings with his bracelet and 12 cashes.

2021 WSOP POY Standings

Rank Player Points
1 Josh Arieh 4,194.59
2 Phil Hellmuth 3,664.09
3 Daniel Negreanu 3,531.03
4 Jeremy Ausmus 3.272.57
5 Ryan Leng 3,042.21
6 Ben Yu 3,026.64
7 Dylan Linde 2,976.62
8 Koray Aldemir 2,911.73
9 Scott Ball 2,907.94
10 Shaun Deeb 2,895.75

Past WSOP winners

The World Series of Poker Player of Year has been a fixture of the WSOP since 2004 when Daniel Negreanu earned the honor, his first of two POY titles.

Besides Negreanu, the award has been issued to different players each year:

  • 2019 – Robert Campbell
  • 2018 – Shaun Deeb
  • 2017 – Chris Ferguson
  • 2016 – Jason Merceier
  • 2015 – Mike Gorodinksy
  • 2014 – George Danzer
  • 2013 – Daniel Negreanu
  • 2012 – Greg Merson
  • 2011 – Ben Lamb
  • 2010 – Frank Kassela
  • 2009 – Jeffrey Lisandro
  • 2008 – Erick Lindgren
  • 2007 – Tom Schneider
  • 2006 – Jeff Madsen
  • 2005 – Allen Cunningham
  • 2004 – Daniel Negreanu

The premature winner has happened before

Many poker fans have noted that this isn’t the first time a player has been prematurely named WSOP Player of the Year. In 2021, many assumed that Daniel Negreanu had secured the 2019 Player of the Year title.

Daniel Negreanu even posted a celebratory video of him winning the 2019 WSOP before it was revealed that Robert Campbell actually was the 2019 Player of the Year winner.

The honor was awarded to Robert Campbell after it was revealed that Daniel Negreanu had been incorrectly credited with 213.10 Player of the Year points for a tournament he didn’t actually cash in.

Reaction to the 2021 WSOP POY

Arieh’s fellow competitors were gracious in defeat:

After the drama of Tuesday’s WSOP mixup, some had a lot to say about the yearly honor.

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