Breaking Down the Action:
  • Two Decades of Winners
  • Eveslage Clings on for Victory
  • What Did Eveslage Win for Becoming WPT Player of the Year?

4 Minute Read

Chad Eveslage won the World Poker Tour Player of the Year when he sweated victory after the WPT World Championship in Las Vegas.

The World Poker Tour Player of the Year race has concluded and after one of the closest battles in recent years, Chad Eveslage took the title after edging out Steve Buckner in second place. With players such as Stephen Song and WPT World Championship winner Eliot Hudon going close, Eveslage managed to survive a late sweat to achieve victory.

Two Decades of Winners

The World Poker Tour have celebrated their Player of the Year annually for two decades now, going right back to Season 1, when Howard Lederer, formerly known as ‘The Professor’ and implicated in the Full Tilt Poker scandal of 2011, won the award. In the first ten years of the award, Lederer was followed into poker history by Erick Lindgren and Daniel Negreanu in Seasons 2 and 3 respectively.

All of which is ironic, because ‘E-Dog’ and ‘DNegs’ shared a sake this week in Las Vegas:

Negreanu’s win in Season 3 represents the highest-placed player on the all-time money list to become WPT Player of the Year, with the Canadian third best of all-time in rankings tournaments at the time of going to press. After Negreanu won it, the late, great Gavin Smith claimed victory in Season 4, and his win was followed up by successes for J.C. Tran, Bertrand Grospellier and Faraz Jaka among others in the first decade.

From Season 11 onwards, there have been nine more winners, each of whom different to their preceding occupants of that cherished title. No single player has ever won more than one WPT Player of the Year, including stars of poker stage and screen such as Matt Salsberg (Season 11), Anthony Zinno (Season 13) and last year’s winner, Jake Ferro.

Eveslage Clings on for Victory

While Chad Eveslage’s win was fully earned, he had a close sweat at the end of the year like never before. Unable to get any more points in the WPT World Championship in Las Vegas that thrilled poker fans and players alike, Eveslage had to sweat the results sat in the clubhouse with 2,325 points and a nervous wait wound ensue.

Eveslage was unable to cash in the $10,400-entry WPT World Championship, but others didn’t have any such issue as they hunted him down. Steve Buckner got through the money bubble just 175 points behind Eveslage, and the WPT Five Diamond Classic winner from October had a massive worry that he could be overtaken.

Others to remain in contention included Fred Paradis, the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa runner-up, but only a win would help Paradis to the POY title too. Far closer in terms of threat was Buckner, however, as he ‘only’ needed to finish in the top 32 places. Ultimately, that dream died when he busted in 319th place on Day 3. Paradis kept it interesting for some time, but was eventually eliminated in 82nd place, confirming Chad Eveslage as the Season 20 WPT Player of the Year.

What Did Eveslage Win for Becoming WPT Player of the Year?

Eveslage doesn’t just win the respect and admiration of his peers for his unprecedented success. The American also receives a $15,000 WPT ‘Passport’, which he can use to enter Main Events around the world, with runner-up Buckner claiming a $10,000 Passport and third-place finisher Josh Kay getting one valued at $5,000.

It’s been an incredible year for Eveslage as he became the toast of the World Poker Tour. As well as claiming his place on the WPT Mike Sexton Champions Cup in October, he won a World Series of Poker bracelet in the summer in Las Vegas, claiming $1,415,610 when he took down the $25,000-entry NLHE High Roller 8-Max event for what was the biggest tournament result of his career to date.

In total, Eveslage has cashed five times in World Poker Tour events in 2022, with two final tables and one outright win seeing him win seven figures to push his tournament earnings beyond $7 million. The Indiana-born professional will be a player to watch in 2023, especially in WPT Main Events, many of which he’ll be effectively freerolling thanks to his success in the past 12 months.

World Poker Tour 2022 Player of the Year Leaderboard Final Results:

Place Player Country Points
1st Chad Eveslage U.S.A. 2,325
2nd Steve Buckner U.S.A. 2,275
3rd Josh Kay U.S.A. 1,825
4th Ray Qartomy U.S.A. 1,775
5th Stephen Song U.S.A. 1,625
6th Eliot Hudon Canada 1,600
7th Naj Ajez Australia 1,425
8th Mark Davis U.S.A. 1,400
9th Alexander Yen U.S.A. 1,400
10th Mike Vanier U.S.A. 1,400


Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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