For the second consecutive year, poker fans were subjected to a treat of a race, as the final stages of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year (POY) culminated in victory for the German mixed game specialist George Danzer.
It was the second time in succession that the POY leader, coming out of Vegas, was unable to hold on to their lead, as the most prestigious tournament in the history of poker upped its anchor and headed to a different continent.
Last year saw Daniel Negreanu leave it until the very last tournament before he surpassed the Englishman, Matt Ashton, after victory in the €25,600 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) High Roller at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) in Paris, and once again the race went to the wire, as Danzer overcame the American Brandon Shack-Harris after a wonderful display in Melbourne, Australia.
Here is how the race went down.
On the 28th May 2014, Brandon Shack-Harris won his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet after defeating 1,128 entrants in the $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) event in Vegas. One day later and George Danzer took fifth in the $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Championship.
Moving into June and the pair would clash in the $10,000 Seven Card Razz Championship after Danzer overcame Shack-Harris in heads-up action to win his first – and deny Shack-Harris his second – WSOP bracelet of the summer.
From that point on Danzer had the momentum. In the space of seven sunny days in June, he would finish 39th in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo event, 9th in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed Championship, and he would win his second bracelet in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Championship.
That second bracelet opened up a big lead for Danzer, but Shack-Harris stepped his foot on the gas and came up with two fantastic performances. On the 20th June he finished third from a field of 654 entrants in a $1,500 NLHE event (654), and then finished runner-up to John Hennigan in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship.
Danzer was once again playing catch up – but a 48th place finish in a $1,500 NLHE Ante Up event, and 44th place finish in the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, brought him neck and neck with Shack-Harris, who responded by finishing in 34th place in the $3,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event to head to Australia with the lead.
When the first event of the World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP-APAC) kicked off on 2nd Oct, it was as if the two had never been away. Danzer finishing in 22nd place, and Shack-Harris taking 53rd, in the A$1,100 NLHE Accumulator to give the German the lead once more.
How did Shack Harris react?
He would go on to make the final table of the A$1,650 NLHE Terminator event, and once again Danzer was pushed down the pecking order.
It would be the 8-Game action that would see Danzer eventually create a lead that not even the outstanding performances of Shack-Harris could claw back. The man nicknamed ‘Trickyscarfy’ making the final table of the A$1,650 8-Game Dealers Choice, finishing in sixth, and then he became only the sixth player in the history of the game to win three bracelets in one season, with victory in the A$5,000 8-Game Mixed Event.
It was all over.
Except nobody told Shack-Harris.
Incredibly, whilst needing to finish first or second in the A$10,000 NLHE Main Event to capture the title, Shack-Harris made it to 17th place out of a starting field of 329 players.
Then, with time to spare, Shack-Harris jumped straight into the High Roller, looking for a fourth place finish to take the title. Unfortunately, his incredible run would come to an end after flopping trip queens against the pocket aces of Sean Winter, only to see a third ace hit the river to send Shack-Harris to his final rail, and hand Danzer all the glory.
Congratulations to George Danzer. It took three WSOP bracelets, five final tables, and 10 cashes to win the POY, and a $10,000 seat in the 2015 WSOP Main Event makes it all worth it.
2014 WSOP Player of the Year Results
1st George Danzer – 923.50 points
2nd Brandon Shack-Harris – 806.70 points
3rd John Hennigan – 557.88 points
4th Daniel Negreanu – 519.08 points
5th Ismael Bojang – 467.91 points
6th Daniel Colman – 452.40 points
7th Justin Bonomo – 449.63 points
8th Richard Ashby – 413.55 points
9th Brock Parker – 406.25 points
10th Calvin Anderson – 398.20 points
It was the fourth year that the WSOP have used the BLUFF formula to power their rankings, throughout 62 bracelet events in Las Vegas, and 10 in Melbourne, Australia.