Steve Buckner Overtakes Ray Qartomy for WPT Season 20 Player of the Year Lead

Steve Buckner

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Player of the Year leaderboard received a major overhaul this weekend at the Bellagio in Las Vegas!

Steve “Cuz” Buckner, while disappointed by not winning the Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event, can take solace in the fact that he’s now the new leader in the Player of the Year race thanks to his runner-up finish to Chad Eveslage.

Buckner, who also finished second to Chance Kornuth at WPT Choctaw, brought 1,100 points into this week’s event, needing at least a fourth-place finish to shoot through the top ten and pass Ray Qartomy, who had 1,700 points, atop the leaderboard. Buckner did that and more, earning 1,050 points to now lead the race with 2,150 points.

Despite his disappointment, Buckner spoke briefly with PokerNews to say how his late mother has been the inspiration in his quest for a WPT title.

“Since my mother passed, I have been on the road since March 20th of last year. I have been cashing, and cashing, and cashing. It’s good to cash, but it’d be nice to be on the (Mike Sexton Champions) cup.”

Eveslage Enters the Conversation

While Bucker is the new POY leader, the man who defeated him heads-up, Chad Eveslage is now right in the mix for the title as well. Eveslage earned 1,300 points for the win, which combined with his 175 points coming into the Five Diamond, have moved him into third place on the POY leaderboard.

Another deep run in one of the final three POY-eligible events would see Eveslage potentially add a POY title to his now two career WPT main event wins. It’s a goal he says he’ll be shooting for.

“I hope so. I don’t know, if I win another big tournament, my friends might just kill me,” Eveslage said with a laugh.

Chad Eveslage
Chad Eveslage

Vanier and Wade Also Pick Up Points

Mike Vanier had a chance to also make a run toward the top spot, but after finishing each of the first three days second in chips, Vanier was eliminated in 21st place on Day 4. He still earned 150 POY points for that finish, moving him into a tie for fourth place with Mark Davis and Alexander Yen.

Corey Wade, who entered the Five Diamond tenth in the POY standings with 1,200 points was the only other contender to earn points. He finished in 60th place Saturday to earn 75 points and move up the standings to ninth place, tied with Chance Kornuth at 1,275 points. Kornuth also failed to cash this week, getting eliminated on Day 2.

WPT Player of the Year Season 20 Top Ten Standings

1 Steve Buckner $1,038,500 0 2 4 2,150
2 Ray Qartomy $615,000 0 2 2 1,700
3 Chad Eveslage $1,060,825 1 1 3 1,475
4 Mark Davis $1,000,300 1 1 1 1,400
5 Alexander Yen $975,240 1 1 3 1,400
6 Mike Vanier $661,800 0 1 4 1,400
7 Robert Mizrachi $894,100 1 1 1 1,300
8 Chance Kornuth $502,450 1 1 3 1,275
9 Corey Wade $492,186 1 1 2 1,275
10 Anton Wigg $672,980 0 1 2 1,250

Check out the WPT Hub on PokerNews here!

Three Chances Left to Earn Points

While there’s a new leader in Buckner and a new contender in Eveslage, the Player of the Year race is far from over.

The next WPT main tour stop with POY points up for grabs is just over a month away at the Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida, with the $3,500 main event starting on November 25th. After that, the final series of the year is at Wynn Las Vegas with the $10,400 WPT World Championship starting on December 12th.

Also at the Wynn will be the final WPT Prime tour stop of the year, the $1,100 WPT Prime Championship on December 8th, which will also award Player of the Year points.

PokerNews will be at each of these stops to bring you all the WPT POY news as it develops until the winner is crowned.

The World Poker Tour (WPT) will return to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida this November for the WPT Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open (RRPO), which will culminate with the $3,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Main Event taking place from November 25-30.

*Images courtesy of WPT/Joe Giron.

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