Chad Eveslage Becomes World Poker Tour Player of the Year

Posted on: December 22, 2022, 09:17h. 

Last updated on: December 22, 2022, 12:19h.

Only a week ago, the race for the title of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Player of the Year (POY) was still unsettled. Chad Eveslage and Steve Buckner were way out in front, but Eveslage has now hung on to capture the title.

Chad Eveslage
Chad Eveslage shows off his winning hand following his victory at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. His strength at the poker tables this year allowed him to capture the WPT Player of the Year Award. (Image: World Poker Tour)

Buckner had come up from behind, surpassing Steve Ray Qartomy in October. Then, Eveslage began catching up, starting with his win over Buckner in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

Suddenly, Buckner knew he had some real competition. He was still in front, but Eveslage turned up the heat, and with a third-place finish at the WPT Rock’ N’ Roll Poker Open in November, he took over.

Taking it to the Bank

In 2019, according to Hendon Mob, Eveslage racked up $338,786 in live poker winnings. The following year, with COVID-19 bringing casinos to their knees, he won almost nothing.

Then, Eveslage rebounded. In 2021, he earned over $2.28 million and followed that with more than $3.298 million this year.

To some, the POY race doesn’t mean a whole lot. To others, including Eveslage, it’s a big deal. He calls it a “credential,” a badge of honor for his poker prowess. It’s also a reflection of the skill that players need to get ahead.

That skill showed itself several times this year. Eveslage shipped the WSOP $25K NLHE High Roller 8-Handed event for $1.41 million and his first bracelet. In WPT action, he reached two final tables and cashed in five events. One was the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in October.

The $1.04-million pot he added to his bank account from that event was his second score of over a million this year. Since picking up his first cash in January 2011 at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, he’s pocketed more than $7.1 million in live tournaments.

Because of his solid showing on the felt this year, Eveslage finished with 2,325 points. That was just 50 more than Buckner racked up.

Like the eventual POY winner, Buckner has also been on a hot streak over the past couple of years, but not to the same degree. He took home around $120K through live tournament cashes last year, but increased his action this year. Since January 30, he fattened his wallet by $1.187 million.

The two were so strong that the third-place finisher wasn’t close. Josh Kay, who recently took second at the $3,500 NLHE WPT Rock ‘N’ Roll Championship, finished with 1,825 points in the POY race.

POY Race Comes Down to Size of the Battle

The WPT set up the POY leaderboard to award points at different tournaments. There are 18 events that qualify, two each month from February through October.

It isn’t necessary to win an event to earn points. The deeper the run, the greater the number of points.

For example, if a tournament has 1,500 players, the winner will receive 1,499 points. If a player hits the rails after making it to the 100th spot, that person earns 1,399 points.

There are other reasons to want to win the Player of the Year besides the prestige. This year, the POY winner picked up a WPT Passport package worth $15K. It includes a seat at the $10,400 WPT World Championship, accommodations at Wynn for the event, cash, and a dedicated ClubWPT VIP host during the event.

Buckner, for finishing second, received a similar package valued at $10K.