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Poker News | World Poker News

John Phan Wins 2008 Player of the Year Honors

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There is no doubt that John Phan had a stellar year in 2008. He won two World Series of Poker bracelets and a World Poker Tour title, not to mention the twelve other cashes he added to his record of accomplishments. But it was those successes that led to two more honors bestowed upon Phan - CardPlayer and Bluff Player of the Year awards.

A Player of the Year (POY) is chosen based on predetermined rankings set up by various media outlets who track players on the tournament circuit throughout the year. And while many players often end up in contention as the year progresses, only a select few typically remain to vie for the title by December to have it determined by their performances in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio. The 2008 race happened to be extremely close, as 2007 CardPlayer winner David Pham made a serious run at a second POY title in a row, and Michael Binger and Bertrand Grospellier came close to winning their respective first POY honors.

But it was Full Tilt Poker pro John “The Razor” Phan who took the titles with CardPlayer and Bluff when the final numbers were tallied. The outstanding year had by Phan included: WSOP bracelet in $3K NLHE event, WSOP bracelet in $2500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (one week later), three other WSOP cashes, WPT victory at $10K Legends of Poker, and two other WPT final tables -- Season 6 Bay 101 and Season 7 Bellagio Cup. He also made final tables in preliminary events at the Gold Strike World Poker Open, Borgata Poker Open, and Festa al Lago Classic. In 2008, he earned more than $2.1 million for those efforts.

Not only was 2008 an impressive year for Phan, but it was a year of firsts. The NLHE bracelet at the WSOP was his first, as was his WPT victory. It wasn’t as if Phan hadn’t put in his time at the tables or didn’t have the skills to reach that mountaintop, but poker players sometimes have to wait for their due. And it all paid off for Phan in 2008.

The CardPlayer POY honor was determined by the 6,704 points accumulated by Phan throughout the year, with David “The Dragon” Pham behind at 6,022 points. Phan had come close to becoming the 2005 POY but lost to Men “The Master” Nguyen, so when the opportunity presented itself again in 2008, he was determined not to lose it again. But it was more than that; Phan was on a roll, and with momentum and confidence on his side, there seemed to be no stopping him.

CardPlayer announced that Phan clinched the POY title amidst the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio on December 16, when Michael Binger was eliminated in 67th place in the tournament and thus unable to possibly catch Phan in the point’s race. Phan then became the seventh player to ever win the award.

Bluff Magazine made its announcement that Phan clinched his POY spot on January 2, after it was determined that he came up with 1,214.08 points, only a few ahead of Michael Binger and his 1,183.67 points. This was also determined by the December Bellagio tournament.

Bluff publisher, Eric Morris, said, “Phan’s year was certainly one of the most impressive in recent memory. With two bracelets and a WPT win he’s earned the right to call himself Bluff Magazine Player of the Year. The closeness of the race goes to show that the changes to our points system made the race fair and exciting for poker fans around the world. Seeing a competitor travel across the country during the holiday season for a shot at winning this title really speaks to the prestige and honor professional poker players see in the award. That’s what makes our winner so deserving - the race wasn’t really over until the final event of the year.”

The double POY titles for Phan are something that he will likely treasure. And to commemorate the honor, both magazines will be featuring Phan on upcoming magazine covers.

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