Marty Derbyshire Art Papazyan

Glendale poker pro Art Papazyan has captured the World Poker Tour Season XVI Hublot WPT Player of the Year award.

Papazyan dominated the first half of the tour’s 16th season, winning two of the first six WPT events on the Main Tour schedule. He also booked a third small cash event in April and held on through the last week’s final events of the season to secure the crown.

Winning the title means Papazyan earns a Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour Limited Edition watch and complimentary accommodations and ground transportation at all Season XVII WPT Main Tour stops.

Papazyan wins WPT Legends

A California card room cash game pro, Papazyan started his big year on the WPT at home. In August, he won the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens. There, Papazyan beat poker legend Phil Hellmuth heads-up and a field of 763 to earn the title and $668,692.

Just a little over a month later he won a second WPT Season XVI title and took a commanding lead in the player of the year race. This time, Papazyan traveled to Maryland, where he won the WPT Maryland at Live! Casino Main Event for $389,405. The event drew 561 entries.

Finally, Papazyan booked a third cash in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship. He only managed to earn $6,076 for a 137th-place finish, but it solidified his Player of the Year race lead with just a few events left on the Season XVI schedule.

Papazyan holds on through WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic

The season wrapped up last week with the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic at Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. At that late stage, 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe McKeehen still had a chance to catch Papazyan with a win. McKeehen would also have tied Papazyan by finishing runner-up, although Papazyan held the tiebreaker with the most money won.

In the end, McKeehen could do no better than a third-place finish, with Cherry Hill, New Jersey resident Darren Elias going on to win and earn a record fourth WPT title.

Papazyan had just a handful of tournament cashes on his resume coming into WPT Season XVI. Now, he boasts $1,117,510 in career tournament earnings and joins an elite club of multiple WPT winners who have also earned the PotY title. That list includes three-time WPT champion Anthony Zinno and two-time WPT champions Jonathan Little and Daniel Negreanu.

Last Saturday, Papazyan was officially crowned Season XVI Hublot WPT Player of the Year during a break in play at the WPT Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas.

Papazyan also won the Breakout Player of the Year award at the 4th Annual American Poker Awards held in Los Angeles earlier this year.

The WPT rolls on

Next up for the WPT is the WPT500 at Aria, scheduled for June 25 through July 3. Season XVII of the WPT Main Tour will begin July 21 with the WPT Gardens Poker Festival at The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens.

The WPT continues to offer one of the few legal online poker options for players in California. Its ClubWPT membership-based online poker site sees players compete for more than $100,000 in cash and prizes every month. This includes entry into live WPT events. The site works around the law regarding online poker using monthly subscription charges instead of tournament entry fees.

Editorial credit: World Poker Tour / Flickr.com / CC BY-ND 2.0

Marty Derbyshire
Marty Derbyshire - Martin Derbyshire is a veteran of the world of poker and gambling, having worked as a reporter, producer, and editor in the industry for more than a decade. He has traveled the globe interviewing high-profile personalities and contributes to a number of publications, including USPoker.com, PlayCA.com, and PlayNJ.com.