Marty Derbyshire glendale world poker tour

A Glendale poker player is dominating the World Poker Tour this year. In fact, Art Papazyan has won two of the first six WPT events on the Main Tour schedule to take a huge lead in the WPT Player of the Year race.

First, Papazyan won the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino on Aug. 31. He collected a first-place prize of $668,692 after getting the best of a 763-entry field. He also managed to beat poker legend Phil Hellmuth heads-up to earn the title.

Last week, Papazyan also won the WPT Maryland at Live! Casino Main Event hosted by the Maryland Live! Casino. The event drew 561 entries, and Papazyan earned a $389,405 first-place prize by outlasting them all.

From cash-game pro to two-time WPT champ

Papazyan had only a handful of tournament cashes on his resume coming into this WPT season. Now, he boasts more $1.1 million and counting in career tournament earnings. In fact, Papazyan has claimed to be more of a cash-game player.

Incredibly, Papazyan told the WPT the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event was the first WPT tournament he’d ever played and the WPT Maryland at Live! Casino Main Event was just the second. He described both victories as surreal.

Papazyan dominating WPT Player of the Year race

The Maryland win also gave Papazyan a healthy lead in this season’s WPT Player of the Year race, landing him at 2,400 points. He now sits just 150 shy of the 2,550 points Benjamin Zamani collected on the way to earning the Season 15 Player of the Year title last season.

Plus, Papazyan currently has twice as many points as the two players closest to him. This includes WPT Borgata champion Guo Liang Chen and WPT Choctaw champion Jay Lee, who each have 1,200 points.

More on the WPT

There are some 10 events left on the Season 16 WPT schedule, so it is conceivable Papazyan could be overtaken for Player of the Year. However, he has set a high bar. It appears it’s going to take at least two Main Event wins to catch him. Plus, Papazyan has shown no signs of being done yet.

The WPT hosts one of the few options for legal online poker in California and the US at large. The tour’s ClubWPT is a membership-based online poker site where players compete for over $100,000 in cash and prizes every month, including seats at WPT events. Players may pay a monthly membership fee, but there is no cost to enter tournaments, helping the site skirt around online poker laws.

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.