Just four years after becoming the first British player in poker history to win the Card Player Player of the Year award in 2019, Stephen Chidwick has managed to put together another incredible year on the live tournament circuit that ended with him atop the 2022 POY points race, which is presented by Global Poker.
The 33-year-old poker pro from Deal, England made 25 qualifying final tables over the past 12 months, winning five titles and cashing for more than $6.2 million in POY earnings along the way. He ended with 6,499 total points, which was just 266 more than second-ranked Farid Jattin.
With that narrow lead holding through year’s end, Chidwick became just the second player in poker’s modern era (2004-present) to earn the Card Player Player of the Year award twice, joining Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu.
“It’s definitely a cool accomplishment,” Chidwick told CardPlayer after clinching the 2022 POY honors. “With the inherent variance of tournament poker, it takes a long time for results to become meaningful. Doing well in year-long contests feels like a much bigger achievement than any individual tournament win.”
Chidwick’s consistency is not limited to year-long samples, either. He has been a top contender in the POY race each and every year from 2015 through today, with eight consecutive top 50 finishes in that time frame. In fact, starting in 2016, he has not failed to finish inside the top 25, with an average showing of just below eighth place in that six-year span. In addition to his two outright wins in the points race, he also finished as the runner-up in 2018 and the seventh-place finisher in 2017.
When asked about this long streak of steady performance, Chidwick noted, “I play a pretty high volume of the biggest stakes tournaments which puts me at a big advantage. I have a lot more opportunities to put up big scores especially given I play short deck, pot-limit Omaha, and other mixed games. At this point, I have spent more time playing big final tables and/or on stream than most, so when I run well enough to go deep in a tournament I usually feel very comfortable and confident I can do my best to capitalize on it.”
Chidwick has live tournament results dating as far back as January of 2008, but only became the regular near the top of the POY standings in the mid-2010s. Chidwick offered a few reasons for his evolution from a successful professional to one of the stars of the game.
“I started to take poker a lot more seriously around that time for several reasons. I met my wife-to-be who gave me a ton of support and motivation to try and realize my potential as a player. I focused my efforts with a lot more dedication,” said Chidwick. “Perhaps the most significant factor was the appearance of the advanced software that is now widely used. I was an early adopter of those tools and immediately saw the huge potential they offered for the development of a theoretical understanding of the game. Certainly, the time I have put in with solvers has been a big contributing factor in my success.”
Another evolution in Chidwick’s game has to do with his table presence. In his early career, it wasn’t particularly noteworthy. In recent years, though, the barbershop debates that now play out on the internet increasingly included Chidwick as one of the more intimidating players in the game, thanks in part to his sometimes unnerving staredown.
“When I started playing live I adopted a defensive posture, mostly looking down and trying not to give anything away without much thought to picking anything up from others,” revealed Chidwick.
“At some point I realized this was just an invitation for my adversaries to look at me as much as they wanted so I turned my attention outward, looking at my opponent whenever the action was on them. I quickly realized I was capable of noticing much more than I had anticipated and the added complexity of factoring these reads into my decisions is something that has captivated my interest ever since. It was never intended to intimidate, just to have as much information as possible on which to base each decision.”
In addition to winning the Card Player POY race, Chidwick also ended 2022 atop the PokerGO Tour leaderboard, edging out the likes of living legend Phil Ivey (2nd) and Jason Koon (3rd) in that high-stakes-centric point race.
Thanks in part to his POY-winning performance this year, Chidwick now has more than $44.9 million in career tournament earnings, the fourth most of any player in the game. Below is an in-depth look back at his 2022 on the live circuit.
How Stephen Chidwick Won His Second Card Player POY Award
Chidwick started off the year somewhat slowly, at least when compared with the rest of his 2022 list of accomplishments. He made just two final tables in the first two months of the year, finishing fifth in a $15,000 buy-in Stairway To Millions event and fourth in a $25,000 buy-in held at the PokerGO Cup.
March was a much busier month for Chidwick, with five final-table finishes and his first title run of the year. Chidwick topped a field of 52 entries in a €”5,200 buy-in no-limit hold’em six-max event”:https://www.cardplayer.com/poker-tournaments/9414-2022-ept-prague/1139991/results at the European Poker Tour Prague festival for $86,590 and 240 POY points. He also finished fourth in a €25,000 buy-in high roller there for another $56,527. He then made his way back to Las Vegas for the U.S. Poker Open at the PokerGO studio, where he proceeded to make three final tables for $287,500 in total prize money. As he mentioned earlier, his familiarity with various games played a part, as he cashed in a pot-limit Omaha event, a big-bet mix event, and a no-limit hold’em tournament.
April saw another pair of high-stakes final-table finishes for Chidwick. He finished fourth in a $50,000 short deck event at the Super High Roller Series Europe for $231,0000 and 255 POY points, and six days later placed sixth in the $50,000 no-limit hold’em event for another $95,000 and 136 points.
May was the biggest month of the year by far for Chidwick. He started off by securing his second POY-qualified title of the year by taking down another €5,200 six-max side event at an EPT stop, this time in Monte Carlo. He earned another $84,399 and 240 points after outlasting a tough field of 51 entries. He then went on to finish as the runner-up in a €25,000 buy-in high roller at the same series for another $276,292 and 350 points.
Next up on the schedule was the Triton Series Madrid, which saw Chidwick secure three of his top four scores of the year, including his two biggest cashes of 2022. He kicked things off with a runner-up finish in the 63-entry €75,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em eight-max event for $1,355,985 and 510 points. Just two days later he added another $291,375 and 272 points by finishing third in a €50,000 eight-max turbo event.
Chidwick closed out his massive run in Madrid by beating a field of 60 entries in the €100,000 buy-in short deck event, earning $1,890,000 and 720 as the champion. This was his single largest score of the year and the second largest of his career.
“My victory in the Triton Madrid €100k short deck is the obvious highlight of my year. It was simultaneously my first live short deck win, my first Triton trophy, and my first win in a six-figure buy-in. Certainly a special experience.”
Like most the rest of the poker world, Chidwick’s summer was largely spent in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker. His first of two final-table appearances at the series saw him finish fifth in the $10,000 short deck bracelet event for $65,143 and 250 points. He later finished eighth in the $50,000 no-limit hold’em event for another $158,278 and 170 points.
Chidwick found plenty of success in high-roller events held throughout the summer at ARIA Resort & Casino. He made four POY-qualified final tables at the Summer Aria High Rollers series, including earning his fourth and fifth POY-qualified titles of the year in a pair of $10,000 buy-in events. Those four scores added more than $350,000 to his POY earnings total, with $174,000 and $115,000 in the two wins. These scores also saw Chidwick take the lead in the POY standings.
September saw a trio of final-table showings for Chidwick, all coming in events held in Cyprus. He placed fourth in a $10,400 buy-in event at the Mediterranean Poker Party for $100,000 and 360 points. Just a few days later, he finished third from a field of 123 entries in a $30,000 buy-in six-max event in the Triton Mediterranean Poker Party series for another $408,000 and 748 points. This was his third-largest score of the year. He rounded out his trip to Cyprus with a fourth-place finish in a $25,500 pot-limit Omaha event for an additional $92,000 and 168 points.
Chidwick only added two more POY-qualified scores in the final three months of the year. In early October he placed second in a $25,000 buy-in at the Aria Fall High Rollers series for $161,000 and 210 points. Later that month he placed third in another $25,000 buy-in event, this time at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic festival at Bellagio. He added $68,000 and 112 points with that score to bring his final tally to 6,499, with 25 POY-qualified final tables and five qualified victories.
“It has been great to see poker rebound so well after Covid. Entrepreneurs like Cary Katz and Paul Phua have invested a lot of money and effort into running and broadcasting fantastic high-roller tournaments and the popularity of the game seems to just keep growing,” said Chidwick when asked about the state of the game in 2022. “I’m excited to see what the coming years bring.”
Chidwick has been one of the most consistent players in the game for nearly a decade now and doesn’t plan to cut back any time soon.
“I hope to be competitive at the highest levels of poker for many more years,” said Chidwick when asked if he plans to keep grinding as he has recently well into the future, or if he ever intends to pursue another career at some point. “I assume at some point I’ll scale back my volume but I still absolutely love the game and have no plans of switching careers any time soon.”
Chidwick’s Top Ten Scores of 2022:
€100,000 No-Limit Hold’em Short Deck
2022 Triton Series Madrid
€75,000 No-Limit Hold’em Eight Max
2022 Triton Series Madrid
Triton Mediterranean #2: $30,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max
2022 Triton Mediterranean Poker Party
€50,000 No-Limit Hold’em Eight Max Turbo
2022 Triton Series Madrid
€25,000 No-Limit Hold’em
2022 EPT Monte Carlo
SHRS Europe #2 – $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em Short Deck
2022 Super High Roller Series Europe
Triton Cyprus #1 – $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six Max
2022 Triton Poker Cyprus
Aria High Roller #14 – $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em
2022 Summer Aria High Rollers
Aria High Roller #22 – $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em
2022 Aria Fall High Rollers
$50,000 No-Limit Hold’em
2022 World Series of Poker
A look at the top 20 in the final 2022 POY race standings:
The Complete List of Card Player Player of the Year Winners:
Header image photo credits, left to right: PokerGO/Antonio Abrego, Triton Poker/Joe Giron, and PokerGO/Antonio Abrego.