The annual $50,000 Poker Players Championship held by the WSOP is one of the most prestigious events in the tournament. Having started in 2006, the event has consistently enjoyed good response in the following years, with most of the players entering it being celebrated poker professionals. This year too, it was no different, with 108 players signing up for the event.
Among the players who entered the event were – Phil Hellmuth (12-time WSOP bracelet winner), Barry Greenstein, Mike Sexton and Doyle Brunson. Also in the event were David Bach, Michael Mizrachi, Brian Rast and Freddy Deeb, players who won bracelets in previous $50,000 Poker Players Championship. The high-stakes event has an 8-game rotation, and will see the winner lift the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy along with the coveted WSOP bracelet. Here’s a look at the action as it unfolded.
Day 1 Sees Only One Elimination
On Sunday afternoon, the game started with five levels played for 100 minutes each. After seven hours of play, the field stayed strong with just one player, David Singer, eliminated. He was sent out by Bruno Fitoussi, in a PLO hand where he went all-in with a set of aces against the nut straight in Fitoussi’s hand. When the game closed on Sunday night, 107 players were contending for the bracelet. Matt Glantz was in the lead with 310,700 chips, which was nearly twice what he started the day with. Some of the other players with him at the top of the list were Ali Eslami, Joe Cassidy, Andy Bloch, Lyle Berman, David Baker and Keith Gipson.
Day 2 – Player of the Year Contenders Battle it Out; Controversial Hand Played
At the end of Day 2, the player with the highest number of chips was Andy Bloch. However, he faces tough competition in opponents like John Monnette who also have won bracelets this year. If Monnette gets the bracelet in the event, it will help him plant his feet firmly in the race for the title of the WSOP Player of the Year. Currently, the top player in the POY list is Phil Ivey, who too is in the running for the bracelet in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Day 2 saw more than 35 players leave the game. Among them were Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow, Frank Kassela, Eugene Katchalov, Mike Sexton and Nick Schulman.
There was quite a bit of action during the day, with confusion about a hand played by Nikolai Yakovenko, Abe Mosseri and Sahun Deeb. It was a massive 3-way pot in a PLO hand. The issue was that the players and dealer could not agree on whether Yakovenko had gone all-in pre-flop
Day 3 – Viktor Blom Takes the Lead with 1,260,000 Chips
Day 3 saw a turn of events when one of the youngest professional poker players and member of Team PokerStars, Viktor Blom, (also known by his handle ‘Isildur1), made it to the position of the chip lead when he accumulated close to 1,260,000. One of the factors that made this quite commendable is that he had just a week to practice in 6 of the 8 events featured in the rotation.
According to a Tweet from Daniel Negreanu, a couple of days before the event started, Blom was not aware that the 7th street is dealt face-down in Stud games. Despite this, Blom prevailed because he has a number of strengths that make him a skilled card player. He has a good sense of how a game flows and how his opponents work. He also has a strong sense of general game theory.
In one of the hands he played late in the day, Blom went all-in in a PLO hand. He played his set of 9s against the set of 10s that Joe Cassidy had made. With just one card to hit the board, Blom’s time at the felt seemed to be ending. However, he landed the card that got him not just the pot, but the top spot on the leaderboard. At the beginning of Day 3, there were 62 players in the running for the place of the winner. However, by the end of it, there were just 26.