Wednesday, July 06, 2016

The Return of the $50K

The $50K “Poker Players Championship” event has circled back around at this year’s World Series of Poker, and in fact has already played down to a six-handed final table from a starting field of 91 players. Will probably have to tune in to watch the live stream a bit later today with this one.

A couple of former PPC winners are still in the mix -- Michael Mizrachi (who has won twice) and Brian Rast -- while Justin Bonomo is the chip leader.

That 91-entry field represents a slight increase from the 84 who took part last year when Mike Gorodinsky topped the smallest field ever for the tournament which began in 2006. Entries over the years (since 2006) have been 143, 148, 148, 95, 116, 128, 108, 132, 102, 84, and 91. (See this post from last summer for a summary of results from the tournament’s first decade, minus Gorodinsky’s win).

The tournament was switched back to an eight-game mix this time after experimenting with the 10-game format a year ago, with Badugi and 2-7 NL draw being dropped again from the rotation after being included for one year.

Hard to believe, actually, that the “$50K” (as it’s often called) has been around for more than a decade now, given how well I remember both the announcement of the first one and watching the final table play out on ESPN where David “Chip” Reese outlasted Andy Bloch in a marathon finish heads-up.

Was an altogether novel thing suddenly to introduce a preliminary event featuring a buy-in five times that of the Main, with a lot of talk at the time about how it could eclipse the Main in terms of prestige and even thoughts about who exactly would be considered poker’s “world champion” for a given year.

That latter discussion faded away long ago with regard to the $50K, despite the introduction of that “Poker Players Championship” name for it back in 2010. It’s now mostly regarded as another “high roller” -- one of many on the tournament calendar, although the only one to step outside of the no-limit hold’em circle to include other variants in the mix.

For that reason alone it continues to pique my interest, as I’m sure today’s finale will grab the attention of many.

Photo: PokerNews.

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