WSOP’s Finest Out to Prove They’re the Best in $50,000 Poker Players Championship

July 3rd, 2017 | by Brian Corlisse

The World Series of Poker’s (WSOP) $50,000 Poker Players Championship got underway on July 6 with 93 entries being collected on the first day.

Matthew Ashton Poker Players Championship.

The UK’s Matthew Ashton is looking to repeat his 2013 achievement and win this year’s WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship. (Image:

The $50,000 Poker Players Championship was added to the WSOP’s schedule in 2010. Replacing the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, the Poker Players Championship features 10 games and is designed to find the best all-round poker player in the world.

One for the Pros

At the time it was added to the schedule, the $50,000 entry fee made it one of the richest tournaments in world. In recent years, however, high rollers and super high rollers at festivals around the world have far surpassed that mark.

In fact, the WSOP itself hosts a more expensive tournament ($111,111 and £1,000,000) as part of its charity partnership with Guy Laliberte’s ONE DROP foundation.

However, despite other organizations offering larger buy-ins and prizepools, many still consider the Poker Players Championship the tournament everyone wants to win.

Given the format, buy-in and range of games, amateur players have a very slim chance of winning the 10-game mix. In contrast, when the $10,000 Main Event gets closer to the money bubble, the blind to stack ratio is fairly small.

This allows luck to play a bigger factor in the outcome and, as we’ve seen over the years, inexperienced players win the game’s largest event.

Based on this, the Poker Players Championship is revered by pros and this year the opening day was a who’s who of poker talent. From veterans such as Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan to young players like Isaac Haxton, James Obst and Jason Mercier, 93 of the world’s top players joined the action.

Cates Falls As Ashton Rises

Because players are given 250,000 starting chips and a 100 minute clock, play in the early rounds is slow and, by the close of the day, just six players had been eliminated. Daniel Cates was the first player to fall after his A♦ K♦ couldn’t catch a lucky break against Mark Gregorich’s pocket aces.

With the high stakes cash game player out of the mix by the midway point of Level 4, play continued through until the close of the sixth level. When the counts were in for Day 1, six players had bitten the dust and the UK’s Matthew Ashton bagged enough chips to finish top of the leaderboard.

Although there is a long way to go, Ashton won the event back in 2013 when he beat Don Nguyen heads-up. On that occasion the organizers collected 132 entries which meant Ashton took home $1,774,089.

This year, the event has already collected two more entries than in 2016 and that figure could rise still with registration being open until the start of Day 2. Although the 2017 Poker Players Championship is unlikely to reach 132 players, 100 entries would take the prizepool close to the $5 million mark.

With a murderer’s row of talent still left in the event, Ashton’s place at the top of the leaderboard is by no means secure. However, if there’s one player that knows how to survive in the toughest live poker tournament in the world, it’s Ashton.


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