Poker is a streaky affair. Players can make few changes to their game play, but a run of cards or the boost of confidence that comes with a recent victory can be the difference between a multi-bracelet summer and a cashless seven weeks at the Rio.
A glance at the leaderboard after two days of play in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship only goes to show you that in poker, success often breeds success. Three of the top five big stacks have already won a gold bracelet this summer, and now only 56 players stand between them and one of the biggest final tables of the year. A second bracelet would be icing on the cake for chip leader Andy Bloch, who bagged up 687,000, but it would also be a fitting conclusion to his winning summer to prevail in the same event where he came up just short, losing to Chip Reese heads-up back in 2006.
For John Monnette, who is currently third in chips, a win in this event would be the score that secures his standing as the frontrunner in the WSOP Player of the Year race. Don't discount the current leader in the POY race though, as Phil Ivey is still alive in this event as well.
Ivey, Monnette, and Bloch are three of the 62 players who will return on Tuesday for Day 3 action. While Day 1 only saw David Singer hit the rail, Monday plowed through the field, as around 40% of the 108 total entrants headed for the exit. The field size is down from last year's 128 players, but up substantially from the last time the $50,000 event was not part of ESPN's television coverage of the WSOP. The top prize is still going to be the biggest outside of the Big One for One Drop and the Main Event, with the champion taking home the gold bracelet and $1,451,527.
The long list of casualties include past champion David Bach, Daniel Negreanu, Scott Seiver, Mike Matusow, Nick Schulman, Mike Sexton, Frank Kassela, John Juanda, Eugene Katchalov, Jonathan Duhamel, and Nikolai Yakovenko, whose exit from the tournament came in the most dramatic hand of the WSOP thus far.
In a pot that took almost thirty minutes to sort out, Yakovenko, Shaun Deeb, and Abe Mosseri clashed in a three-way all-in that was not actually an all-in. There was some confusion between the dealer and the players about whether or not Yakovenko was all-in preflop, and when all three players in the hand tabled their holdings and a board ran out, the ultimate ruling was that, even though Yakovenko had not moved all-in, the agreed upon action was an all-in since all players in the hand tabled their holdings without stopping the action. The full details of the hand are available in the live updates from the event.
Here are the top ten chip counts from the end of Day 2:
1. Andy Bloch - 687,000
2. Abe Mosseri - 633,100
3. John Monnette - 563,000
4. Michael Mizrachi - 563,000
5. Joe Cassidy - 542,300
6. Robert Mizrachi - 500,200
7. Daniel Alaei - 488,700
8. Jonathan Spinks - 473,900
9. Dan Shak - 461,400
10. John Hennigan - 460,300
Here are the eliminated players and their finishing position through Day 2 of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship:
63. Rami Boukai64. Matthew Russell65. Hasan Habib66. Nikolai Yakovenko67. Daniel Negreanu68. Jared Bleznick69. Jonathan Duhamel70. David Steicke71. Ville Wahlbeck72. Marco Johnson73. Andrew Robl74. Eric Cloutier75. Andrew Brown76. David Bakes Baker77. Jesse Martin78. Chris Lee79. David Bach80. Gus Hansen81. John Juanda82. Allen Cunningham83. Eric Rodawig84. Hoi Cheung85. Eugene Katchalov86. Jon Turner87. Todd Brunson88. Cory Zeidman89. Josh Arieh90. Vladimir Shchmelev91. Mike Matusow92. Owais Ahmed93. Nick Schulman94. Bryn Kenney95. Cary Katz96. Frank Kassela97. Naoya Kihara98. Arturo Diaz99. George Lind100. Bertrand Grospellier101. Anton Allemann102. Mike Sexton103. Shawn Buchanan104. Scott Seiver105. Stephen Mack106. Lee Goldman107. Justin Bonomo
108. David Singer
Photo by Joe Giron for PokerNews/WSOP