Day Two of the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship (PPC) closed with quite a bit of drama.  

Highlights included the official prize pool announcement, several notable chip lead changes, quite a few notable eliminations, plus a number of compelling stories worth watching as we move forward into the tournament's final three days.

This year's PPC attracted the biggest turnout in several years with 132 entrants.  This created a $6,336,000 prize pool.  In fact, the top two finishers will each collect more than a million dollars, with $1,774,089 going to the new champion.

Right now, gold bracelet winner David Benyamine is in the driver's seat.  The former tennis pro from France who now resides in Las Vegas and has been one of poker's most steady cash game players for years, made a late move at the end of Day Two, rocketing up the leaderboard into first place with a chip count of 729,000.

Jonathan Duhamel, the 2010 World Champion, started Day Two as chip leader.  He remains near the crest of the mountaintop on Benyamine's tail, ending the second session ranked in second place, with 666,100 in chips.  Meanwhile, some players still seeking their first gold bracelet stocked the rest of the top spots, with Matthew Ashton, Troy Burkholder, and Jean Gaspard rounding out the top five spots.

Among the two most-watched players in this year's PPC – for entirely different reasons – were Doyle Brunson and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi.  

Brunson came into second-day action ranked above average in chips.  This was the first (and so far, only) event the poker legend has played at this year's series.  He ended the day ahead of the pack again, in relatively good shape to contend for a much coveted (and many would say hoped for) presence on Day Four.  Brunson finished ranked in 32nd place with 265,000.  Brunson final tabled this tournament just once, back in the first year it was held.

As for Mizrachi, the only player to have won the PPC twice, he went bust by mid-day, just moments after his brother Robert (a fellow gold bracelet winner) was also eliminated.  Mizrachi's quest for a third victory in this ultra-prestigious tournament will have to wait for at least another year.

Mizrachi wasn't alone in his early walk out to the parking lot.  Day Two was unkind to several notable pros, including Phil Ivey, Eugene Katchalov, Phil Galfond, Tom Schneider, Scott Seiver, Mike Matusow, Daniel Negreanu, Allen Bari, Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, Marco Johnson, Mike Sexton, Konstantin Puchkov, Robert Mizrachi, John  Monnette, Ville Wahlbeck, David “Bakes” Baker and David “ODB” Baker, Scott Clements, Daniel Alaei, Andy Bloch, Jason Lester, Harry Thomas and Vlademir Shchemelev.  These names were among the gold bracelet winners who were eliminated.

In addition to Rast,  one other previous Poker Player Champion is in the hunt for a second title.  The 2009 winner David Bach survived the day with 364,900 chips.  Bach, Mizrachi, and Rast were the only three previous winners to take part in this year's event.
Here's a look at the top ten chip counts from the end of Day 2:
1.  David Benyamine    729,000    
2.  Jonathan Duhamel    666,100    
3.  Matthew Ashton    635,500    
4.  Troy Burkholder        623,000    
5.  Jean Gaspard        611,000
6.  Don Nguyen        528,000    
7.  Brian Rast        489,500    
8.  Justin Smith        456,000    
9.  Shaun Deeb        453,600
10. Adam Friedman    436,600
A complete list of Day Two chip counts is available on

Day Three action commences with 78 survivors.  Action resumes at 2 pm on Tuesday.  The tournament is expected to conclude on Thursday night, which will include the presentation of the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy to the winner.