Matthew Ashton laid claim to the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and the Chip Reese trophy early Friday morning following a grueling, 10-hour final table. The victory, which comes in one of the most prestigious World Series of Poker tournaments among professionals, marks Ashton's first gold bracelet and awarded him $1,744,989. Additionally, Ashton took the lead in the World Series of Poker Player of the Year race from Daniel Negreanu.
At just 25 years old, Ashton has taken the 2013 WSOP by storm with each of his four cashes coming in the form of final table appearances. The victory sky rockets his career earnings at the WSOP from $411,097 to almost $2.2 million and marks the second gold bracelet win for the U.K. at the 2013 WSOP.
This year’s $50,000 Poker Players Championship field was one of the biggest in several years with 132 players. The unexpected high turnout resulted in a prize pool of $6,336,000 and two million dollar paydays for the first and second place finishers. That brings the total number of seven-figure paydays awarded at the 2013 WSOP to eight, keeping the distinct possibility alive that this WSOP will have more seven-figure paydays than any other in history.The field drew a wide variety of some of the biggest names in the game from all over the world. However, one name stood out above the rest. After sitting out the entirety of the 2013 WSOP leading up to the Poker Players Championship, Doyle Brunson decided to play in the event and managed to survive three days before hitting the rail. Shortly after busting out of the event, Brunson Tweeted he would also be playing the Main Event this year.The top 16 finishers in this event were scheduled to get paid, but a dual elimination on the money bubble resulted in Joe Cassidy and Australia’s Gary Benson. The two players split 16th place money, each taking home $55,947.Huck Seed cashed in this event for the third time in history, putting him behind just Andy Bloch and Barry Greenstein on the list of players with the most cashes in this event. Seed took 11th place. Other notables who made the money, but missed the final table were Kevin Song (14th), Bryn Kenney (12th), and recent bracelet winner Mike Gorodinsky (9th).The final table featured just one player who had final tabled the event previously. The 2011 third place finisher in the Poker Players Championship, Minh Ly (6th), became the ninth player in history to final table this event multiple times, while the other seven players were all first-timers to the final stage of this impressive event.That is not to say the final table was not short on experienced pros. Five of the players had previously made final tables this summer at the Rio, bringing the total number of repeat final tablists in Vegas this year to 39. Matthew Ashton tied David “Bakes” Baker for the most final table appearances this summer by making his fourth, while George Danzer (5th), David Benyamine (4th), John Hennigan (3rd) and Don Nguyen (2nd) were all making their second final table appearances.Jonathan Duhamel had an impressive showing in this event, ending nearly every day towards the top of the chip counts. He made it all the way to the final table and hoped to join Scotty Nguyen as the only players to win both the Main Event and the Poker Players Championship, but ended up making an early exit in eighth place.Here are the final table results of this year’s $50,000 Poker Players Championship:1st: Matthew Ashton - $1,774,0892nd: Don Nguyen - $1,096,2543rd: John Hennigan - $686,5684th: David Benyamine - $497,1225th: George Danzer - $388,5236th: Minh Ly - $309,8307th: Mike Wattle - $251,6028th: Jonathan Duhamel - $207,630
An in-depth profile and interview with the champion is available on WSOP.com.