We're nearing the halfway point of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and, with 55 contenders still in the running, it is anybody's game. This year's field drew 102 players, producing a $4,896,000 prize pool with over $1.5 million of that going to the winner along with the Chip Reese Trophy.
After just five eliminations on Day 1, the pace of this tournament picked up substantially, and now almost half the field is gone and on to the next one. Here are some things you should know about who is left and will be back at the tables for Day 3 on Tuesday.
1. There is only one past winner of this event left in the field, David Bach. He is short on chips, coming back with 17,400, but did manage to do what Michael Mizrachi, Brian Rast, Matthew Ashton, and Scotty Nguyen could not, which was advance to Day 3.
2. With 102 total players, this is the second smallest field in the history of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. The player pool did end up in three-figure territory though after 17 players took advantage of late registration and signed up on Day 2. Even though the field is on the smallish size, the first place payday is still one of the biggest of the summer at $1,517,767. The top 14 finishers in this event will each earn a payday.
3. The chip leader, Jason Mercier, would earn his third bracelet if he managed to book a win in this event. The Florida-based poker pro ended with 802,600 chips after eliminating Rast late in play. That pot put him in the chip lead, but he actually spent most of the evening at or near the top of the counts.
4. There are a number of players who have final tabled this event more than once, and this year it seems likely to happen again given that at least one player from eight of the nine final tables from this event is still alive going into Day 3. The one year not represented in the bunch is 2007, while 2010 is the group that is having the most repeat success, with Rob Mizrachi and four others all returning for another day of action.
5. The Player of the Year implications for this event remain very interesting, as five players who have won bracelets already this summer are still in the field. Rob Mizrachi, who final tabled this event in 2010, is the biggest of those stacks with 298,400 chips, but Brock Parker (234,600), Calvin Anderson (215,100), Brandon Shack-Harris (191,400), and Alex Bilokur (189,200) are all still alive. One player who did not survive the day? The current leader in the POY race, George Danzer.
6. Last year, Matthew Ashton broke the streak of solely American winners in this event by becoming the first British Poker Players Champion. With 55 players remaining, there are still eight countries represented in this field, including the US. The Brits are the largest non-American group with six remaining players, but Russia, Australia, Hong Kong, France, Canada, and Norway are also represented.
7. With 55 players left, we are down to the final eight tables of play. If that number sounds off, there is an explanation. This year, the event is being played seven-handed, unlike past years which played at tables of eight. So, only the top seven finishers in this tournament can say that they final tabled the $50K Poker Players Championship.
8. Phil Ivey and his bracelet bets are still alive in this event, but he only has 8,000 chips over the starting stack. However, to give you an idea of just how slow the structure is in this tournament, we’ll be coming back to 3,000/6,000 blinds in the limit games and 1,500/3,000 in the No Limit and Pot Limit games, which means Ivey will have around 15 big bets and 30 big blinds to work with.
9. We may be on the third day of play, but nine players (16% of the remaining field) will be returning with less than the starting stack of 150,000 chips. Poker Hall of Famer Doyle Brunson is the shortest of those stacks with just 11,000 chips. Also in the bunch? Brunson’s son Todd, who is faring a little better with 138,600.
10. Here's a look at the top ten chip counts going into Day 3:
1. Jason Mercier - 802,600
2. Jonathan Duhamel - 783,000
3. Shaun Deeb - 724,400
4. David Steicke - 711,100
5. Gary Benson - 534,700
6. Scott Seiver - 529,700
7. Matt Glantz - 522,800
8. David Oppenheim - 425,000
9. Roland Israelashvili - 404,700
10. Eli Elezra - 397,300
Live updates from the floor of Day 3 of the Poker Players Championship are available on WSOP.com.