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2015 46th Annual World Series of Poker

Sunday, June 21, 2015 to Thursday, June 25, 2015

Event #44: $50,000 Poker Players Championship

download official reportdownload official winner photo
  • Buy-in: $50,000
  • Prizepool: $4,032,000
  • Entries: 84
  • Remaining: 0


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Friday, June 26, 2015 1:45 AM Local Time


Name: Mike Gorodinsky
Profession: Poker Pro

Number of WSOP Cashes: 12
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 5
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 2
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 1st (2013)
Total WSOP Earnings: $2,174,665


Mike Gorodinsky has just joined one of the most elite clubs in poker. After five days, Gorodinsky bested a field of 84 of the best poker players in the world to win the 2015 Poker Players' Championship. In addition to his second career WSOP bracelet and the $1,270,086 first-place prize, Gorodinsky will have his name inscribed on the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy. His is only the ninth name in history to be etched upon it.

"I feel amazing," Gorodinsky said after his victory. "This is literally something that I’ve gone to bed dreaming about, and it’s just cool to legitimately realize a dream. So it’s just an amazing day. An amazing five days. "

Before winning the bracelet, Gorodinsky faced a tough heads-up contest against Jean-Robert Bellande. Heads-up play began at roughly 9:00 p.m. Thursday night. Mike Gorodinksy held a slight chip lead over Jean-Robert Bellande, about 7,500,000 to 5,000,000. Gorodinsky quickly extended his lead, gaining a 3-1 edge over Bellande. But Bellande fought back, and after about an hour the stacks were pretty even. There was a break at that point, and when play resumed, Gorodinsky regained his lead.The two players traded the chip lead several times over the next few hours, and Gordinsky finally emerged victorious at about 12:30 a.m.

This may be been a bit of deja vu for the final two players. Gorodinsky's first major tournament victory came five years ago in an eight-game mix event, and Bellande finished runner-up to him. Today, history repeated itself.

Mike Gorodinsky already had one WSOP bracelet on his resume before today, and he’s in the midst of a remarkable World Series. His victory today is his third top-three performance of the 2015 summer. He finished second in the Razz Championship, third in the $5000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event, and just barely missed the final table in the Stud Championship. He remained humble despite this success, but also recognized that he's put a lot of work into achieving his impressive results. "I’d like to think that I’m playing really great, that I’m making all the right decisions. But you know, the cards are hitting me in the face. I’m running really good. And I’ve been really focused on playing, I’ve been putting in my hours, and it’s paying off."

This is only the second final table of Jean-Robert Bellande’s WSOP career, and he made it a memorable one with his long, hard-fought heads-up battle with Gorodinsky. For Bellande, however, tournament poker is a side venture. He invests more time in high-stakes cash games. And he is perhaps best known for his endeavors beyond poker, such as his appearance on Survivor: China. Despite his limited time at tournament tables, Bellande always makes his mark with his exuberant personality and entertaining table presence.

This is the 10th incarnation of the Poker Players Championship, which began in 2006 as the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. In 2010, the tournament was changed to Eight-Game Mix, with the addition of Limit 2-7 Triple Draw, No-Limit Hold’em, and Pot-Limit Omaha. That was the first year the name “Poker Players Championship” was used, and Michael Mizrachi earned the first of his two career victories in this event. Now, in 2015, the format of this prestigious event changed for the second time. Two more poker varieties were added to the mix: No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw, and Badugi. The ten-game mix format has been used in other WSOP events, but never at a buy-in bigger than $2,500. After the tournament, Gorodinsky weighed in on the change. "I personally like it. I play all the games. Those are two games [Badugi and No-Limit 2-7] I’ve played a ton. Badugi is actually one of my favorite games. I actually think there should be a standalone Badugi event. I think it’s a really complex, good game, so I like the change. Maybe it scared some people away, but I like it." 

With the earliest version of the Poker Players Championship being held in 2006, until today there were only eight members of the winners club. Now, Gorodinsky joins those elite ranks, alongside Chip Reese (2006), Freddy Deeb (2007), Scotty Nguyen (2008), David Bach (2009), Michael Mizrachi (2010 & 2012), Brian Rast (2011), Matthew Ashton (2013), and John Hennigan (2014). 

The 2015 Poker Players Championship began four days ago, on Sunday, June 21. Seventy-Seven players took their seats on Day 1, and at the end of the night, Scott Seiver led the 73 who remained. Late registration was open until play restarted on Monday, and another seven players ponied up the $50,000 entry fee to join the field. Many of them ran deep, including Joe Cassidy, who was eliminated on the bubble, Chris Klodnicki (5th place - $251,314), and eventual winner Gorodinsky.

Gorodinsky said later he registered on Day 2 because he wasn't feeling well on Day 1, and almost didn't play the event at all. He would've skipped most tournaments, but this one is clearly special to him. “I hate playing sick, he explained. "I hate when other people do it. But I just had to make an exception for this tournament. I won’t skip it, and I’m happy I didn’t.” 

Scott Seiver led again after Day 2. By then only 47 of the 84 entrants remained. Abe Mosseri – who finished in 4th place in this event last year – was just behind him. Seiver was eliminated on Day 3, however, while Mosseri took over the top spot at the end of the day. Coincidentally, Mosseri was also the chip leader at the end of Day 3 a year ago. He was unable to match last year’s fourth place finish, though, eventually bowing out in ninth place ($110,073).

Day 4 began with 19 players remaining. The players reaching the money bubble about halfway through the third level of the day. They played hand-for-hand for about 50 minutes before pausing for the dinner break. After dinner, hand-for-hand play continued for another forty minutes before Cassidy was eliminated in 13th place. After another six eliminations, the official final table was set. Chris Klodnick, Mike Gorodinsky, Jean-Robert Bellande, Ben Sulsky, David “ODB” Baker, and Dan Kelly would return the following day to play the final table on the ESPN Main Stage.

Dan Kelly was the first casualty at the final table. He was eliminated in 6th place ($184,222) after about two and half hours on the final day. Kelly entered the final table as the short stack with just over 1,000,000 in chips, and was eventually eliminated in a Badugi hand against Jean-Robert Bellande. Kelly is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, and after his performance in this year’s Poker Player’s Championship, he has 34 WSOP cashes and over $2,500,000 in WSOP earnings.

About two hours later, Chris Klodnicki fell in 5th place ($251,314), also in a Badugi hand against Bellande. Klodnicki was over $5 million in WSOP earnings, but is still seeking his first bracelet. If his impressive resume is any indication, when he does earn his first bracelet, it must may come in this event. Klodnicki’s finish today is his second career final table in the Poker Players Championship, and he also has a final-table performance in a H.O.R.S.E. event.

It was only about 40 minutes after Klodnicki’s elimination that the final table lost one more. Ben Sulsky moved all in against David Baker in a no-limit hold’em hand, and Baker came out on top. Sulsky is best known for his accomplishments in the online poker arena, and this is only his third career WSOP cash. After today, though, that list of cashes includes two 4th-place finishes – he also finished fourth in the Heads-Up Championship two years ago. 

David Baker entered this event looking for his second career WSOP bracelet. As the final table began, he was well-positioned, as he ended Day 4 as the chip leader, and eventually finished in third place for $514,926. His bracelet came in an Eight-Game-Mix event in 2012. He also ran deep in the 2012 Poker Player’s Championship, finishing in 10th place. So it’s no surprise to see him run deep in another tournament with a wide array of games. This event is his 45th WSOP cash, and it moves him over $2,400,000 in WSOP earnings. Perhaps more importantly, he has earned a reputation as an advocate for poker players and the poker community, whose tireless efforts will surely continue to have a positive impact on the game. 

The 84 total entrants generated a prize pool of $4,032,000, and the top 12 players made the money. The 84 entrants included five previous champions: David Bach, Michael Mizrachi, Brian Rast, Matthew Ashton, and defending champion John Hennigan. However, Ashton is the only one of them to cash this year. He finished in 12th place for $87,010, and Mizrachi is still the only two-time champion.

Here are the full results from the 2015 Poker Players Championship:

1 – Mike Gorodinsky – $1,270,086
2 – Jean-Robert Bellande – $784,828
3 – David "ODB" Baker – $514,926
4 – Ben Sulsky – $353,928
5 – Chris Klodnicki – $251,314
6 – Dan Kelly – $184,222
7 – Jason Mercier - $139,265
8 – Shawn Buchanan - $139,265
9 – Abe Mosseri - $110,073
10 – Justin Smith - $110,073
11 – John Racener – $87,010
12 – Matthew Ashton – $87,010

Friday, June 26, 2015 12:40 AM Local Time

Mike Gorodinsky

Pot-Limit Omaha

Jean-Robert Bellande opens the button to 300,000, and Mike Gorodinsky calls from the big blind.

The flop comes    , and Gorodinsky knocks the table. Bellande cuts out a pot-sized bet of 600,000 from his stack and holds it with one hand as he peeks at his cards. After a few seconds, he slides the bet forward.

"I'll raise the pot," Gorodinsky says. That's 2,400,000 total, just about as much as Bellande has left. After another few seconds, Bellande moves all in, and Gorodinsky calls to put him at risk.

"You have anything?" Gorodinsky asks.

"Yeah, two pair," Bellande answers.

"I have a set," Gorodinsky answers back.



Gorodinsky flops a set of eights to put himself two cards from the title. Bellande has top two pair with a gutshot straight draw.

"We need a jack," Bellande says to his rail. "Come on jack." Any queen, jack, or nine will do it.

The turn is a blank  , and Gorodinsky can barely contain the nerves. The river is the  , and Bellande can not catch up. He's been eliminated as the runner-up, earning $784,828 for his largest career tournament score.

Jean-Robert Bellande

Mike Gorodinsky is the 2015 Poker Players Champion, winning Event #44, his second gold bracelet, the Chip Reese Trophy, and $1,270,086 in cash.

Friday, June 26, 2015 12:30 AM Local Time
Game Type

Antes in

NLH, NL2-7,

and Stud Games

Low/High Card


Small Blind



Big Blind

Limit Flop/Draw Games
- 100,000
200,000 200,000/400,000
Stud Games
50,000 50,000 200,000 200,000/400,000
No-Limit/Pot-Limit Games
30,000 (NLH/2-7)
50,000 100,000 -
Friday, June 26, 2015 12:30 AM Local Time


Friday, June 26, 2015 12:20 AM Local Time


Level 26 is complete, and the players are taking a 20-minute break.

Mike Gorodinsky - 9,885,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 2,715,000

Velo 690x150
Friday, June 26, 2015 12:19 AM Local Time


Mike Gorodinsky brings it in with a  , and Jean-Robert Bellande completes to 150,000 with an  . Gorodinsky raises to 300,000, and Bellande calls.

Gorodinsky: (X)(X) /      / (X)
Bellande: (X)(X) /      / (X)

Bellande bets the lead on fourth street, and Gorodinsky calls the 150,000. The lead reverses on fifth, and now Gorodinsky bets the 300,000. Bellande calls that bet, as well as follow-up bets on sixth and seventh streets. When the last call comes, Gorodinsky announces his, "Six-low." He tables     to prove it, and he's now seizing control of this heads-up match.

Mike Gorodinsky - 9,725,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 2,875,000

Friday, June 26, 2015 12:14 AM Local Time


Bellande: (X)(X) /      / (X)
Gorodinsky: (X)(X) /     / (X)

Jean-Robert Bellande brings it in with a   and Mike Gorodinsky completes with a  . Bellande calls and watches on as Gorodinsky receives first action on fourth street. Gorodinsky fires out a bet and Bellance calls.

On fifth, Gorodinsky pulls a queen and Bellande pairs his treys. Gorodinsky checks and Bellande does the same. Gorodinsky check-calls a bet from Bellande on sixth and the two players receive their final card on seventh. Gorodinsky comes out with a bet and Bellande goes into the tank.

"Really?" says Bellande as he stands from the table. "I paired threes and you check the queen? This hand has me so messed up I'm just going to get out."

Bellande folds his hand and Gorodinsky takes down the pot.

Mike Gorodinsky - 8,100,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 4,500,000

Friday, June 26, 2015 12:02 AM Local Time

Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

Mike Gorodinsky raises to 300,000 on the button, and Jean-Robert Bellande defends his big blind.

The flop comes    , and Bellande check-calls a bet of 150,000. He check-calls another 300,000 after the   turn, and the last bet after the   river.

Gorodinsky shows      for an eight-high straight and the nut low. Bellande studies his cards carefully for several seconds, then tables     . He has the same straight to chop of the high half, but he only gets one quarter of the pot as Gorodinsky scoops the low.

Mike Gorodinsky - 8,070,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 4,530,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:57 PM Local Time

Seven Card Stud

Gorodinsky: (X)(X) /      / (X)
Bellande: (X)(X)      / (X)

Mike Gorodinsky brings it in with the   and Jean-Robert Bellande completes the  . Gorodinsky calls and the two are off to fourth street.

On fourth, Bellande bets out with first action and Gorodinsky calls. Gorodinsky picks up first action on fifth but checks his action to Bellande. Bellande bets again and Gorodinsky cuts out calling chips.

Bellande relcaims first action on sixth with a king and he slows with a check. Gorodinsky bets and Bellande calls. Both players check seventh and Gorodinsky shows     for a pair of fives. Bellande can't beat it and Gorodinsky takes down the pot.

Mike Gorodinsky

Mike Gorodinsky - 6,950,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 5,650,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:49 PM Local Time

Limit 2-7 Triple Draw

Jean-Robert Bellande raises to 300,000 on the button, and Mike Gorodinsky defends his big blind.

Gorodinsky draws two cards to Bellande's three. Gorodinsky bets 150,000, Bellande calls, and they both improve to a one-draw for the second round. Gorodinsky bets another 300,000, and Bellande calls again. Gorodinsky is pat for the last round, and he checks. After drawing one last card, Bellande checks it back.

Gorodinsky shows       to win the pot with his eighty-seven.

Mike Gorodinsky - 5,900,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 6,700,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:43 PM Local Time

Limit 2-7 Triple Draw

Mike Gorodinsky raises from the button and Jean-Robert Bellande calls from the big blind. At the draw, Bellande takes three cards while Gorodinsky opts for two. Bellande checks and Gorodinsky continues out with a bet. Bellance announces a raise and Gorodinsky calls.

At the second draw, both players stand pat. Bellande checks and Gorodinsky cuts out a bet. Bellande calls and the two competitors stand pat once more at the final draw. Bellande knocks the table and Gorodinsky moves out one last bet. Bellande thinks for a moment before rapping the table and throwing his cards away.

Mike Gorodinsky - 5,050,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 7,550,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:40 PM Local Time


Jean-Robert Bellande raises his button and Mike Gorodinsky calls from the big blind. Gorodinsky takes two new cards while Bellande opts for three. Gorodinsky check-calls a bet from Bellande and the two are off to the second draw.

Both players pull two new cards at the next draw and Gorodinsky takes the lead with a bet. Bellande calls. Gorodinsky stands pat on the final draw while Bellande takes one card. Gorodinsky bets, Bellande calls, and Gorodinsky shows      for a six-badugi. Bellande mucks and Gorodinsky wins the pot.

Mike Gorodinsky - 3,820,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 8,780,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:35 PM Local Time


Now the Badugi round has come and gone with only two pots going to the draw. Here's the first:

Mike Gorodinsky raises to 300,000 on the button, and Jean-Robert Bellande three-bets to 450,000. Gorodinsky calls, and they both draw one card. Bellande bets, and Gorodinsky calls. They draw one apiece again, and it checks through. They're both still on the draw for the last round. Bellande likes what he sees, and he bets 300,000. Gorodinsky quickly raises to 600,000, and Bellande instantly reraises to 900,000 total. Gorodinsky seems to realize things have turned sour, but he puts the last bet in the pot to see what's what.

Bellande shows      badugi to win the pot.

Jean-Robert Bellande - 9,910,000
Mike Gorodinsky - 2,690,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:31 PM Local Time

The Limit Hold'em round just finished, and Jean-Robert Bellande came out of it with a chip increase. There were only two significant hands.

In the first, Mike Gorodinsky raises the button to 300,000, and Bellande three-bets to 450,000. Gorodinsky calls. The flop comes    , and Gorodinsky calls a bet of 150,000. Bellande bets another 300,000 on the   turn, and Gorodinsky folds.

Two hands later, Gorodinsky opens the button to 300,000 again, and Bellande calls. The board runs out      , and Gorodinsky does the betting on the flop and turn. The river goes check-check, and Bellande shows    to win the pot with a bluff catcher.

Jean-Robert Bellande - 8,200,000
Mike Gorodinsky - 4,400,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:25 PM Local Time

"Hold up," remarks Jean-Robert Bellande during a hand of limit hold'em. "I got a text from Phil Hellmuth. I'm going to fold this hand and read it."

Bellande kicks his cards to the muck and reads the text aloud.

"Get 'em," says Bellande. "This would be an amazing win. Thanks Phil! I'm going to reply right now! Thanks Phil!"

Bellande beckons Tournament Director Robbie Thompson to take a photograph with his phone to send as a reply to Hellmuth. Bellande grins near his chip-leading stack of chips as Thompson obliges his request.

Gorillla Gaming
Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:22 PM Local Time

Pot-Limit Omaha

Jean-Robert Bellande raises to 200,000 from the button and Mike Gorodinsky calls from the big blind. The flop falls     and both players check to see the   on the turn. Gorodinsky drops out a bet of 300,000 and Bellande calls.

The   finishes off the board and Gorodinsky announces a bet of 900,000. Bellande goes into the tank before throwing his hands up to his head and leaning back in his chair.

"This is so brutal," he remarks.

In the end, he opts to fold, showing the   from his hand as he does so.

Mike Gorodinsky - 5,700,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 6,900,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:17 PM Local Time

Pot-Limit Omaha

Mike Gorodinsky raises to 200,000 on the button, and Jean-Robert Bellande defends his big blind.

They check through the flop and turn of the      board, and the river brings the  . Bellande bets the pot for 400,000, and Gorodinsky calls.

Bellande shows      for tens full of kings, and Gorodinsky mucks.

Jean-Robert Bellande - 7,250,000
Mike Gorodinsky - 5,350,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:14 PM Local Time


Mike Gorodinsky brings-in with a  , and Jean-Robert Bellande completes to 150,000 with a  . Gorodinsky defends.

Gorodinsky: (X)(X) /      / (X)
Bellande: (X)(X) /      / (X)

Bellande bets it the whole way, and Gorodinsky calls 150,000 on fourth street, then 300,000 apiece on fifth and sixth. When Bellande bets the last 300,000, though, Gorodinsky peeks at his river card and frowns. He flings his cards into the muck with a bit of frustration, and Bellande goes ahead and shows his     just for good measure.

Bellande has retaken the chip lead.

Jean-Robert Bellande - 6,605,000
Mike Gorodinsky - 5,995,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:09 PM Local Time

Omaha Hi-Lo

Jean-Robert Bellande raises his button and Mike Gorodinsky makes it three bets. Bellande calls and the two watch on as the flop falls    . Gorodinsky continues out and Bellande comes over the top with a raise. Gorodinsky calls.

The turn is the   and Gorodinsky bets out once more. Bellande calls to see the   on the river. Gorodinsky cuts out a final bet only to have Bellande raise the action. Gorodinsky calls, prompting the two to show down their hands.

"Nut-nut," says Bellande, tabling     , for the nut straight to the ten and the nut low.

Gorodinsky mucks and Bellande pulls in the pot.

Jean-Robert Bellande - 5,535,000
Mike Gorodinsky - 7,065,000

Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:05 PM Local Time

Omaha Hi-Lo

Jean-Robert Bellande raises from the button and Mike Gorodinsky calls from the big blind. The flop falls     and Gorodinsky checks. Bellande continues out and Gorodinsky calls.

The   falls on fourth and Gorodinsky checks again. Bellande bets once more only to have Gorodinsky check-raise. Bellande calls and the   finishes the board. Gorodinsky bets, Bellande calls, and Gorodinsky fans     . Gorodinsky plays a his four-trey for the low and has a straight to the eight for the high. Bellande mucks and Gorodinsky gets the scoop.

Mike Gorodinsky - 8,730,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 3,870,000

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