$50k Players Championship Begins Minus Ivey

Michael Mizrachi
Michael Mizrachi

The highest buy-in tournament at the WSOP began Sunday with 128 players - none of them Phil Ivey - paying $50,000 each to play.

Now in it’s sixth year of existence the prestigious tournament has been won by some of the most elite players in the world including the late Chip Reese, Freddy Deeb, Scotty Nguyen, David Bach and most recently Michael Mizrachi. 

The tournament, which began as a H.O.R.S.E. tournament, switched to the 8-game mix last year in a move that has been applauded by a number of poker players.

“I think it’s good,” said Isaac Haxton, who was playing in the event. “The more games they put in the mix, the more people will play. This way you get a lot of players who are good in a couple games and they think they can make up for how they play the others.”

In addition to having the biggest buy-in the $50k Players Championship generally offers the biggest first place prize outside of the Main Event.

This year Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren, Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, Jason Mercier and Tom Dwan are among the many players who joined the action.

Of course there are usually some surprise entrants in the tournament as well and this year Jean-Robert Bellande, Dan O’Brien and Andrew Brown are among the dark horses to win it all.

Last year organizers switched the final table back to No-Limit Hold’em only so that ESPN could televise it, which helped entice players like Haxton to play. 

“If I manage to make it to the final table then I get to play for the really big money against players who aren’t the best at No-Limit Hold’em,” he said.

This year the tournament is benefiting from some added drama from poker legends Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson.

Phil Ivey was rumored to play the event after finishing his business with Full Tilt Poker, but was still absent after the first three levels of play.

Meanwhile Brunson mentioned on Twitter that his poker game hasn’t been up to his standards and if he doesn’t play well in the $50k Players Championship, it might be the last tournament he plays.

With 128 players registered that means the prize pool is over $6 million and the winner will take home $1.7 million.

PokerListings.com will provide live updates for all five days of the $50k Players Championship including the final table on July 6.

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas check PokerListings' Live Updates brought to you by PartyPoker.

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