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Josh Arieh Dominating Players Championship
Noted poker pro Josh Arieh finds himself with a massive stack as the final table of the prestigious $50k Players Championship draws ever closer.
Despite the fact Arieh has less experience playing mixed games, he’s been a terror in the event and has had a lock on the chip lead over the last five levels of action.
“I’m playing as good as I know how to play,” he said. “I mean I’m not a mixed game expert but I'm playing the best No-Limit I have in years.”
Arieh was one of the rising stars of the poker world in the early 2000s and created a minor controversy when ESPN cameras caught him using some inflammatory language to cheer on his close friend David Williams at the final table of the Main Event.
He later apologized for the incident but continued to have a reputation as a player who wouldn’t shy away from speaking his mind at the table and had several memorable confrontations with Phil Hellmuth.
Arieh received several notable sponsorships from Bodog Poker and later Full Tilt Poker.
These days though, Arieh has different priorities and poker seems to be gradually taking a back seat to life with his family in Atlanta.
“I have a different life now,” he said. “I have three kids at home. I love being home with my family and I love playing golf. The circuit just isn’t for me anymore.”
Arieh also mentioned the fields are much tougher these days and he simply doesn’t have time to dedicate to poker.
“I’m not trying to knock [young poker pros] but poker is their life and they have 16 hours to invest every day,” he said. “I mean for good reason, you can make a ton of money.
"It’s the same thing Erick Lindgren and Daniel Negreanu and I did 10 years ago.”
That doesn’t mean Arieh has stopped trying to improve his game and learn from poker’s new blood, however.
“Every time I sit with one of those guys, like Jason Mercier, I make it a point to really watch them and observe what they are doing and pick something up because they are so good.”
In the $50k Players Championship everyone is watching Arieh. He credited the recent switch to 8-game as a huge reason he’s been successful in the event.
He also thinks switching to No-Limit Hold’em only at the final table is great for the tournament.
“I think it’s great for TV because this stuff is stupid to watch on TV. No one wants to see Limit games. They want the action of No-Limit Hold’em.”
The $50k Players Championship has the highest buy-in at the 2011 WSOP and it’s also one of the most prestigious events to win.
For Arieh, however, it’s just another tournament he wants to win.
“This is definitely a Major,” he said. “I want to win. That’s all there is to it. I’ve been a competitor my whole life. If I go out in ninth or if I go out now I’ll be just as disappointed.”
He might just win it all. At the time this article was published Arieh was chip leader with 1.9 million chips and 23 players remaining.