WSOP 2021 Players Championship Enters the Final Stretch: Who Will Win the Prestigious Title?

WSOP 2021 Players Championship

3 minutes

Last Updated: November 3, 2021

The $50,000 Poker Players Championship is one of the most prestigious WSOP events. Usually featuring fairly small fields, it tends to gather all the best poker players around to duke it out in a mixed games format.

This year was no different from any previous year, as the WSOP 2021 Poker Players Championship attracted a total of 63 entries, but the event was jam-packed with big names.

The likes of Dan “Jungleman” Cates, Daniel Negreanu, Dan Smith, Ban Lamb, Scott Seiver, Eli Elezra, and Anthony Zinno were in the mix.

Phil Hellmuth, who is one of the more serious contenders for the POY title alongside Zinno, Schwartz, and Shaun Deeb, was in there as well but made a fairly early exit this time around.

Down to Final Ten

After yesterday, there are only ten players still in with a shot at the title. Ryan Leng will be starting the day as the chip leader as he bagged 4.5 million in chips yesterday. On his heels is Josh Arieh, with a stack of over three million.

Coming in the third spot is none other than Daniel Cates, who will be starting with 2.3 million. It would be a big win for the high roller going for his first bracelet, and he certainly has a decent chance to pull it off.

Also coming back later today are Chris Brewer and the poker legend Eli Elezra, both with stacks of around two million. They’re followed by Matt Glantz and Nick Schulman, the only other two players with over one million in chips.

Nursing shorter stacks and the dream are Paul Volpe, Daniel Negreanu, and Mike Wattel.

Negreanu has had an interesting series thus far, making quite a few deep runs but not quite making it to the end. So far, poker gods haven't been too generous with the Canadian, but the win in the Players Championship would more than make up for the earlier bad run.

All remaining players are guaranteed to walk away with over $82,000, while the eventual winner will bag $954,000 and one of the most coveted WSOP bracelets in existence. The runner-up will take home just shy of $590,000.

All in all, it will be an exciting day on the green felt. And although there are just ten players left, there is actually another day scheduled, so we won't see the winner being crowned tonight.

This is the tournament with perhaps the best structure in the entire series, as it should be for an event dubbed the “Poker Players Championship.”

The Players Championship History

The WSOP event that we know today as the Players Championship was first introduced during the 2006 World Series. It started off as the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship, featuring the standard five games from the H.O.R.S.E. rotation, namely:

At the time, this was the most expensive WSOP event on the schedule, and it would remain so until 2012 and the introduction of the Big One for One Drop.

In 2010, WSOP switched things around and introduced the Poker Players Championship. The buy-in remained the same, but the number of games in the mix was increased to eight. New games added were:

The inaugural Players Championship event was won by Michael Mizrachi, and this tournament saw the entire final table play as NLHE to make it more appealing for the TV. Mizrachi managed to do the unthinkable and won the event again in 2012 and 2018.

In 2015, two more games were added to the mix: Badugi and 2-7 Single Draw. Player numbers indicated that this wasn't a particularly popular decision, as the event saw the smallest turnout to date.

WSOP Players Championship history

For the 2021 edition, organizers went with nine games. They got rid of Badugi but kept 2-7 Single Draw, a poker variation that's been gaining a lot of popularity lately among top pros.

It will be interesting to see who makes it through the day today and earns their seat at the final table. Will “Jungleman” finally win his WSOP bracelet? Can Negreanu finally catch a break? Or, perhaps, it will be Eli Elezra, who's played mixed games for decades, walking away with the title?

All options are on the table, and whatever happens, poker fans are in for a treat!

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