For the second time in its seven-year history the $50k Poker Players Championship will not make the ESPN television schedule, and like the previous time this occurred (in 2009) attendance suffered mightily. Just 104 players registered for the tournament on Sunday making this the second-lowest turnout in the event’s history. The winner will still walk away with a seven-figure prize, but we may be witnessing the death throes of these higher-buy-in WSOP events –the $25k Heads-Up Championship was reduced to $10k, and several $10k Championships have been reduced to $5k events this year.
After 128 players entered the tournament in 2011 –up from 116 in 2010 and the abysmally low 95 in 2009—it looked as though the $50k Players Championship would be a staple of the WSOP for years to come, but with ESPN’s decision to drop the event from live TV there simply isn’t enough positive EV in the event to justify players ponying-up the $50k buy-in –in years past the winner of the tournament got plenty of press and exposure from the ESPN cameras which made winning the tournament a recipe for sponsorships and backing deals.
Registration for the event is open until the start of the Day 2, but it’s unlikely more than a handful of players will be late-registering for the event.
As is expected, the 104 registered players are the absolute cream of the crop in the poker world, and it’s likely that anyone other than Phil Ivey (who apparently can only recognize about a dozen pro players) knew every player at their table. By the end of the day 103 of the 104 players still remained in contention (only David Singer hit the rail on Day 1) with Matt Glantz out in front of the field with over 300k chips.
Here is a look at the Top 10 chip-counts at the end of Day 1 of the Poker Players Championship:
- Matt Glantz — 310,700
- Ali Eslami — 286,900
- Keith Gipson — 281,500
- Lyle Berman — 280,300
- Andy Bloch — 265,600
- Alexander Kravchenko — 260,700
- David ODB Baker — 257,500
- Jeff Lisandro — 254,600
- Jon Spinks — 254,000
- Joe Cassidy — 252,400
Glantz is still in search of his first WSOP bracelet, so perhaps he can be the 2012 version of Mike Mizrachi who ended his run as “The best player without a bracelet” by winning this tournament back in 2010.
Three other players who bagged-up a mountain of chips are already 2012 WSOP bracelet winners, David “ODB” Baker, Joe Cassidy, and Andy Bloch.
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