The Poker Player´s Championship (Event 55) which started on Saturday is a bit of a strange affair. Players pay – or are staked – $50,000 to enter what is no more than a glorified 8 Game Mix tournament. If you play your online poker at PokerStars, you will be familiar with the format which rotates the games of 2-7 Triple Draw, Limit Hold´em, Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud, Stud Hi/Lo, No Limit Hold´em and Pot Limit Omaha.
Each variety of game is played for 8 hands before changing to the next discipline, and blinds increase at the end of a rotation (called a “level” in this event). Players are given 150,000 starting chips at the beginning of this five day event and, with blinds starting at 300/600, it is the equivalent of playing in a standard MTT tournament with 1,500 chips in front of you and blinds of 3/6 (But the big stacks look better in publicity photographs!).
Strangely – or perhaps for American TV viewers who are no longer allowed to play on PokerStars – once the poker tournament reaches the final table, the game stays at No Limit Hold´em until a victor is found. Last year´s winner, Michael Mizrachi, collected $1,559,046 and the Chip Reese Trophy for his efforts, and defeated on his way to victory a field which included 54 former WSOP bracelet winners – who hold a total of 15 percent of all bracelets in existence.
At the conclusion of Day 2 of this year´s Championship, Mizrachi is still performing strongly, having eliminated Mike “Party Poker” Sexton shortly before the day drew to a close. He joined “names” such as WSOP Player of the Year leader Ben Lamb and Gus “The Great Dane” at the top of the leaderboard, with UK poker player Matt Ashton making a charge up the rankings but James Bord already dispatched to the parking lot.
With more than half of the 128 original entrants remaining, and only 16 players cashing, there will be a lot of tense poker played over the next few days in pursuit of the $1,720,328 first prize and accolade of being the Poker Player´s Champion.
Nice Touch – After a disappointing series by his own high standards, four times WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu has been doing a lot of whinging on Twitter about his constant misfortune. One journalistic wag felt that enough was enough, and now refers to the usually genial Canadian as “D-Negs”.