The PPC finally played down to a champion at the Rio Casino in the wee hours. Dan 'Jungleman' Cates binked 2021 WSOP Event #60 $50,000 Poker Players Championship for a score worth $954,020 plus his first-ever bracelet and the coveted Chip Reese Memorial Trophy. Cates survived a tough table that included Ryan Leng, Paul Volpe, Eli Elezra, Chris Brewer, and Josh Arieh.
Sure, the World Series of Poker Main Event is the most prestigious tournament at the WSOP every year, where the winners becomes an overnight sensation and instant celebrity. However, the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship is the one event that pros love because you have to excel at multiple forms of poker -- not just NL hold'em -- while slugging it out against the premier players in the world.
The annual PPC is the one event that pro's pros want to win. Old-school pros want to see their name on the trophy alongside Chip Reese, who won the inaugural PPC in 2006 and had the trophy named after him after his death a year later. Reese is often regarded as one of the greatest mixed-game cash-game players in history, but he rarely played poker tournaments so it was fitting that he won the high-stakes PPC during the first installment back in 2006.
The 2021 Poker Players Championship, aka WSOP Event #60, had a $50,000 price tag and attracted 63 entrants. Only the top ten places paid out of the $3 million prize pool, with a$954K set aside to the champion. Notables who cashed included Matt Glantz, Nick Schulman, Daniel Negreanu, and Mike Wattel. Glantz bubbled the final table when he busted in seventh place. Negreanu had never won the PPC before and he had bracelet prop bets on the table, so he was hoping his deep run could translate into a massive payday and a seventh bracelet. Alas, Kid Poker hit the bricks in ninth place.
The final six at the Poker Players Champion included Dan Cates, Ryan Leng, Paul Volpe, Eli Elezra, Chris Brewer, and Josh Arieh.
Arieh was the first player to say goodbye at the final table when he was picked off in sixth place, which paid out $161,422.
Chris Brewer's remarkable run ended with a fifth-place finish. He banked $211K for his hard work the last couple of days.
Eli Elezra represented the "old guard" or old guys at the table. Elezra had four bracelets in his career including three Stud bracelets, with his last win occurring at the 2019 WSOP. Elezra met his fate in fourth place, which paid out nearly $287K.
The final three threw down late into the evening before Paul Volpe busted around 2am during a round of LHE. It was the ole King-deuce outgunning King-six with Jungleman's "2s prevailing after he caught a tiny piece of the flop. Volpe earned $404,243 for a third-place finish. Not too shabby, eh!
Dan Cates and Ryan Leng were the final two players left standing in the PPC. Leng found himself way behind Cates and outchipped 16M to 2.9M.
When heads-up began, Leng quickly went to work. During LHE, he was able to chip up and cut the lead to 10.8M to 8.4M. However, that's as high as he'd get before Cates launched a successful counterattack. An hour later, Leng busted during LHE. He caught a piece of a flop with but Cates turned a pair of Queens to take the lead. Leng never improved and he was picked off in second place. Leng banked $589,628 for first place.
Dan Cates won $954,020 and his first bracelet. But most importantly, Cates gets his name engraved on the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy.
Michael 'Grinder' Mizrachi won the PPC three times in 2010, 2012, and 2018. Brian Rast shipped the PPC twice in 2011 and 2016. Other champions included Freddy Deeb, Scotty Nguyen, David Bach, Michael Ashton, Johnny 'World' Hennigan, Mike Gotodinsky, Elior Sion, and Phil Hui.
2021 WSOP Poker Players Championship
Prize Pool: $3,016,125
Final Table Results:
1. Dan Cates (USA) $954,020
2. Ryan Leng (USA) $589,628
3. Paul Volpe (USA) $404,243
4. Eli Elezra (Israel) $286,983
5. Chris Brewer (USA) $211,235
6. Josh Arieh (USA) $161,422