Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

Phil Hui Wins 2019 World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players Championship

The 31-Year-Old Former Golf Pro Earned His Second Gold Bracelet and $1,099,311

by Erik Fast |  Published: Jul 31, 2019

Print-icon
 

For serious mixed-game players, the World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players Championship is the marquee tournament of the year. While the WSOP main event may offer more notoriety and money, the PPC remains one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world. Winning this high-stakes event requires proficiency at eight of the most commonly spread poker variants while competing against the best mixed-game players that poker has to offer.

The 2019 running saw Phil Hui emerge victorious to earn his second career gold bracelet and the first-place prize of $1,099,311. The 31-year-old former golf professional turned poker player will now have his name inscribed on the David “Chip” Reese Memorial Trophy, named after the late Hall of Famer who won this event when it first debuted in 2006.

“This is my dream. I’d rather win this over the main,” said Hui after securing the title. “This is incredible, you have to be well versed in every game. It’s a dream come true. Definitely, this is the one tournament I want to win and play. This is only the second time I played it. Just to be lucky enough to play it, it’s incredible.”
Here is a look back at how Hui came out on top of this year’s $50,000 Poker Players Championship.

The Battle Begins

The 2019 Poker Players Championship was scheduled over the course of five days. Registration did not officially close until the start of the eleventh level, late on day 2. This year’s running drew just 74 players, the lowest turnout in the event’s 14-year history. The number of entrants decreased just shy of 15 percent year-over-year, with 87 players having shown up in 2018. The 2007 and 2008 $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. championships (before no-limit hold’em pot-limit Omaha, and deuce-to-seven triple draw were added to the mix) drew twice as many entrants, with 148 players each.

Even with a decrease in players, there was still more than $3.5 million up for grabs in this event, with the champion set to earn a seven-figure payday. After two full days of action, less than half of the field had been knocked out. The chip leader heading into day 3 was none other than ten-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey. The Hall of Famer was looking for his first final-table finish of the summer, but there was still a lot of poker left to be played.

Plenty of the biggest stars in poker had their dreams of becoming the next PPC champion come to an end on day 3. Phil Galfond, Jason Mercier, Brian Hastings, John Monnette, David ‘ODB’ Baker, and Adam Friedman were all among the players to fall as the field played down to the money. Two former champions of this event, John Hennigan and Matthew Ashton, were also among the players to fall just short of making day 4. In the end, former runner-up in this event Chris Klodnicki was the last player eliminated without a payday. After he was knocked out in 13th place, the remaining 12 players all guaranteed themselves at least $72,078.

Day 4 began with Phil Ivey still the outright chip leader. Despite starting with the lead, Ivey couldn’t seem to get anything going as the tournament played down to a final table of six. Ivey even accidentally folded away half of a seven-card stud eight-or-better pot after having made the only qualifying low in a three-way pot.

Despite that mistake, Ivey was still able to outlast Andrew Brown (12th – $72,078), Talal Shakerchi (11th – $72,078), Chris Vitch (10th – $93,764) and Dario Sammartino (9th – $93,764). His run ended in eighth place when he got his last few chip in playing razz. John Esposito ended up winning the pot with a K-7 low, just pipping Ivey’s K-8. He earned $124,410 as the eighth place finisher. David Oppenheim followed Ivey to the rail in seventh place ($124,410) to leave the six-handed final table.
Crowning A New Champion

The final day of this event began with Josh Arieh in the chip lead, while Phil Hui sat in third place. Arieh quickly furthered his advantage by knocking out Dan “Jungleman” Cates in sixth place ($168,305) early on at the final table.

Four-time WSOP bracelet winner Shaun Deeb was the next to fall when his two pair got scooped by the wheel and a six-high straight held by John Esposito. Deeb took home $232,058 for his latest run at the WSOP.

Bracelet winner Bryce Yockey began the day second in chips, but found himself as the shortest stack with four remaining. He looked to be in fantastic shape to start a comeback when he got dealt a 7-6-4-3-2, the second best possible hand in triple draw deuce-to-seven lowball. He got in three bets before the first draw against Arieh, who kept the 6-5-3.

With both a six and five in his hand, Arieh had to specifically make a straight first in order to be forced to discard his six to even have a shot at making 7-5-4-3-2, the only hand that could best Yockey’s 7-6 perfect. Arieh did just that, drawing a Q-2 on the first draw and then ditching the queen for a four. With his straight made, he then managed to exchange his six for a seven to improve to the nuts.

Yockey could not believe that his pat ‘number two’ had been run down by Arieh in what live stream analyst and two-time bracelet winner Nick Schulman called, “The worst beat I’ve ever seen in a televised tournament.” Yockey looked in shock as he was knocked out in fourth place, earning $325,989 for his deep run.

Arieh continued to surge, overcoming John Esposito’s pocket aces with a flopped two pair in pot-limit Omaha to send him home with $466,407. Arieh took 16.2 million into heads-up play against Phil Hui, who started with around 6 million.

The final heads-up match lasted over five hours, with multiple lead changes along the way. In the end, Hui was able to take a decisive lead by scooping a massive stud eight-or-better pot to leave Arieh with less than a big bet. Arieh managed to find two double ups, but the third time was the charm for Hui, who had made a 9-5-4-3-2 after two draws in 2-7 triple draw. Arieh had outs, holding 6-5-2 with one draw remaining. He picked up a three with his first replacement card, but his final card of the event was an ace. With that Arieh was eliminated in second place, earning $679,246.

With that, Hui secured the title for his second bracelet and his first million-dollar score. He increased his lifetime live tournament earnings to $2.9 million with this massive score. This was his ninth cash of the 2019 WSOP, with three final table finishes and this title. He currently sits in 37th place in the 2019 Card Player Player of the Year race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.

“Winning the $50,000 Poker Players Championship has been a dream of mine,” Hui told Card Player at his bracelet presentation ceremony. “I didn’t expect to do it this early [in my career].”

“To me this is the biggest tournament in the world. I just want to do Chip Reese and this tournament proud to have my name on there,” continued Hui. “Twenty years down the line, I don’t want to be just a random name from 2019. I’d like to put my name on there again and win more bracelets in mixed game events, so it deserves to stay on there.”

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Payout POY Points
1 Phillip Hui $1,099,311 714
2 Josh Arieh $679,426 595
3 John Esposito Jr. $466,407 476
4 Bryce Yockey $325,989 357
5 Shaun Deeb $232,058 298
6 Daniel Cates $168,305 238