The World Series of Poker will see its first big showdown this afternoon when eight players square off for the $50,000 Poker Players Championship.
On Monday, the field was whittled down from 21 to the final 8, who will return to play for the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy and $1.55 million in prize money.
The Players Championship kicked off Friday and originally attracted 116 players, who created a prize pool of $5,568,000.
The Players Championship replaces the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. world championship, which ran from 2006-2009. It is a true all-around test of a poker player’s ability, with the format featuring eight different poker games.
Virtually all of poker’s biggest stars coughed up the $50,000 entry, but by the end of the weekend, many of them had hit the rail. Early round losers included: Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen, Patrik Ontonius, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, Jennifer Harmon, Barry Greenstein, Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey, and Scotty Nguyen, just to name a few.
The latest poker pros to fall were Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, Lyle Berman, Eli Elezra and David Singer.
With the biggest names in poker dropping like flies, the final table is made up of amateurs and little-known pros.
For only the second time in World Series of Poker history, a pair of brothers has made the final table together. Ross and Barny Boatman were the first, finishing seventh and ninth in a 2002 pot-limit Omaha event, and now Robert and Michael Mizrachi will go toe-to-toe tomorrow to see who wins family bragging rights. While Robert already has a WSOP bracelet, earned in the 2007 $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Omaha event, Michael is looking for his first one
Also gunning for their first bracelet are David Baker, Mikael Thuritz, David Oppenheim and Vladmir Schmelev. Daniel Alaei picked up his first bracelet last summer in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo World Championship, while John Juanda is the veteran of this group with four WSOP wins including the 2008 WSOP-Europe Main Event.