Phil Hellmuth Eyeing Up WSOP bracelet in $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship

Phil HellmuthSome of the world’s best known poker players have found their way to the top of the chips leaderboard after day three of the World Series of Poker (WSOP)’s $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship was completed in Las Vegas just a few hours ago.

Event #55 will almost certainly reach a thrilling climax this evening in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino as players such as chip leader Josh Arieh, Phil Hellmuth, Scott Seiver, Gus Hansen, Barry Greenstein, Shaun Deeb, Owais Ahmed, Robert Mizrachi and Rami Boukai battle it out to claim the gold bracelet and $1,720,328 for becoming the latest WSOP champion.

New York State’s Arieh ended the third day’s play on 1,819,000 chips to top the 29 remaining contestants – from an original field of 128 – with the 36-year-old two-time WSOP bracelet winner followed by the Vegas-based Brian Rast (1,633,000), Arizona’s George Lind (1,304,000) and Russia star Vladimir Shchemelev (1,181,000).

But 11-time WSOP bracelet winner Hellmuth, who is aiming to improve on two runner-up spots at this year’s series, is not too far back on 1,174,000 chips, while Seiver – the 2008 WSOP $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em champ – sits on 1,137,000 in an event that is made up of rounds of Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, Seven-Card Razz, Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball.

The Great Dane Hansen – who is chasing his first WSOP bracelet – is down in 10th place on 774,000 chips, although he was the first player to break through the one million barrier and was chip leader for much of the day, only to slip back somewhat during the day’s fifth level.

The day began with 74 players still in contention, but the likes of Abe Mosseri, Justin Smith, Eugene Katchalov, Chad Brown, Erick Lindgren, Greg Mueller and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier crashed out without making the money as only the top 16 will be paid a minimum of $108,503.

Vegas-based pro Ben ‘Benba’ Lamb – who won the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship the other day for $814,436 – started last night’s play as chip lead, but was reduced to just 300,000 chips, before battling back to 582,000 to sit in 13th place.

However, Georgia’s David Bach – the 2009 winner of the equivalent of this event, the $50,000 World Championship H.O.R.S.E. tournament – busted out late in the day during a Pot-Limit Omaha hand with Hansen.

Bach bet 75,000, Hansen raised that to 225,000, and Bach called all-in on the river with the board showing Kh-6s-4s-Kd-Jd. Hansen revealed Ks-Kc-Qh-3s for quad kings, and Bach mucked his cards as he was eliminated.

Therefore, no matter what happens this evening in the Amazon Room of the Rio, we are assured of a first-time winner of this famous event. The action is sure to be fast and furious with the line-up assembled in Vegas, so get those beers in and maybe a pizza – or two – for a night of thrilling play.

Top 10 chip leaders after day three of the WSOP 2011 $50,000 The Poker Player’s Championship:

1. Josh Arieh (USA) – 1,819,000

2. Brian Rast (USA) – 1,633,000

3. George Lind (USA) – 1,304,000

4. Vladimir Shchemelev (Russia) – 1,181,000

5. Phil Hellmuth (USA) – 1,174,000

6. Scott Seiver (USA) – 1,137,000

7. Jon Turner (USA) – 948,000

8. Jason Lester (USA) – 948,000

9. Yan Chen (USA) – 887,000

10. Gus Hansen (Denmark) – 774,000