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What to Watch For: July 3, 2017

Matthew Ashton
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  • Matthew Ashton, winner of the #WSOP $50K PPC in 2013, leads to start Day 2 of this year's version.

  • Ashton, Katz, Madoff, Gregorich, the Mizrachis, Hellmuth and Johnny Chan return for $50K PPC Day 2.

Today's What to Watch For is brought to you by the VerStandig Law Firm, LLC. Combining a keen understanding of the gaming world and an equally keen understanding of the law, Mac VerStandig and his colleagues are devoted to fighting on behalf of the poker community and its members.

The VerStandig Law Firm, LLC represents poker professionals, sports bettors and advantage players across the United States. The firm assists clients in connection with legal issues including personal LLC formation and operation, tax planning that focuses on gaming deductions and exemptions, casino disputes, and personal matters spanning from divorce to criminal dust-ups.

Day 1 of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship took center stage on Sunday and at night's end 2013 winner Matthew Ashton led the field. Another big name among the chip leaders is 10-time bracelet winner Johnny Chan who is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his initial Main Event win, the first of consecutive championships. Elsewhere just two players return for a heads-up battle in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em and the final Day 1 flights of the $888 Crazy Eights are now complete.

Event #58: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em

After 10 hours of play, only two players remain from the original field of 1,763 and the 28 who began Day 3. The event drew a prize pool of $2,380,050 with the winner due to earn $395,918 plus the bracelet. The runner-up will be forced to console himself with $244,611.

Artur Rudziankov of Belarus has 8,935,000 and the lead, while Spain's Mario Prats will return to 4,290,000.

The 29-year-old Rudziankov has 11 WSOP cashes for just over $269,000 with his best finish as runner-up in 2015 in a $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em tournament for $219,976. With several nice finishes and final tables in mostly European events, this would be the biggest win of his career. Prats, on the other hand, has only one in-the-money tournament finish according the Hendon Mob database, which was an $833 cash at this year's Colossus.

The heads-up battle begins at 1 p.m. Click here to follow along with all the live updates.

Event #60: $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed

After two starting flights with 30-minute levels and unlimited re-entries, the total for this event reached 8,120 entries (1,359 more than 2016) after 2,072 played Day 1c and 2,878 played Day 1d.

Only 93 will return from 1c and 136 from 1d, and they will join the 143 survivors from the first two starting flights for today's Day 2 in the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

For Day 1c, Danny Alvarez bagged the most chips with 497,000, followed by several other big stacks including Joao Vieira (410,000), Bill Germanis (407,000), Cathy Dever (391,000), JeWook Oh (390,000) and Vanessa Kade (424,000).

Meanwhile Paul Berger led flight 1d with 646,000 in the bag followed by Alex Papazian with 516,000. Other players returning for Day 2 include Jamie Rosen (589,000), Marius Pertea (514,000), Jason Wheeler (491,000), flight 1b leader Ray Qartomy (444,000), Danny Wong (385,000), Ian O'Hara (267,000), Shannon Shorr (262,000), Kevin MacPhee (250,000), William Kassouf (200,000) and Cate Hall (131,000).

The overall chip leader going into Day 2 is Seville Hale who led the field in the first flight with 713,000. Hale has 11 WSOP cashes for $53,598 and $330,508 in lifetime tournament earnings.

Levels will be expanded to one hour when the second day begins. Follow along with PokerNews as Day 2 gets underway at 2 p.m.

Event #62: $50,000 Poker Players Championship (6-Handed)

One of the biggest events in poker kicked off on Sunday with the Poker Players Championship, and after one day of play British pro Matthew Ashton leads field of 93. That turnout tops last year's field by two runners, and could still grow further as registration remains open until the start of Day 2, when 87 players return.

Ashton won this event in 2013 for $1,774,089, and he bagged 705,500 yesterday. Rounding out the top five are Aaron Katz (682,700), Robert Mizrachi (485,500), Harry Madoff (478,600) and Mark Gregorich (465,200).

Other notables with nice chip stacks include Daniel Alaei (446,100), Marco Johnson (442,900), Bertrand Grospellier (360,900), Daniel Negreanu (360,100), reigning champion and two-time PPC winner Brian Rast (335,300), David Bach (333,900), Jason Mercier (325,700), Phil Hellmuth (307,300) and the only other two-time PPC winner Michael Mizrachi (267,000).

Hellmuth for one was motivated for the first day of this prestigious event:

Another interesting name among the chip leaders is 10-time bracelet winner Johnny Chan with 408,500. Chan seems to play fewer tournaments these days and hasn't won a bracelet since 2005. As noted, this year marks the 30th anniversary since his first Main Event win for $625,000 at Binion's, which sparked an historic run that saw him win another title in 1988 for $700,000. In 1989, Chan amazingly made it heads-up for yet another Main Event title, but was bested by a 24-year-old Hellmuth.

Chan may be known to many from the 1998 film Rounders, which featured his heads-up battle with Erik Seidel for the 1988 title as well as a cameo by Chan. No doubt, Chan is hoping to recapture some of that magic and bring home his 11th bracelet.

Play resumes on Monday at 2 p.m. and PokerNews will have all the high roller action. Click here to follow along.

Event #63: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em

This low buy-in event should lure a plethora of rounders looking for a big payday at a small price. Last year's event attracted 2,452 for a $2,206,800 prize pool. World Poker Tour commentator Tony Dunst snagged his first bracelet in this event in 2016, earning $339,254 for his efforts.

The tournament gets underway at 11 a.m. and PokerNews will as always provide all the big hands, interesting stories, chip counts, photos and more.

Event #64: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed Mix

Two poker favorites take center stage in this mixed-game event. The games change every eight hands between NLHE and PLO and the event will play out over three days.

Loren Klein won this event last year $241,427, then followed that up with a runner-up finish in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed Championship for $552,713. This summer, Klein added his second bracelet, winning Event #41: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event for $231,483. In 2010, he also finished runner-up in Event #28: $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha for $195,147.

Obviously, Klein is a bit of a PLO virtuoso and this event should suit him pretty well as he hopes to defend his title. Last year's version attracted 919 runners for a $1,240,650 prize pool.

Play in this one gets going at 3:00 p.m. and PokerNews will provide all the live updates.

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