2023 WSOP EVENT #43 POKER PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

Longtime poker pro Brian Rast won the tournament on Thursday, June 22, for $1,324,747. That is notable news in itself, but there is more.

  • Rast has now won the PPC three times, tying Michael Mizrachi’s record for the elite tournament.
  • Rast now has six bracelets, becoming only the 19th to do so in WSOP history.
  • The win put Rast over the $25M mark for lifetime live tournament earnings.
  • Rast won the event on the same day the WSOP announced his name as one of the ten finalists for possibly induction to the Poker Hall of Fame.

With this single WSOP bracelet win, Rast only further cements his place in poker history.

 

WSOP 2023 Event Event 43: $50K Poker Players Championship Results:

PlacePlayerCountryPrize
1stBrian RastUnited States$1,324,747
2ndTalal ShakerchiUnited Kingdom$818,756
3rdMatthew AshtonUnited Kingdom$573,679
4thJames ObstAustralia$411,924
5thKristopher TongUnited States$303,071
6thPhil IveyUnited States$228,793
7thRay DehkharghaniUnited States$177,294

PPC Popularity

Brian Rast throwing his cards in the air after winning the WSOP PPC

The Poker Players Championship has become so popular with poker players and fans that it is recognized simply as the PPC. It is an elite tournament on the annual schedule and a must-play for many poker pros at the World Series of Poker.

There are many other high-stakes tournaments available at the WSOP, with many buy-ins of $10K and several between $50K and $250K. The PPC and it’s $50K buy-in isn’t as jaw-dropping as it was when it started years ago. Attendance was even down this year with only 99 players, down 12% from the 112-player field of 2022.

Even so, poker fans tune in. And the participation difference meant little to them, as they saw favorites like Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, and Josh Arieh make it into the money and vie for final table spots.

While Ivey was a clear fan favorite, Rast quietly worked through the tournament as his fellow pros kept an eye on their fierce competitor. That was until there were no competitors left.

Not an Easy Path to Victory

The first of five days of the Poker Players Championship brought 73 players to the tables. With no reentries, the players who exited that evening were gone for good. Only 54 players made it through, with Josh Arieh leading and Phil Ivey not far behind.

Day 2 closed registration and tallied 99 players in all, setting a prize pool of $4,747,250. From that money, the top 15 finishers were guaranteed at least $84,255. That second day of play whittled the field down to just 32 players, and Brian Rast was seventh in chip counts.

Day 3 played for quite some time before reaching the money bubble, at which point Brian Rast took most of Nacho Barbero’s chips. Talal Shakerchi promptly eliminated Barbero to guarantee payouts for the survivors. John Monnette was the first player to cash, followed by Phil Hellmuth and Maxx Coleman. Play ended with 12 remaining and Rast with the fourth-largest chip count.

Day 4 began with Johannes Becker out in 12th place, Marco Johnson in 11th, Daniel Alaei in tenth, and Josh Arieh in ninth. A while later and after the dinner break, Hal Rotholz hit the rail in eighth place.

Not an Easy Final Table

The final seven players began the official final table, led by Matthew Ashton, Brian Rast, and then Phil Ivey third in chips. Shakerchi was the shortest stack.

 

Short stacks played tough, but Ashton knocked out Ray Dehkarghani in seventh place, as Shakerchi took over the lead and then sent Phil Ivey out in sixth place. Play then stopped with the five remaining, Sharkerchi on top, followed by Ashton, James Obst, Rast, and Kristopher Tong on the short stack.

Shakerchi went on a tear until Ashton put a stop to his aggression. From there, Shakerchi sunk to the shortest of the five stacks as Rast took the top spot. Rast took the next several hours to dominate, at one point holding more than 60% of the chips in play. Rast then ousted Tong in fifth place and Obst in fourth. Ashton then busted in third place.

Heads-up play started with Rast holding 25.2M chips to the 4.55M of Shakerchi. It didn’t take long for Shakerchi to shove in Razz after sixth street. Shakerchi took second place.

 

Third Historic PPC Title

While Rast was visibly excited at the victory and winning his third career PPC gold bracelet – sixth WSOP bracelet overall – he noted that he was the most emotional when he won his first PPC title in 2011. This emotion, he asserted to PokerNews, came from a more mature place. “Maybe, as I’ve gotten a little bit older, I’ve kind of learned, like you really have to enjoy it when things work out because it doesn’t happen all the time.”

When asked if he felt that this win cemented entry to the Poker Hall of Fame this summer, he downplayed it. “I have my opinion, but the truth is the people that vote on it are in the Hall of Fame. … I just keep doing what I do, and we’ll see what they say.”

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Jennifer's poker journey began with the World Poker Tour in the early 2000s, leading her to a prolific freelance writing career by 2006. With nearly two decades of experience, she has become a poker expert, specializing in writing for publications like Poker Player Newspaper, Poker Pages, PokerStars, and Mediarex. Beyond her writing, Jennifer has managed poker news aggregation at PokerScout and undertaken ghostwriting for poker pros and gambling executives. Her preference lies in interviews and opinion pieces, but her in-depth industry knowledge often guides her towards reporting on legislative and legal developments in poker and the broader gambling landscape. Notably, Jennifer is a passionate advocate for women in poker, working to promote gender diversity in a traditionally male-dominated field. Her impact on the poker community extends from her expertise to her advocacy for greater inclusivity.

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