Phil Hui achieved the most important milestone of his career after winning the $50,000 Poker Players Championship at the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP). The former professional golfer earned his second WSOP bracelet and walked away with $1,099,311 after topping a 74-entry field in what many considered the most difficult poker tournament in the world. Apart from bagging his second gold and earning his first-ever seven-figure score, Hui gets to hold the much-coveted Chip Reese Memorial Trophy with his name permanently engraved on it.
Hui was in a state of disbelief moments after his massive victory. He has put in a lot of hard work throughout his professional poker career which has resulted in a WSOP bracelet and several final tables on his resume. However, taking down the $50K mixed game event has always been his dream. Hui has faced a lot of setbacks like most poker players but he did not quit and worked on getting better each day. It all paid off in the end as he walked away with over a million dollars in prize money.
How The Final Table Played Out
Competing against the best mixed-game players that poker has to offer, including 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey, 2004 Main Event third-placer and three-time WSOP champ Josh Arieh, 2018 WSOP Player of the Year Shaun Deeb, as well as accomplished pro Dan “Jungleman” Cates, Hui faced an uphill battle on his way to victory. Ivey, who dominated the first four days of the tournament, did not manage to make the final table though finishing in 8th place for $124,410.
Only six players returned to a live-streamed final table with Arieh leading the chips and Hui coming in third. Cates was the short stack when final action kicked off and soon after, he was eliminated in sixth place, earning $168,305.
Deeb, a four-time bracelet winner would soon follow Dan Cates to the rail in fifth place for $232,058. Deeb already scored several cashes this summer, including two final tables, and while a fifth bracelet has remained elusive, he is currently making a run at repeating his POY success last year. Deeb earlier said he’s focused on winning the title again this year, and he is closing in on that after moving up to the No. 3 spot in the POY leaderboard.
It took a while for the next elimination to occur. Bryce Yockey busted in fourth place after battling it out with Arieh for a triple draw lowball pot. He took home $325,989 for his second highest WSOP cash. After that, Arieh went on to eliminate John Esposito in third place for $466,407.
Hui and Arieh engaged in a heads-up match which lasted more than five hours. The lead was passed back and forth several times between the two players before Hui pulled away with a decisive lead in a PLO pot, leading to his win. Arieh took home $679,426 for his runner-up finish.
Journey to Victory
In the run up to this event, Hui experienced a mix of anxiousness, excitement and adrenaline but when he finally arrived at the table, everything felt comfortable. The game plan was to take it slow, not get ahead of himself and not get complacent, knowing the poker caliber of the people he’s up against.
The $50K PPC is a tough one to conquer. To succeed in this tournament, a player must be proficient in several poker variants and needs to be well-equipped and prepared, given the deep stacks, slow structure and complex mix of games involved. Hui managed to reach the pinnacle of the tournament through enormous hardwork, combined with humility in recognizing that he still has a lot of work to do to become the best in the world, and that he wouldn’t be able to do that without the help of some people.
Hui paid tribute to his girlfriend Loni Harwood was he said was among the most instrumental persons who supported him throughout his journey. Harwood who is also a bracelet winner, helped Hui with polishing his no-limit hold’em skills. Hui tested new strategies by grinding low-stakes tournaments just a few months ago, in preparation for the huge summer. He also acquired more knowledge about mixed games by watching tournament and cash game replays.
After winning his best-career score to date, Hui now aims to check the POY title off his 2019 bucketlist. He is currently at No. 2, less than 100 points behind leader Dan Zack.