Brian Rast has carved his name in the record books by becoming a three-time Poker Players Championship winner courtesy of winning his sixth WSOP bracelet in Event #43: $50,000 Poker Players Championship at the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP).
Having won this event in 2011 and 2016, Rast joins Michael Mizrachi (2010, 2012, 2018) as the only three-time winner, and Dan Cates (2021, 2022) as one of three players to have won the Poker Players Championship more than once. Rast joins an elusive list of poker players sitting on six WSOP bracelets. That list includes Daniel Negreanu, John Hennigan, Shaun Deeb, Jeremy Ausmus, Layne Flack, Brian Hastings, Jeff Lisandro, and several more. Rast's other three WSOP bracelets came in 2011 ($1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em), 2018 ($10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw Championship), and 2021 ($3,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed).
"I mean, listen, I have my opinion, but the truth is, the people that vote on it are in the Hall of Fame, so what I think doesn't matter," Rast said when asked if he is now a Poker Hall of Famer. "My job is to come to the poker table and play when I want to and compete and let the people in the Poker Hall of Fame make that decision. And, you know, I just keep doing what I do and we'll see what they say."
The 17th version of the Poker Players Championship attracted a 99-entry field and created a prize pool of more than $4.7 million. Heading into the final day, ten players had already finished in the money, including John Monnette, Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Alaei, Josh Arieh, Ray Dehkharghani, and Phil Ivey. The final day of play began with Talal Shakerchi leading the final five players, and his play would dominate the early goings as he swung up and down the leaderboard. 2013 Poker Players Championship winner Matthew Ashton would dent Shakerchi's stack when he rivered Broadway against Shakerchi's aces-up.
Shakerchi slumped all the way to the bottom of the leaderboard as Rast took the top spot and continued to surge ahead. Shakerchi found a double in both the No-Limit and Limit versions of 2-7 lowball before Kristopher Tong would be the first to be eliminated when he was all-in with pocket nines against the ace-king of Rast in No-Limit Hold'em. Rast flopped a flush draw and turned a bigger pair to eliminate Tony in fifth place for $303,071 in prize money. As Ashton, Shakerchi, and James Obst jostled for position, Rast surged to sit with roughly a three-to-one advantage over his three opponents.
During an orbit of Omaha Hi-Lo, Obst would be all-in preflop and finish with a pair of threes as Rast scooped the pot with two pair to eliminate the Australian in fourth place for $411,824. Ashton would follow in the same orbit when he was all-in on the flop with top and bottom pair. The turn completed the nut low for Rast and Shakerchi while also giving Rast the nut straight. Ashton could not fill up on the river and finished in third place for $573,679 in prize money. Rast was now heads-up for his third Poker Players Championship title with a commanding five-to-one chip advantage over Shakerchi. During an orbit of Razz, the final hand would play out that saw Shakerchi was all-in on sixth street with a jack-low to be trailing the ten-low of Rast. Rast improved to an eight-seven on seventh, and when Shakerchi was unable to find help to take the lead, he was eliminated in second place for $818,756 in prize money.
|1st||Brian Rast||United States||$1,324,747|
|2nd||Talal Shakerchi||United Kingdom||$818,756|
|3rd||Matthew Ashton||United Kingdom||$573,679|
|5th||Kristopher Tong||United States||$303,071|
|6th||Phil Ivey||United States||$228,793|
|7th||Ray Dehkharghani||United States||$177,294|
|1||Isaac Haxton||United States||$2,796,615||1,436|
|2||Chris Brewer||United States||$6,078,188||1,383|
|3||Cary Katz||United States||$2,781,400||1,330|
|4||Chance Kornuth||United States||$2,787,635||1,101|
|5||Sean Winter||United States||$1,453,974||1,087|
|6||Sam Soverel||United States||$1,244,114||1,076|
|7||Jeremy Ausmus||United States||$1,664,117||1,041|
|8||Ben Lamb||United States||$1,043,350||1,028|
|9||Alex Foxen||United States||$1,304,314||991|
In addition to his sixth WSOP bracelet and $1,324,747 in prize money, Rast climbs into 19th on the PGT leaderboard after picking up 400 PGT points for his victory in the Poker Players Championship.
Isaac Haxton remains the overall leader with 1,436 PGT points ahead of Chris Brewer (1,383 PGT points) and Cary Katz (1,330 PGT points). WSOP gold in 2023 for Ben Lamb and Jans Arends keep them in the top ten, while strong results from Chance Kornuth, Sean Winter, and Jeremy Ausmus have them sitting just outside the podium on the 2023 PGT leaderboard.