The $50,000 Poker Players Championship final table never fails to be a collection of the game’s premiere talent. This year is no different with Daniel Negreanu, Isaac Haxton, and Elior Sion among the six remaining heading into Thurdsday’s restart. The short stack among them and one of the top all-around players in the world is former PocketFives #1 Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe.
For the last few years, Volpe has been one of the top performers at the World Series of Poker and has a chance to win his third bracelet in the PPC. This summer has been a change of pace, though, as Volpe has played fewer events overall and fewer at the Rio than in previous years. Although he’s taken a step back, Volpe came into the PPC ready to battle in one of his favorite events of the year.
“If there was no money involved, I’d want to win this tournament over any tournament ever. All the real poker players come out and play this one, who play all the big games. This is a huge one for me. I love the idea of being able to play all eight games,” said Volpe.
Last year, Volpe cashed for the first time in the PPC but came up shy of the final table, finishing 11th.
Earlier in the summer, Volpe tweeted that he was not enjoying the grind as much as he had in prior years. A few weeks later, Volpe stands by the tweet and admits that he can be a “moody person” which has in part, led to him playing less.
— paul volpe (@paulgees81) June 11, 2017
“It just feels likes in year’s past it’s been exciting to play and for whatever reason this year, I just haven’t been totally feeling it. It’s been tough. This has been a massive grind and when I get home at night, I can’t think and feel burnt out.”
Prior to the start of the summer, Volpe backed out of a prospective bracelet bet he made with Mike Gorodinsky due, in part, to not wanting to feel any pressure of having to play a full schedule of events.
At certain points over the course of this summer, Volpe could be found playing four-figure limit mixed game cash one day and then a $1,500 No Limit event the next.
He may not enjoy playing every day as much as he once did, but Volpe has still put together a list of quality results by most metrics. Among his finishes, this summer is a third place finish in The Venetian $10,000 High Roller and a top-10 cash in the WSOP $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Single Draw event.
No one would argue against Volpe’s tournament resume and the success he’s had but the signature win of his career still eludes him. Volpe’s three WPT final tables, two WSOP bracelets, and two top-30 finishes in the Main Event speak for themselves and he sees the PPC final table as the opportunity for his career to be fully validated.
“Winning this tournament, I was thinking about this yesterday, it would make me feel accomplished, like I succeeded in poker; this tournament alone. It’s for $1.4 million, I’ve never had a million dollar score. Even though I’ve already have had a lot of success and made a great living for myself, this would be it.”
Volpe starts the PPC final table with half the chips of the second shortest stack, Ivo Donev, but has years of experience on his side as he takes on the latest challenge of his career. His uncertain future career path aside, tomorrow marks the chance for Volpe to etch his name on the WSOP’s most prestigious trophy and allow him to have more freedom than ever before.