Money bubble. Those two words were most anxiously awaited as the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship tournament played on. And Tuesday, July 13, was the day that those words would be of the utmost importance.
The 2010 World Series of Poker had its share of money bubbles, one for each of the 56 preliminary bracelet events played. But the one that happens in the Main Event is special for several reasons, first and foremost because it happens in the biggest live poker tournament of the year with eyes from all over the world watching. It’s also unlike most $10K buy-in tournaments whose fields consist of mostly pros; the Main Event consists of many people on the amateur or semi-pro level, all looking to take a chance and win life-changing money. For many, the simple doubling of their buy-in money is enough to help them in significant ways. And those who bust just short of the money often find themselves more heartbroken than in most situations, as winning the WSOP Main Event is a goal of most poker players.
After the tournament originally began with 7,319 players, Day 3 whittled the field from 2,557 down to 1203 in only a few levels of play. Those players were welcomed back on Day 4 to continue on. They started with a full Amazon Room and a few tables in the Pavilion Ballroom, and the latter were quickly broken in the first few hours of the day to relegate the Pavilion useless for the remainder of the week for the WSOP.
The day began with eliminations on the very first hand of the day. The live reports indicated that Barny Boatman pushed his stack of 54,800 chips with , and Chad Wutke called with , and the nines held to send Boatman packing. Some others decided that it wasn’t worth it for them to even show up, such as the much-reported Philip Goossens, a player from Belgium who decided to head home despite having a Day 3 starting stack of 92,400. But having gone broke in other tournaments and without enough money to pay for a change to his flight home, Goossens decided to forfeit his Main Event chances and depart, though his stack was only blinded down to 4,400 for Day 4, and on Tuesday, those chips were blinded off in the first orbit of play. Whatever the reasons, players and their chips were disappearing quickly from the Main Event on Day 4.
Other early bustouts included Matt Savage, Barry Shulman, JJ Liu, Blair Rodman, Dewey Tomko, Kathy Liebert, Hank Azaria, Joe Reitman, and Dave Colclough. Soon after, the Pavilion Room was empty and the afternoon proceeded toward the bubble and the dinner break - at the same time.
Some of the players who came close but didn’t make it to either were Erica Schoenberg, Robert Varkonyi, Nicolas Chouity, Joe Awada, Andrew Brown, and Dan Harrington. There were still 10 women in the field, though, and play moved forward until there were 753 players left. The excitement was building as hand-for-hand play began, and two players were eliminated in the next few minutes. And then…tournament director Jack Effel announced that the 751 players still seated would be released for their 90-minute dinner break. A solid round of booing ensued from the players, though they were left without much choice in the matter, and even the very short stacks had to head to dinner and put off their possible demise for another hour and a half.
When they came back, action was quick, even though hand-for-hand with so many tables was a tedious process. Kido Pham was the first to go in 751st place, followed by Chris Tipper in 750th and Angel Guillen in 749th place. With one more player left to go, tensions ran high, and it finally happened.
Ismail Erkenov started the action at the table, and Tim McDonald made a raise from the button. Erkenov called, and the flop came . McDonald then pushed his last 37,500 chips all-in with for the solid two pair, but Erkenov showed for the perfect full house. The came on the turn, and the on the river ended it painfully with a lower full house. McDonald was then escorted to the stage, where Effel announced that he was the tournament’s bubble boy and would be given a complimentary entry into the 2011 WSOP Main Event but had to depart at that moment with no cash to show for his 2010 Main Event run.
Ross Myers then became the first player to cash in the tournament, taking home $19,263 for the 747th place finish. Notables who followed in quick order in the last level of the night included Amit Makhija, Kyle Bowler, Humberto Brenes, Gavin Smith, Tyron Krost, Eric Mizrachi, Court Harrington, Frank Kassela, Mel Judah, Jon Friedberg, David Chiu, Chris Bjorin, and Allen Cunningham. Two of those mentioned had interesting stories, as Eric Mizrachi was one of his four brothers to make it into the money and left three still in the field after Day 4, and Frank Kassela had the Player of the Year title nearly locked up upon his departure.
There were 574 players remaining, all guaranteed the third tier of payment should they be eliminated very early on Day 5. But those who had enough chips to survive at least a few levels on Day 5 were the chip leaders, the top 10 of whom are listed here:
|Tony Dunst ||1,546,000 |
|Duy Le ||1,460,000 |
|Garrett Adelstein ||1,440,000 |
|Matt Affleck ||1,395,000 |
|Phil Galfond ||1,392,000 |
|Matthew Jarvis ||1,373,000 |
|Theo Jorgensen ||1,343,000 |
|Benjamin Statz ||1,283,000 |
|Bryan Pellegrino ||1,240,000 |
|Matthew Brown ||1,203,000 |
With that, Day 4 was finished. And Day 5 gets underway on Wednesday, July 14. The excitement is high; everyone around the world is waiting to see who will make the final table – the November Nine.