WSOP 2019: Bubble bursts in Main Event; Preben Stokkan chip leader; Xixiang Luo leads Asian pack

The 2019 Main Event has thrown up some interesting stories during the opening days as the huge field of players has been busy with the task of culling itself. Now, after three day 1 starting flights, two day 2 flights and an action packed third day on the felt, the bubble has burst. All players who survived today are now guaranteed at least $15,000.

They will now look ahead, down the long road to the holy grail of the Main Event final table.

Day 3 overview

Preben Stokkan
Preben Stokkan – Photo

With late registration closing on day 2C, we already had our final tally for entries by the start of day 3. This year’s event attracted the second largest event in history with 8,569 players paying $10,000 for their ticket into poker’s greatest spectacle. This figure was just over 200 short of the 8,773 record set in 2006. Day 3 began with 2,880 runners still in the hunt, but after another gruelling ten-hour day and the bubble bursting with six and half minutes left in the final level, day 3 has come to a close. Just 1,286 hopefuls now remain, with Norway’s Preben Stokkan out in front with 2,184,000. He is followed by Andrew Brokos with 1,906,000 and Ryan Dodge with 1,800,000.

Rank Player Chip Count
1 Preben Stokkan 2,184,000
2 Andrew Brokos 1,906,000
3 Ryan Dodge 1,800,000
4 Galen Hall 1,658,000
5 Cassio Pisapia 1,646,000
6 Chris Hunichen 1,618,000
7 Pavlo Veksler 1,594,000
8 Duey Duong 1,576,000
9 Jake Daniels 1,560,000
10 John Patgorski 1,524,000

Bubble bursts

Ryan Pochedly Bubble boy
Ryan Pochedly – Photo

Just a few minutes remained on level 15 and the scheduled and of day point was in sight, when finally, the bubble popped and the room burst into cheers of celebration. Bubble time is always a strange affair in the WSOP Main Event. Almost 1,300 players spread across a vast room playing hand for hand as the tournament creeps forward at glacial pace. Scattered across the tables are players holding their breath, clutching their last few antes and praying they make it as big stacks raise every hand and hoover up chips. Everyone wants to know if anyone in the field is all-in and at risk, but information is always patchy at best.

At the end of day 3, the field went through all these familiar routines before Ryan Pochedly sent a wave of relief and euphoria around the room by getting brutally coolered on the river. In no other tournament in the world does someone whose dreams have just been horribly crushed have to walk through a room as over 1,000 people jubilantly celebrate their devastating misfortune. Welcome to the Main Event, Ryan.

Notable names moving on to day 4

Chris Moneymaker
Chris Moneymaker – Photo

Galen Hall followed his excellent day 2 with an equally proficient day 3. The bracelet winner ended the day in 4th place on the counts with 1,658,000.

Slightly further down the standings is Jean-Robert Bellande (41st) with 1,126,000 and Joseph Cheong (50th) with 1,068,000. Cheong famously attempted an insane bluff three-handed in the 2010 Main Event, only for it to fail, consigning him to 3rd place. He won his first bracelet this summer.

Two-time bracelet winner Eric Baldwin is also very comfortable with 916,000 (106th). Australian Kathy Liebert has been moving up too and is currently 170th with 750,000. Three-time bracelet winner Antonio Esfandiari has also vaulted up the chip counts to 174th place with 740,000. He is followed by an equally notable name in the form of Bertrand “ElKy” Grospellier, who has 727,000 (183rd). 217th spot is taken by Niklas “Lena900” Astedt, and 2003 Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker (222nd) is still looking very good with 681,000. 2016 Main Event champion Qui Nguyen will bring 669,000 back tomorrow (230th) and three-time bracelet winner Adam Friedman is looking comfortable in 253rd spot with 644,000. Five-time bracelet winner Allen Cunningham is also well placed in 317th with 572,000.

Slightly off the pace of the frontrunners, but still with strong stacks are Gus Hansen (445,000), three-time bracelet winner Brian Yoon (532,000), four-time bracelet winner Mike Matusow (515,000) and double Main Event winning, ten-time bracelet winning legend Johnny Chan (498,000).

Asian names through to day 4

Leading the way for the Asian contingent is China’s Xixiang Luo with 1,297,000 in 20th place. Australians Warwick Mirzikinian (1,175,000) and Luke Martinelli (1,127,000) are sitting on top-40 stacks. Following them a little further down the order is Taiwan’s Nai Hu, who built on his strong showing yesterday to bag up 1,001,000 chips; good enough for 74th as things stand. Japan’s leading player in 77th is currently Sota Sato (999,000) and close behind is Korea’s Jiwoon Kim, currently occupying 80th spot with 996,000. Also, still within the top 100 stacks is India’s leading player Kartik Ved in 85th. Hong Kong’s Steven Au is currently 91st with 952,000.

Familiar faces outside the top 100 but still comfortable include: China’s Quan Zhou, who has bounced up to 890,000, Hong Kong’s Alan Lau who has bagged up 661,000, bracelet winning Korean Sejin Park with 495,000, Macau’s Huidong Gu with 338,000 and Korea’s Daniel Lee, who has 292,000. Australian six-time bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro is taking 243,000 into tomorrow.

Other notables are also still grinding away. Chinese pro Dong Guo is still alive with 160,000, as is Taiwan’s Li Ta Hsu with 158,000 and India’s Aditya Agarwal with 136,000.

In the Field

When Daniel Hachem’s name first popped up on the chip counts, the obvious story was quickly rolled out; can he walk in his father Joe’s footsteps and win the Main Event. It was of course, early days and nobody had any reason to think he would be among the big stacks coming into day 4. However, that’s exactly where he finds himself. The son of 2005 champion Joe Hachem currently sits in 52nd place with 1,036,000 chips and is looking good going into the fourth day.

Elsewhere in the tournament area, Mike Matusow has been busy living up to his nickname of “the mouth”, getting very vocal about what he believes should be happening in the tournament. The moment was gladly captured by Brandon Cantu and placed on social media for all to view.

One of the biggest stories in the field came from the biggest chip stack. Preben Stokkkan has bagged up a huge chiplead at the end of the third day, but it could easily have gone a different way. After starting the day with less than 100,000 chips, Stokkan bluffed off most of his stack on the river, leaving himself with a solitary 5,000 chip. He soon managed to recover a few chips, then a handful. From there, the heater really took off. Fast forward 8 hours or so and he is bagging up an astonishing, chipleading stack of 2,184,000.

Stay tuned to Somuchpoker for daily reports on the biggest event of the year.

Article by Craig Bradshaw