I should have stopped writing before my last sentence yesterday. It was in that final sentence that I predicted that the money bubble of the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event would not burst until early in Day 4. I WAS WRONG, OK? Because of course tournament officials had to let things play out until that last elimination happened to get everyone remaining into the money. Thus, after Day 3, there are 1,286 players left of the original 8,569, every single one of whom is now guaranteed at least $15,000 on their $10,000 buy-in. The chip leader going into Tuesday’s action is Preben Stokkan with 2.184 million chips, the only player with more than 2 million.
There is that old saying in poker, “A chip and a chair.” Stokkan embodied that on Monday. He told WSOP.com afterward that though he got up to 180,000 early on, doubling his Day 3 starting stack, he picked the wrong time to bluff and had but one chip, worth 5,000, remaining. He was planning on going all-in the disastrous hand, but an “over shove” by his opponent caused him to think twice and settle for having one chip in his hand. After the first break, though, he “spun it up.”
It certainly helped that he himself picked off a huge bluff later on. Here’s what he told WSOP.com:
I had a pretty crazy hand against a French guy on my table where I opened from under the gun and he had 600,000 behind. I had him covered, it was right before the bubble. He three-bet me to 40,000, I four-bet to 100,000 with aces. He called. The flop came ace-nine-deuce rainbow. He check-called 40,000. The turn was a four, rainbow board still. He checks, I bet 120,000, he jams! I had top set and he had pocket sevens. Yeah, that was a crazy hand.
One of the more dramatic hands of the ESPN telecast happened late in the day and is a tale of how, as the announcing team put it, it is very easy to “see monsters under the bed” in such a pressure-filled situation as the WSOP Main Event.
Simon Welsch (396,500 chips) raised pre-flop to 11,500 with A-9 (suits are of no consequence in this hand). Johnny Tan (641,000 chips), called with 7-7, and Joseph Beasy (465,000 chips) called from the big blind with T-T.
The flop was monstrous: T-A-7. Beasy hit middle set, Tan hit bottom set, and Welsch hit top pair. It looked like someone was going to go broke or close to it.
Beasy slow-played his set, checking the flop. Welsch bet 22,000 and his two opponents called, both slow-playing.
The turn was a 4, changing nothing. Beasy checked again, as did Welsch. Tan then bet 57,500 (I think – can’t read my notes that I took in a dark room at close to 2:00am ET). Beasy called and Welsch folded.
The river was also a 4, giving both players a boat. Beasy bet 75,000, not wanting to risk Tan checking, and then, as expected, Tan raised to 250,000. Anyone watching figured Beasy would re-raise, perhaps all-in, but he genuinely looked pained about what to do. He thought about it for about five minutes, to the point where one could tell that he was honestly scared that Tan had pocket Aces. Beasy finally decided to just call, winning the hand. Tan, for his part, looked dumbfounded, both because he just lost when he had a full house and because Beasy didn’t raise again on the river with his own full house.
Both players are still alive in the tournament, Beasy with close to a million chips and Tan with about half that.
Day 4 of the Main Event is just getting underway at the Rio. Expect a spree of eliminations now that the short stacks have made the money,