It was a day of surprises at the 2022 World Series of Poker Championship Event. Instead of playing up to the money bubble, the players at the tournament decided to just go ahead and pop that bubble late on Saturday night. Three people were eliminated, splitting up the 1300th place money ($15,000), while Aaron Mermelstein will lead the other 1299 players into the Day Four battles as the only player over the two million chip mark.

Surprise in Reaching the Payout Zone

At the start of the day, the 2993 players remaining were facing another long slog of a day. WSOP officials warned against expecting the money bubble to pop on Saturday, but the players were not hearing any of that. Within the first hour of the action in the Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas tournament rooms, tables were being broken almost faster than the players could be reseated. This was something that would be prominently featured throughout the day.

While top players such as Chris Hunichen, Nick Vertucci, Eli Elezra, Christian Harder were among the casualties of the early going, there were some players who were thriving amongst the chaos. Muhammad Abdel Rahim, who started in the Top Five, rocketed over the million-chip mark in taking down Greg Himmelbrand after Rahim rivered the nut flush in clubs. Meanwhile, the start of day chip leader, Gavin Munroe, suffered through the action on Saturday and, while he has a bag for Day Four, it only contains 417K chips.

To be technical, there was no hand-for-hand play at the 2022 WSOP Championship Event. That is because FIVE different tables had an all-in situation with the action at 1302 (two before the bubble) and only two of them would survive. Robert Lipkin, Ognjen Sekularac, and Tom McCormick were the trio who did not make it through, thus splitting up the $15,000 min-cash for the 1300th place finish.

Mermelstein Rides Final Level Monster Pot to Chip Lead

Aaron Mermelstein was doing well in the Day Three action, but a late hand would allow him to rocket into the lead. He would flop trip nines while holding a measly K-9 against an opponent’s pocket Kings to amass his stack. Mermelstein, who said to WSOP live reporters that it was “dope” to be the chip leader, will move on to Sunday’s play as the only player over the two million mark in chips.

1. Aaron Mermelstein (USA), 2.059 million
2. Michael Rocco (USA), 1.866 million
3. Gabi Livshitz (Israel), 1.835 million
4. Brandon Luto (USA), 1.679 million
5. Leo Zamarripa (USA), 1.643 million
6. Jake Abdalla (USA), 1.615 million
7. Thi Nguyen (Canada), 1.6 million
8. Jordyn Miller (USA), 1.58 million
9. Matthieu His (France), 1.565 million
10. Ian Armstrong (United Kingdom), 1.563 million

Other notables that have decent stacks to go to Day Four include Martin Zamani (1.483 million), Cliff Josephy (1.203 million), Ali Imsirovic (1.128 million), John Juanda (1.097 million), and the defending champion of the tournament, Koray Aldemir (537,000).

The action will begin at noon (Pacific Time), with another five levels of play to whittle the field down further. The 1299 players are all guaranteed a minimum of $15,000 for their efforts, but it is now all about making a drive as deep as possible. After an initial flurry of bustouts on Sunday, expect the end of action tonight to have about 300 players as they drive to the 2022 WSOP Championship Event title.

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