2023 WSOP Main Event bracelet

More than 1,000 players were eliminated on Monday in the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event as the money bubble burst and the field was whittled to just 441 players. Now, a 441-entrant tournament is still a large contest, but it is as far cry from the 10,043 players who began the Main Event and the final table – with all that money to be won – is a bit less of a fantasy now for those remaining.

With blinds at 10,000/25,000 and a 25,000-chip big blind ante to begin Tuesday’s Day 5, it is essentially a three-way tie at the top of the chip counts. Ryan Tosoc is the leader with 5.120 million chips. Mitchell Halverson is less than a big blind behind at 5.100 million, while Aditya Systla is just a big blind below him with 5.075 million. Two more players have over 4 million, while several others have in the upper-3 million range.

Going into Day 4, only ten eliminations were needed to burst the money bubble, so it was slow going as the short stacks were trying to stave off elimination and the tournament went into hand-for-hand mode pretty early in the day.

After almost two hours, the money bubble finally popped. Three players – Jeppe Bisgaard, Yueqi Wang, and Peter Nigh – were all eliminated on the same hand, but at different tables. As a result, they split the bottom two payouts of $15,000, giving them each $10,000, effectively allowing them to break even for the tournament.

But there was still one matter left to sort out. Every year, the bubble boy (or girl) is awarded a seat into the following year’s Main Event. But there were three bubble boys yesterday and only one seat. To settle it, they did a “flip,” with each player getting hole cards face-up and seeing who wins when the community cards are dealt. Bisgaard won the hand and thus got the seat in the 2024 WSOP Main Event.

When the money bubble approaches in the Main Event, many players just hold on for dear life, not wanting to go home empty handed after getting so close to at least a min-cash after several days. Some players fold pocket Aces pre-flop and pray players at other tables get aggressive. Others see the bubble as an opportunity to accumulate chips and will happily take the blinds from their more nervous opponents.

In one odd situation yesterday, a table essentially colluded to help a player make the money. Down to about a single big blind, a man named Gao typed a letter to his tablemates, asking them to not raise his first big blind. He said he traveled from China to play and that making the money would help him get into an American university and pay for a “dream” honeymoon. He said that if his tablemates honored his request and he made the money, he would “boldly go all-in without hesitation” after the bubble burst.

And sure enough, even though it wouldn’t have hurt Gao’s opponents to lose a hand to him when he had almost nothing, they left him alone when he was in the big blind and he made it into the money.

Day 5 begins at noon PT as the players try to get through another five levels. Two previous Main Event champs are still alive in the tournament: Chris Moneymaker with 435,000 chips and Joe Hachem with 1.485 million.

2023 World Series of Poker Main Event – Day 4 Chip Leaders

  1. Ryan Tosoc – 5,120,000
  2. Mitchell Halverson – 5,100,000
  3. Aditya Systla – 5,075,000
  4. Scott Berko – 4,700,000
  5. Bradley Moskowitz – 4,145,000
  6. Juan Maceiras Lapido – 3,985,000
  7. Jon Cohen – 3,815,000
  8. Gabi Livshitz – 3,800,000
  9. John Racener – 3,710,000
  10. Quan Zhou – 3,705,000

Image credit: PokerGO.com

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