The 2022 World Series of Poker Main Event reached and crashed through its money bubble at the end of a grueling Day 3 as 1,299 players survived hand-for-hand play and returned for today’s Day 4 noon restart in the event.
What had originally been projected as a Day 4 (Level 17) bubble happened earlier than expected, as a surge in bustouts earlier in the day brought the bubble within reach during Level 15, Day 3’s final two-hour level. Just four spots from the money, tournament officials sent the event into hand-for-hand play, and though each hand took roughly ten minutes of real time to run while only two minutes per hand were pulled off the clock, it still took only four hands for the needed four bustouts (plus two more) to occur.
As it turned out, when just one more elimination was needed, three players busted simultaneously. Tom McCormick, Ognjen Sekularac, and Robert Lipkin were officially awarded spots 1,300th through 1302nd, and each received one third, or $5,000, of the $15,000 min-cash that will go to the first players eliminated on Sunday in Day 4 action. Lipkin then won a three-way flip for the traditional “bubble boy” prize, receiving a $10,000 seat into the 2023 Main Event.
Following the triple knockout, tourney officials then ordered all 1,299 survivors to immediately bag and tag their chips to end the day.
On the opposite end of the leaderboard, notable names accompanied many of the big stacks moving through to Day 4. The official Day 3 leader was Florida’s Aaron Mermelstein, who with 2,059,000 chips was the only player over the two-million-chip mark. At least six former Main Event champions survived into the money, including defending champ Koray Aldemir, along with John Cynn, Damian Salas, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Merson, and Ryan Riess. Moneymaker would become one of Day 4’s earliest butouts, but with a $15,000 payday to his credit.
Tales of survival and insult at the tables
As happens in every large-field event, misfortune just outside the bubble forces many shorter-stacked players to grind their stacks into money to at least seek a min-cash payday, then hope for better luck. One such was Tennessee’s Blake Whittington. The seven-time Circuit ringwinner had one of those happy-but-sad tales to report as Day 3 action ended:
Whittington was another min-cash award recipient on Day 4. “Got ‘liquidated’ (his words) by CryptoApprenti1 first hand of Day 4 GG.”
Another player who survived into the Day 4 money was famed dual poker and chess champion Jennifer Shahade. Shahade never had a huge stack on Day 3, yet she reported something much more troublesome, an instance of misogynism and verbal abuse, but not from another competitor, but from an as-yet-unidentifed WSOP dealer:
Such abusive behavior isn’t the first such instance relayed to this reporter during the summer, though its occurrence during the largest and highest-profile event the poker world has to offer is troubling in itself. Shahade played the first several levels of Day 3 in the Bally’s Grand Ballroom, not too far away from the secondary registration cage the WSOP opens during certain re-buy events. It’s also just the latest in a long stream of dramas that have played out just under or at the surface of an otherwise largely successful 2022 WSOP.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze