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Best of Dan Podheiser

Gaming Guru

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Money bubble bursts at the 2014 WSOP Main Event

11 July 2014

LAS VEGAS -- We've made it to the money.

The 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event bubble burst early Friday afternoon when only 692 of the 6,683 players who entered the tournament were remaining. Each of the 692 survivors has earned a minimum of $18,406. The Main Event champion will win $10 million.

With 695 players remaining, all tables began hand-for-hand play. On the very first hand, there were five all-ins across the room. Three of the five hands resulted in bust-outs, vaulting 692 players into the money.

John Dwyer, Kori Hunter and Zhen Cai were the three players who busted on the bubble. The three players split the 693rd-place prize of $18,406 three ways and played a game of "high card" to determine who would earn a seat to the 2015 Main Event (awarded every year to the "bubble boy").

Hunter went first and pulled the 6 of diamonds. Cai then stepped up and turned over the King of diamonds. And when Dwyer was only able to pull the 6 of hearts, Cai was awarded the seat to next year's Main Event.

"I will be back next year!" Cai exclaimed with a wry smile.

The five all-in hands on the bubble were determined one-by-one, as players were told not to turn their hands over until WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel and the ESPN cameras were able to make it to the tables. Effel announced each hand individually.

On the first hand, Dwyer lost a 600,000-chip cooler to 2013 November Niner Mark Newhouse. On a Qd-5d-Kd-5c-As board, Newhouse turned over 5h-5s for quad 5s, while Dwyer turned over Qc-Qh for Queens full of 5s.

Cai was the second player eliminated when his Qc-Qd fell short against Darren Keyes's Ah-Ad. The 8c-6h-4d-8d-6c board was no help to Cai.

Hunter was the final player eliminated on the bubble. His As-Ac was a heavy favorite against Harry Kaczka's 8d-9d all-in pre-flop, but the Qs-8h-7h-5c-9s board gave Kaczka two pair and beat Hunter's Aces.

Play stopped with 53 minutes remaining in the final level Thursday night and 746 players remaining. When they returned to the Amazon Room Friday, the blinds were 2,000/4,000 with a 500 ante. The final hand of the bubble occurred with 1:16 remaining in the following level, with the blinds at 2,500/5,000/500.

Americans Andrew Liporace (1,128,000) and Mehrdad Yousefzadeh (1,124,000) entered Day 4 as the chip leaders and the only two players with over 1 million chips. Other notable stacks entering Day 4 included Jesse Wilke (975,000), Phil Ivey (522,500), Jeff Madsen (350,000) and Huck Seed (249,000).

Players had varying strategies entering Friday depending on their chip counts and overall goals. The pros were almost certainly trying to put pressure on the amateurs trying to sneak into a min-cash.

Dean Baranowski, the chiropractor from Dallas that Casino City profiled on Day 1C, said before play started Friday that he was not going to take any chances until the money hit.

"I'm not going to play any hands," said Baranowski, who had roughly 100,000 chips entering Friday. "Even Aces."

When asked if he would adjust his strategy after the money bubble burst, Baranowski wasn't sure it was worth the risk.

"I'll still be very cautious," he said. "I'll only play premium hands. As long as I have at least 10 big blinds, there's no reason I can't keep moving up pay levels."

Baranowski made it to the money, surviving with about 60,000 chips.

Meanwhile, Brockton, Mass. native and World Series bracelet winner Ronnie Bardah set a record with his fifth straight Main Event cash.

The next pay jump for players comes at 621st place for $20,228. The first six-figure score, $103,025, goes to 72nd place. The top seven players each make at least $1.2 million.
Dan Podheiser

Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

Since graduating from Emerson College with a degree in journalism in 2010, Dan has worked as the sports editor for a chain of newspapers in Northwest Connecticut and served a year as an Americorps*VISTA, writing and researching grant proposals for a Boston-based charity.

Originally from South Jersey, where he still visits occasionally to see his family (and play on the state's regulated online poker sites), Dan lives in Brighton, Mass. with his wife and dog.
Dan Podheiser
Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

Since graduating from Emerson College with a degree in journalism in 2010, Dan has worked as the sports editor for a chain of newspapers in Northwest Connecticut and served a year as an Americorps*VISTA, writing and researching grant proposals for a Boston-based charity.

Originally from South Jersey, where he still visits occasionally to see his family (and play on the state's regulated online poker sites), Dan lives in Brighton, Mass. with his wife and dog.