World Series of Poker Main Event: Pocket Aces Get Cracked On The Money Bubble

The 2021 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in main event is officially in the money, with the bubble bursting thanks to a bad beat for Kevin Campbell and his pocket aces. Campbell three-bet shoved for just shy of 12 big blinds with AHeart SuitADiamond Suit and was called by initial raiser Chris Alafogiannis, who held AClub Suit9Club Suit. The board ran out 10Club Suit9Heart Suit8Diamond Suit7Club Suit9Spade Suit and Alafogiannis rivered trip nines to send Campbell to the rail. He was awarded entry into next year’s main event as a consolation prize.

Just over a week after the main event got underway, the field has now been narrowed from 6,650 entries down to 1,000 contenders, each of who has their eyes on the championship bracelet and the first-place prize of $8,000,000. With Campbell’s elimination, they are all now guaranteed at least $15,000 in this event.

Guys… holy shit… the money bubble just burst in the wsop main event in the grossest fashion at my table.
On a side note this is a pretty surreal experience
Day 4 of the main event tomorrow guaranteed 15k playing for 8 million clams!!!!

— Paul Mattioda (@PaulShadyoda) November 12, 2021

Heading into day 4, Jessica Cai holds the chip lead with 1,796,000. Making the money in this year’s main event will be Cai’s second-largest score behind her fifth-place finish in the 2021 Card Player Poker Tour bestbet Jacksonville main event for $43,669. Cai has witnessed what running deep in the main event is like before, as her husband Zhen Cai finished sixth in this event in 2019 for $1,850,000.

Jessica Cai“I always visualized being in the main event and final tabling it. Actually, it all started with our friend, Tony Miles, he got second place in 2018 and we were all watching him and cheering for him. And I think that also motivated my husband, and then he made a deep run and got sixth place in the main,” Cai told Card Player toward the end of day 3. “We were actually all roommates at one point, and [Miles] said that since we all lived under the same roof, that I was next. So that kind of motivated me.”

Cai has been playing poker since turning 21 and used to play online. She recently decided to put the game on the back burner after her family grew.

“I was like, you know what, let me just focus on raising the family. I’ll put poker to the side and maybe when my son is in school, I could start pursuing poker again.”

With nearly 225 big blinds, Cai is now in pole position for the pursuit of the biggest title in poker. Other top stacks include Phachara Wongwichit (1,773,000), Joshua Paige (1,671,000), Ehsan Amiri (1,574,000) and Roman Valerstein (1,560,000).

There are several more big names with healthy stacks following the end of day 3, including bracelet winner Stephen Song (1,551,000), nine-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Daniel Lowery (1,415,000), two-time bracelet winner Keith Lehr (1,379,000), and 2019 Card Player Player of the Year award winner Stephen Chidwick (1,258,000).

Three former winners of the main event are still alive with a chance of becoming repeat champions. 2013 WSOP main event winner Chris Moneymaker bagged up 1,432,000, which is good for 12th place after the end of day 3. Moneymaker surged up the leaderboard late on day 2 thanks to a couple of huge hands, including picking up pocket aces against pocket kings. 2016 winner Qui Nguyen (659,000) and 2014 champion Martin Jacobson (142,000) are also still alive with hopes of becoming two-time winners of this event.

Among the 1,362 players that were eliminated on day 3 were plenty of notables like 2007 champion Jerry Yang, all-time bracelet leader and 1989 champion Phil Hellmuth, 2005 main event winner Joe Hachem, four-time bracelet winner Anthony Zinno, three-time bracelet winner Justin Bonomo, two-time bracelet winner Erick Lindgren, and 2020 WSOP main event ‘Domestic Tournament’ champion Joseph Hebert.

The final 1,000 players will return for day 4 at noon on Friday, Nov.12. Play was halted following the bursting of the bubble with one hour and 50 minutes remaining in level 16 (4,000-8,000 with an 8,000 big blind ante).

Here is a look at the top ten stacks following the conclusion of day 3:

Rank Player Chip Count
1 Jessica Cai 1,796,000
2 Phachara Wongwichit 1,773,000
3 Joshua Paige Remitio 1,671,000
4 Ehsan Amiri 1,574,000
5 Roman Valerstein 1,560,000
6 Neel Choksi 1,552,000
7 Stephen Song 1,551,000
8 Dragana Lim 1,539,000
9 Jordan Jayne 1,525,000
10 Andreas Kniep 1,509,000

For a full list of chip counts heading into day 4 CLICK HERE.