The money bubble of the World Series of Poker main event is a line of demarcation that changes the feel of the most famous poker tournament in the world. After three full days of play, those fortunate enough to remain in action are guaranteed a payday of at least $15,000 while staring at potentially four more long days of poker to get to the final table of nine and a guaranteed seven-figure windfall.
The 2019 WSOP main event reached the money bubble late Monday night, and for those 1,286 players who put chips into a bag after play, the dream of $10 million and the gold WSOP bracelet are still alive. Those hopes seem a bit stronger for the lead pack, like overall chip leaders Preben Stokkan of Oregon (2.184 million in chips), Andrew Brokos (1.906 million), Ryan Dodge (1.8 million) and Galen Hall (1.658 million).
Three former champions are still in the running: two-time winner Johnny Chan (1987-88), Chris Moneymaker (2003) and Qui Nguyen (2016). There won't be a back-to-back winner, however, as defending champion John Cynn went out just shy of the money. Comedian Kevin Pollak and former NFL star Richard Seymour are sure to command some attention in the coming days as well after making the money, provided they continue to play on.
There are a number of familiar names from WSOP main event final tables past as well, including Josh Arieh, Neil Blumenfield, Tom Cannuli, Joseph Cheong, Allen Cunningham, Jay Farber, Cliff Josephy, Scott Lazar, Richard Lee, Eoghan O'Dea and Max Steinberg.
While the money bubble has historically been a long, drawn-out process, there was no need for hand-for-hand play in 2019. Ryan Pochedly was the unfortunate 1,287th-place finisher, but as is tradition, the player finishing on the bubble wins their $10,000 entry fee to the following year's event -- so Pochedly will be back in 2020.
Play resumes at 12 p.m. local time in Las Vegas at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino, with live coverage on ESPN from 7 p.m ET until 11 p.m. ET.
Players remaining: 1,286 (8,569 entries)
First place: $10 million
Prize pool: $80,548,600
Guaranteed payout (in the money): $15,000
Final table payouts:
1. $10 million
2. $6 million
3. $4 million
4. $3 million
5. $2.2 million
6. $1.85 million
7. $1.525 million
8. $1.25 million
9. $1 million