More than $8 Million on the Line as WSOP Main Event Bubble Bursts

July 14th, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event has entered its final stages, which means all surviving players can now look towards the $8,150,000 top prize.

WSOP money bubble.

The bubble bursts in the 2017 WSOP Main Event as players move a step closer to the $8 million top prize. (Image:

For the first time since the WSOP Main Event became the third largest of its kind, those left fighting in the $10,000 tournament were housed under the same roof.

After whittling down number of entrants from 7,221 to 2,572 by the close Day 2, the organizers were able to bring everyone in for Day 3.

Bubble Trouble

At the start of the session, it looked as though the bubble might burst, but no one was holding their breath. With so much at stake and plenty of talent left in the field, few were willing to bet that more than 1,400 players would be sent to the rail on Day 3.

However, as grueling as the 14-hour session was, the bubble did burst; much to the disappointment of Roger Campbell and Quan Zhou. As has become customary in the WSOP Main Event, players play down to the bubble bubble and then the real bubble.

The first bubble (two places of the money) is the final finishing position that doesn’t earn a player a return on their investment. This year, the player to make it so close but so far away from a major payday was Campbell.

With three all-ins at other tables, Campbell needed his A♥ K♣ to overturn Kenny Shih’s flopped flush with Q♥ T♥ if he was going to survive.

However, when the race was run, Campbell couldn’t find his flush and had to sit and wait as Zhou played out his hand on another table.

While all of this was happening, two of the three additional all-ins saw the short stacks double up, but Zhou wasn’t so lucky. A failed bluff against Davidi Kitai meant he was out of chips, but not quite out of luck.

With Campbell and Zhou each finishing at the same time, a final hand had to take place to see who finished 1,086th (two from the money i.e. the bubble bubble) and who finished 1,085th (one place from the money i.e. the real bubble).

A Tale of Two Main Event Hands

After sitting them down opposite each other, tournament director Jack Effel asked for a final deal. Playing out the hand, Zhou took the pot and with it a free seat in the 2018 WSOP Main Event worth $10,000.

With that, time was called on the session and, as Campbell headed for the rail empty-handed, the remaining players celebrated cashing in the biggest tournament in poker.

While those at the top of the chip counts, such as Patrick Lavecchia and Antoine Saout look towards bigger paydays, Jeff Del Castilho was just happy to be alive.

Holding just two chips, the online player will need to replicate the famous “chip and a chair” story if he’s going to win the Main Event.

Indeed, when Jack Straus managed to come back and win the 1982 Main Event after having just one chip left, it entered into poker folklore. If Del Castilho can do something similar, then we really will have a WSOP Main Event to remember.


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