Money Bubble Bursts Painfully at the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event

  • Kevin Campbell had his Aces cracked to get knocked out on the bubble
  • Jessica Cai is the chip leader going into Day 4 with 1.796 million chips
  • 2003 WSOP Main Event Champ Chris Moneymaker is in 12th place
  • Several more tournaments are still running, with more yet to come
Kevin Campbell during this final hand of the 2021 WSOP Main Event
Kevin Campbell (seated with the black hat, above) was the “bubble boy” of the 2021 WSOP Main Event after his Aces were cracked by A-9. [Image:]

Aces are usually good….

The 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event reached the money slightly earlier than expected, as the field was whittled to 1,000 from its original 6,650 late on Day 3. It always hurts to be the “bubble boy,” missing out on a payday after multiple grueling days by just one spot, but for poker pro Kevin Campbell, it could not have been worse.

Down to 93,000 chips and holding a lovely pocket Aces, Campbell moved all-in over the top of Chris Alafogiannis, who opened with a raise of 16,000. Alafogiannis had A-9, a nearly perfect situation for Campbell. The flop came down 9-T-8 and the crowd that had gathered buzzed. There was a chance. The 7 on the turn not only put the possibility of a straight out there (and therefore a chopped pot), but it also gave Alafogiannis a flush draw. Another 9 on the river made the crowd explode, as Alafogiannis had cracked Campbell’s Aces with trip 9s.

A shocked Campbell simply got up from the table and walked away, shaking his head. Speaking with PokerNews afterward, he said: “Shit hurts, trust me, but I’m just so tired right now that I don’t care.”

Campbell added that he’ll be back at the tables on Friday. If there is a silver lining, the WSOP always awards the bubble boy with a free seat into the following year’s Main Event.

Jessica Cai riding high, Moneymaker making money

As for those who have reason to happy, Jessica Cai is the chip leader going into Day 4 of the Main Event, holding 1.796 million chips. Nearly tied with her is Phachara Wongwichit with 1.773 million. Everyone in the top ten has at least 1.500 million chips.

arguably the most important player in poker history

Though there are still a number of notable names among the 1,000 remaining players in the Main Event, all eyes are squarely on Chris Moneymaker, who is in 12th place, bagging 1.432 million chips. Moneymaker, a Poker Hall of Famer and arguably the most important player in poker history, won the 2003 WSOP Main Event. His amateur status, entry into the Main Event via a PokerStars satellite when online poker was relatively unknown, and the coverage by ESPN launched the poker boom and changed poker forever.

Moneymaker is regarded as one of the “good guys” in poker and is very easy to root for. He has not had overwhelming success on the felt since his Main Event victory (though he has made another $1.4m in live tournaments), but he has been a tremendous ambassador for the game and has never tried to be more than he is.

The beat goes on

The 2021 WSOP Main Event has been running for more than a week, but there is still a ways to go. Today, the players will proceed through five more levels with a 20-minute break after each and a 75-minute dinner break after Level 18. Five or six more levels will be completed each day of the weekend.

Many players will likely be relaxed on Friday since they are now in the money, but tension will rise once again on Monday, as the tournament will get down to its final nine players. The final table begins on Tuesday, November 16 and will play down to four players before the newest poker champion is crowned on Wednesday.

And though the Main Event is effectively the psychological end of the World Series of Poker, there is still a host of “post-liminary” tournaments remaining. Event #72: $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em; Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed begins Friday and a several other tournaments are already midstream. The $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship also starts Saturday.

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