THEY'RE IN THE MONEY!
(Photo Caption: WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel stands with the four "bubble" finishers, just as the remaining 665 players cheer in ecstasy at having made the money in the WSOP Main Event Championship. -- Photo by Jay WhoJedi Newnum)
It was quite simply the most incredible 'bubble" moment in WSOP history -- perhaps in any tournament, ever. And -- it happened on "Friday the 13th."
With 669 players on the crest of collecting a guaranteed $19,227 payout, the hand-for-hand stage of the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship was poker's equivalent a lightning strike. Only, the bolt struck four times.
Getting singed were four poker players who will one day look back on this incredible moment with mixed emotions. They will be able to lay claim to having officially cashed in poker's world championship -- no small feat. Just ask the 5,929 players this year who did not make it as far. They will also be able to tell some bad beats stories which were actually worth listening to.
Consider the four hands that were dealt out on the very first "hand-for-hand" sequence, just three spots away from the money. With 669 players remaining in the tournament, and only 666 places to be paid, the following hands were tabled across the cavernous Amazon Room at the Rio in Las Vegas:
AA versus KK -- the pocket aces held up, eliminating one player -- down to 668.
AA versus QQ -- the pocket aces held up again, eliminating one more player -- down to 667.
AA versus 55 -- pockets fives hit a set, eliminating one more player -- down to 666.
AA versus AK -- the ace-king caught two kings on the flop -- down to 665.
The four "victims" -- who went bust in the biggest tournament of the year were dealt A-A, A-A, K-K, and Q-Q. The collective 666th place finishers were Steve Rosen, David Kelley, Desmond Portano, and Dane Lomas. They not only divided $19.227 in prize money, but also share the notoriety of cashing in the most unusual series of hands that have ever been recorded during the so-called "bubble moment" of the tournament's colorful 43-year history.
If there's a silver cloud to this unprecedented storm that blazed over the WSOP, it's that the four "bubble" players were scheduled to square off in a four-handed single-table satellite, which served as a consolation prize. The four were to play for a $10,000 seat in the 2013 WSOP Main Event, the traditional "gift" normally bestowed on the unfortunate bubble victim. However, David Kelley came to the rescue at the last minute and agreed to take the seat in exchange for a $2,500 payment to each of the other three players.
Accordingly, David Kelley becomes the first official entrant into the 2013 WSOP Main Event.
Following the announcement, the Main Event Championship continued with 665 players, which are now falling fast as prize money is now guaranteed to all remaining survivors.
-- by Nolan Dalla