New York native finishes Day 3 second in chips, looks to further charity work in his father's name with a big score

July 8, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV) - In the early hours of Sunday morning, the poker world reached the moment many players around the world have been waiting all year for. The money bubble burst in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

After a few hands of hand-for-hand play, Day 3 of the 2018 WSOP Main Event ended after Matthew Hopkins was eliminated by Bryce McVay on the bubble and the final 1,182 players remaining locked up a min-cash of at least $15,000. Those 1,182 players are led by In Sun Geoum with 1,696,000 in chips, but for most of the day it was Frankie Flowers leading the way.

Flowers, a regular face in many East Coast tournaments, bagged up 1,624,000 at the end of the night, good for second in chips, and secured his first-ever WSOP Main Event cash. He spent most of the day on one of ESPN’s featured table winning pots and running up a stack.

“I’m having a blast, bro,” said Flowers after the day’s fourth level. “We’re just chilling, having a great time. I’m at over 1.2 [million] right now. I’m running really good, I had a lot of really good hands, had a couple of guys try and bluff me off … I’ve just been running good and it feels like it’s meant to be.”

If it’s meant to be, and the Poughkeepsie, New York native takes home the $8.8 million first-place money, it will impact more than just the lives of Flowers’ immediate friends and family. His father started a non-profit organization to help the less fortunate in the city of Poughkeepsie.

After the elder Flowers passed away three years ago, Frankie took the reigns of the operation, putting forth a lot of time and money into helping the local community.

“He started a foundation, John Flowers events, which he runs through family services in Poughkeepsie,” said the 45-year-old. “It’s a non-profit organization. We don’t take anything out. Anything that is donated, we put all of it into all of the events. So, we don’t take any money out of the account. For anything. We don’t get paid.”

Flowers has a long poker resume with over $549,000 in career earnings. He played in the WSOP Main Event several times since his first appearance in 2001, but was snake bit for most of his time, citing some bad luck as a key contributor for his lack of success in the Main Event.

With only a handful of other cashes in his WSOP career, Flowers was prophesizing that this was his year. With a deep run in the Monster Stack just a few weeks ago, a 19th place finish for $35,819, he’s on the right track coming into the year’s biggest event.

“I plan on bringing home at least a million,” said Flowers. “So, at least a final table. I’ve been predicting this for about six months now and everything is just running perfectly. Just falling into place. I’ve met a lot of really cool people. Even the guys that I’m busting. We are shaking hands and hugging. They say ‘Even if you win, I know it’s going to a good cause.’ They know I do a lot of charity stuff and what not. They aren’t even upset when they lose to me.”

Flowers’ opponents know that he will do good things for others if he finishes this tournament with a big score, but what they don’t know is that his investors will too.

“That’s the one thing I told them. If they invested in me, and you get over $10,000, you have to invest at least 10 percent into a not-for-profit. Something that helps people. My dad has been a great role model and that’s kind of what I want to do.”

Joining Geoum and Flowers at the top of the chip counts are Alexander Wong (1,431,000), Samuel Bernabeu (1,418,000), and Eric Sfez (1,390,000). Two-time bracelet winner Eric Froehlich finished just outside the top 10 stacks with 1,235,000. Phil Ivey, who finished Day 2C near the top of the counts, bagged up 827,000.

Barbara Enright rounded out the top 10 Day 3 stacks with 1,260,000. Enright was the last woman to make the final table of this event when she finished fifth in 1995.

Other notables to make it through the day include Adam Geyer, Ben Yu, Samuel Touil, Chris Moorman, Paul Volpe, Shannon Shorr, Chino Rheem, Jonathan Hilton, Kelly Minkin, Brian Yoon, Brian Altman, Davidi Kitai, James Obst and Taylor Paur.

The returning players will come back on Sunday at 11 a.m. to get cards in the air for Day 4 with many players in the money of the event for the first time. Regardless of whether they are a pro, an amateur or somewhere in between, everybody likes to say that they cashed the Main Event.

Abraham Araya, a three-time WSOP Circuit ring winner, is in the money for the first time and the atmosphere on the bubble was like nothing he ever experienced.

“It’s really amazing,” said Araya. “It’s like playing a Circuit, but the feeling is 100-fold, and the money is also 100-fold. We’ll see tomorrow how I do.”

The Texas native finished the day closer to the bottom of chip counts than the top with his 151,000-chip stack but had much higher hopes for himself at the start of the day, roughly 12 hours earlier.

“It feels really good, but I had big hopes,” said Araya about his cash. “I had big chips today, coming in, and I lost a big pot early. I had a set of aces against five-seven of diamonds. He flopped a straight and I turned a set … It’s still about 30 bigs for tomorrow. I’ll be okay. I’ll give it a shot.”

The night ended with the top 1,182 in the money, but there were 2,786 players returning to start the day at 11 a.m. It was the first time that the 7,874-player field combined after three different Day 1’s and two different Day 2’s.

Jason Mercier, Keith Lehr, Chris Ferguson, Andy Philachack, Matt Berkey, Alex Foxen, David Bach, Anthony Zinno, Chris Hunichen, Joey Couden, Tom Marchese, Erick Lindgren, Andrew Brown, Cary Katz and Phil Hellmuth were among the many notables that busted before the day was completed.

Hellmuth was eliminated in gut-wrenching fashion after getting all in with ace-king against Jans Arends’ ace-nine. The nine came on the river and the 14-time bracelet winner hit the rail in the middle of the day.

Just before the end of the day, the field was whittled down to just 1,184 players and they went hand-for-hand two eliminations from the money with a couple minutes remaining in the last scheduled level of the day. On the second hand of hand-for-hand play, Sam Taylor’s trip aces lost to Chi Chan’s aces full of threes.

That eliminated Taylor in 1,184th place and no time left on the tournament clock. The remaining 1,183 players went on a 20-minute break while the staff raced off the 500 denomination chips. They came back and on the first hand of the next level, Matthew Hopkins got his short stack into the middle with ace-five against Bryce McVay’s ace-queen.

McVay’s ace-queen held up, which eliminated Hopkins on the stone bubble. The entire Amazon room erupted in cheers. Hopkins won’t leave with any cash, but he does receive a complimentary entry into next year’s Main Event.

Day 4 coverage, like previous days, will be streamed on a delay on both ESPN and PokerGO. Fans can tune into ESPN from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. for the first half of the day’s action and switch over to PokerGO for continued coverage.

Top 10 Chip Counts:

1st: In Sun Geoum – 1,696,000
2nd: Frankie Flowers – 1,624,000
3rd: Alexander Wong – 1,431,000
4th: Samuel Bernabeu – 1,418,000
5th: Eric Sfez – 1,390,000
6th: Michael Lavenburg – 1,356,000
7th: Julius Malzanini – 1,292,000
8th: Alexandro Tricarico – 1,289,000
9th: Kaylen Lebaron – 1,284,000
10th: Barbara Enright – 1,260,000

Full Chip Counts
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