New Main Event champion guaranteed as Moneymaker, Chan, Qui Nguyen all exit

9 July 2019 (Las Vegas) – Tuesday's Day 1C in the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event began with 1,286 players already guaranteed a payday, as the process of whittling down the remaining field. After a day filled with all-in collisions and slow walks to the cashier, Dawson Creek, British Columbia's Dean Morrone emerged as the end-of-day leader, topping 354 surviving players with 4,980,000 in chips.

Morrone opened up a gap over his nearest competitors in Tuesday's action after starting the day below par with a 365,000, On Day 4, though, as he related, “Everything went right. All the bluffs got through, and all the calls I wanted got called. I got a couple of big donations with guys drawing dead.”

Morrone told the WSOP, “This is absolutely unbelievable. I've been watching this tournament for years and finally got the opportunity, satelliting in online.” The entry fee for the satellite was $100. “It's been everything I ever wanted and more.” It's the largest live event, both in size and buy-in, that Morrone has ever played, and he's never before made it into the money in a WSOP event.

As the night's end approached, an admittedly exhausted Morrone decided to take the last few hands off and instead snap photos of his huge stacks of chips to send to family and friends. “My family is spread out throughout BC and they'e been the most unreal support group. They've sent [lots] of energy at every stage and I can't wait to make them very proud.”

Morrone began to bag his chips, hoping for a good night's rest and more run-good on Wednesday. “So let's do this tomorrow,” he finished.

Morrone will face plenty of talented competition. Not too far behind his Day 4 leading total are Lars Bonding (4,040,000), Michael Messick (3,925,000), Warwick Mirzikinian (3,900,000), and Henrik Hecklen (3,862,000).

A bit further back is a name very familiar to Main Event fans, Joseph Cheong. Poker's “subiime” flirted with the lead through Day 4's early levels, though a very tough table hindered his northwood progress as the night wore on. As usual, Cheong was unflappable. This veteran of deep runs in the Main Event simply said, “It seems the same every year.” But he has noticed a subtle shift in the competition since he made his third-place run in 2010. “The pros got better, but everyone else seems the same.” Cheong bagged 1,958,000, good for 97th position.

Sitting across the table from Cheong and scrapping for survival late on Day 4 was Tennessee's Justin Harvell, a regional Circuit regular who picked up his first ring a few months ago. It's just Harvell's second Main Event, but he's now two for two in making the money. “I'm hanging in there,” he said, and he did grind through to Day 5 with 827,000 in chips. “I'm trying to improve on last year,” he added, though he admitted catching a better table draw – one perhaps without Cheong and several other feared pros – would help his cause. “Isn't that great?” he joked about being at one of the toughest tables in play. “I haven't had great draws all day.”

Yet he still had chips, unlike so many others this day. Not far away, one of the Circuit's most feared pros, six-time ring winner John Holley, was down to his last ten big blinds when he took a moment to speak with the WSOP. “It's been a long grind for me; I've been short the whole time. We made it through some pay jumps and I'm happy to be here. Now I'm looking for a shot for a double-up.” Unfortunately for Holly, that double-up never appeared, and he busted just before chips were bagged for the night.

Oregon's Jacqueline Burkhart was one of the fortunate ones moving on as well. Burkhart built her stack to 1.3 million early on, but stalled there. “I've been hovering around that for about five hours,” she said. “It's just been a lot of small pots, playing my game. Grinding away.” Burkhart is one of just a handful of women left in the Main Event, one of whom isn't Kelly Minkin, the two-time last woman standing, who busted relatively early on Day 4. Burkhart ended Day 4 with 1,503,000.

Then there's Andrew Brokos, who like Morrone, Cheong, Chris Hunichen and many others, ground up one of Day 4's larger stacks. Brokos was already feeling the fatigue, though, as the night's end drew close. Part of that he attributed to choosing the Day 1C starting flight, which results in a more compressed schedule if one goes deep.

Brokos said, “This is the downside of playing Day 1C. You don't get that day off after Day 2.” Brokos has played plenty of Main Events before, of course, so he knew what to expect. “I used to prioritize more a day off at this point. But I feel like I'm experienced enough that I'll be all right. The advantages of playing Day 1C are big enough that it's worth giving up a [rest] day.” Brokos finished with 3,518,000, good for tenth overall.

Three former Main Event champions, Johnny Chan, Chris Moneymaker, and Qui Nguyen, were among Day 4's returning players, yet all three busted on Day 4, thus assuring a new World Championship winner for 2019.

Moneymaker enjoyed a meteoric rise from near elimination on Day 3 to make the money with a comfortable stack, but he ran into trouble on Day 4. Moneymaker's hope for a second Main Event title ended against Ron West, in a hand where Moneymaker had    while West had pocket tens. A     flop meant trouble for Moneymaker, who check-raised all in for about 250,000 but was quickly calle by West and his set of tens. Moneymaker needed a nine or an ace, but neither arrived, and he was out in 687th place.

A short-stacked Chan busted in 560th when he moved in with   , but Eric Froehlich called from the big blind with   . The board ran out         to give Froehlich a straight and dash Chan's hopes of becoming the WSOP's firt three-time Main Event winner.

Nguyen was the last former champ to bust, exiting in 455th place. Moment after doubling up    against an opponent's   , Nguyen caught pocket fives and moved in, hoping for a second straight double. Instead, he ran into pocket sixes, and when no help arrived, a new World Champion for 2019 was assured.

Morrone will face many of the “big pros” he always wanted to play against as Day 5 begins. He finished Day 4 with Todd Brunson on his immediate left, and the many formidable opponents still alive include Corey Burbick, Brian Yoon, Chris Hunichen, Antonio Esfandiari, Dario Sammartino, Olivier Busquet, Jon Turner, Ralph Perry, Jeff Madsen, Michael Lech, Matt Stout, Chance Kornuth, Eric Froehlich, Galen Hall, Bart Lybaert, Alex Foxen, Allen Kessler, Todd Witteles, Scott Bohlman, Mike Matasow, Matt Glantz, and many others.

Retired NFL star Richard Seymour returns on Day 5 as well, finishing Tuesday's play with a 35th-place, 2,750,000 stack.

Every player who busted on Day 4 was already guaranteed a $15,000 payday, though that paled in comparison to the $10 million that awaits someone among the remaining 354 players.

In chronological order, the many prominent players that busted on Day 4 also included Jeff Lisandro, Michael Gathy, Matthew Higgins, Scott Davies, Mike McDonald, Ben Zamani, Jonathan Tamayo, Steve Zolotow, Kevin Pollak, Neil Blumenfield, Gary Benson, Mike Wattel, Harrison Gimbel, Tony Ma, Noah Schwartz, Justin Liberto, Jarod Minghini, James Henson, TK Miles, Thomas Muehloecker, Cliff Josephy, David Levi, Ryan Leng, Paul Volpe, Anton Morgenstern, Andrey Zaichenko, Gus Hansen, Eric Baldwin, Dan Heimiller, Kathy Liebert, Allen Cunningham, Taylor Paur, Davidi Kitai, Keith Lehr, Kelly Minkin, Steve Gross, Andres Korn, Joey Couden, Josh Pollock, Eoghan O'Dea, Leif Force, Josh Arieh, Barny Boatman, Erik Cajelais, Simon Deadman, Day 1 overall leader Bryan Campanello, John Holley, Jean-Robert Bellande, and Scott Lazar.

Day 5 action begins at noon on Wednesday.

Top Ten Day 4 Chip Counts:

1st: Dean Morrone – 4,980,000
2nd: Lars Bonding – 4,040,000
3rd: Michael Messick – 3,925,000
4th: Warwick Mirzikinian – 3,900,000
5th: Henrik Hecklen – 3,862,000
6th: Mihai Manole – 3,781,000
7th: Robert Heidorn – 3,700,000
8th: Sean Mills – 3,692,000
9th: Christopher Wynkoop – 3,563,700
10th: Andrew Brokos – 3,518,000

Complete chip counts for Day 4 survivors
Live updates from Day 4 action