From a massive field of 585 entries we dwindled down to a point where short stacks got very tense and premium cards were prayed for to avoid elimination- the bubble stage. And the tournament directors didn’t make it easy on their emotions either as the game ritually got slow-mo’d down to hand-for-hand and all eyes and ears drifted to tables where there were shoves that were called.
Leading up to the bubble stage, there was a steady drop of players going from 85 to the bubble. Within this time, Norwegian player Rolf Galasen fell out of the running despite coming in to day 2 as third in chips. Galasen’s jacks ran into Shih Ciao Wang’s aces.
Another player whose day also ended without a payout was Sam Ng from Malaysia. Ng was a couple of tables beside us so we couldn’t avoid his animated expressions during showdowns. Ng had this interesting lucky token, sort of like a mystical lady on a stand which protected him for quite some time but it seemed to have run short today.
Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang took his leave of the field as well. Huang entered the day with a very respectable big stack but couldn’t hold on it and was eliminated with his suited ace-king losing to jacks. Other casualties near the bubble were Dong Il Kim, the big chip leader entering the day and Sam Razavi.
Gerald Casey was put in the tanker when Ying Lin Chua put him all in on a low board with with two hearts. Casey took nearly 5 minutes then called. He had kings and Chua had a flush draw. No more hearts appeared and Casey expelled a big sigh of relief.
With 73 players left in the Main Event, which meant only one player to go before the celebration of reaching the money, we noticed there were quite a number of below average and short stacks sitting at every table. Some of them got it all in and were glad to double up such as Jiaxiu Wang who woke up with kings and dominated Wai Lun Ng’s jacks the whole way. Mike Kim couldn’t put away Chen-An Lin whose queens held strong against his ace-ten. Then there was Asley Chia-Hsien Tay placing his tournament life on the line while defending his big blind against Derrick Hernandez who shoved on the small blind. Tay survived and doubled up with his ace-queen. But then….
As soon as players returned form a short break, the bubble quickly burst with Hsien Ching Feng busting out at the hands of Lin who had queens once again. Feng’s nines were a bust the whole way with Lin seeing a queen on the window and further improving to a full house. With Feng’s departure, everyone sat comfortably back in their seats glad to be assured additional cash coming to their pockets.