Poker Omnibus W50P

Home Up

WSOP Main Event Final Table Bubble Boys

In the WSOP Main Event the money bubble is a significant occasion for a greater number players, but the final table bubble is far more momentous for the ten players involved. The players who survive the cut earn not only a much larger absolute pay jump but also a place in poker history.

The unfortunate players who just missed the Main Event final table since 2001, when it expanded from six players to nine, are nevertheless an impressive group, including a Main Event champion (Carlos Mortensen) and a 10-time bracelet winner (Phil ivey):

Main Event Final Table Bubble Boys Since 2001

YearBubble BoyPrizeNotes
2001Arturo Diaz$63,940The Californian edged out Daniel Negreanu, who finished 11th for the same prize.
2002Don Barton$70,000The Nevadan had finished 15th for $55,945 the previous year.
2003Phil Ivey$82,700The living legend went on to reach the Main Event final table in 2009, finishing 7th for $1,404,014.
2004Marcel Luske$373,000The Flying Dutchman had finished 14th for $65,000 the previous year.
2005Ayhan Alsancak$600,000The Swede had finished 71st for $30,000 the previous year.
2006Fred Goldberg$1,154,527The Floridian went on to capture a bracelet in the $1,500 Mixed Hold 'Em event the next year.
2007Steve Garfinkle$476,926The Washingtonian edged out Scotty Nguyen, who finished 11th for the same prize.
2008Dean Hamrick$591,869The Michigander became the first November Nine bubble boy but went on to win a bracelet in a $1,500 No Limit Hold 'Em event in 2010.
2009Jordan Smith$896,730The Texan had just won a bracelet in a $2,000 No Limit Hold 'Em event three weeks earlier.
2010Brandon Steven$635,011The Kansas won an almost identical prize ($621,180) for placing 7th in the 2013 One Drop High Roller.
2011John Hewitt$607,882The Californian only has one other WSOP cash, and it was four weeks earlier.
2012Gaelle Baumann$590,442The Frenchwoman edged out Elisabeth Hille, the other woman in the final eleven.
2013Carlos Mortensen$573,204The 2001 Main Event Champion has also won a $5,000 Limit Hold 'Em event in 2003 and three WPT titles.
2014Luis Velador$565,193The Californian won bracelets in a $1,500 No Limit Hold 'Em event in 2008 and a $2,500 Pot Limit Hold 'Em/Omaha event in 2010.
2015Alexander Turyansky$756,897The German was knocked out when his A♣K♥ was outraced by chip leader Joe McKeehen's Q♥Q♣. Negreanu finished 11th again.
2016Josh Weiss$650,000The American was very short when the unofficial final table began; he ultimately shoved A♦8♣ with so few chips that both blinds called. Gordon Vayo (Q♥7♠) and Michael Ruane (J♦5♥) checked it down to eliminate Weiss on a J♠7♥3♥5♣4♣ board.
2017Michael Ruane$825,001The New Jersey pro narrowly missed a second consecutive final table when his Ace-King lost a race to Bryan Piccioli's Tens before Damian Salas put him away with Jacks against Ace-Six two hands later.
2018Yueqi Zhu$850,025The Californian, also known as Rich, was fairly short-stacked but in fifth place when he picked up pocket Kings, only to run into Nicholas Manion's pocket Aces. Worse still, Antoine Labat had the other two Kings! Zhu had won the Mixed $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better earlier in the summer.
2019Robert Heidorn$800,000The German shoved his short stack from middle position holding K♥Q♥ only to get looked up by Alex Livingston's 8♥8♦ and smacked by the 9♣8♣7♠ flop (J♦ turn, 5♣ river).
2020Anthony Spinella [U.S.] & Thomas Macdonald [International]$77,832 & $50,131With the Main Event split into U.S. and International sections, there were two bubble boys. Spinella's K♦J♣ couldn't catch Shawn Stroke's A♠8♣, while Macdonald's A♥4♥ was upended by Manuel Ruivo's K♥3♥.
2021Demo Kiriopoulos$585,000The Canadian shoved with A♠3♠ and was called by Koray Aldemir, who flopped a Queen to eliminate Kiriopoulos (final board: Q♠9♠5♥7♥J♣).
2022Asher Coniff$675,000The 34-year-old American pro moved all-in with TT from and was racing Michael Duek AK. The flop came all Kings, and Coniff was gone before the turn.