PCA: Bubble breaks

The tournament board read 132. The rail--a real rail this time, constructed during the dinner break--was thick with railbirds and family members. In the balance hung more than $10,000. The person who placed 130th would make $10,700. The player who finished 131st would get nothing.

So, with 132 players remaining, tournament director Mike Ward announced play would go hand-for-hand. The room reflected tension and $10,000 beads of sweat.

A bubble's reflection

The rail

Most eyes were on a man named Curt. He only had $600 in chips and the antes were eating him alive. I stepped away for two seconds. When I returned, Curt had his final $200 in chips in the middle. The button put in a raise, and to many people's surprise, both blinds called. The flop came out Q88. The blinds checked to the button, who, again to everybody's surprise, bet out. The small blind bailed out, but the big blind called. The turn came as a seven. This time the surpise came from the big blind, Jordan Berkowitz, who bet out. Now, the button came over the top all in. Berkowitz thought for a few moments before calling all in. The hands...

Curt: KK (Kings up)
Berkowitz: 77 (sevens full of eights)
Button: QQ (queens full of eights)

And just like that, the bubble broke.


Jordan Berkowitz

The room exploded in cheers and the smiles rose on many a face. My two favorite smiles came from two men who both started the day with $8000 or less. Congrats to everybdy in the money. I'm headed back to the fray.

James Burkhammer started the day with $7000 in chips. At dinner tonight he told me qualified with nothing but Frequent Player Points and is on his first vacation in a decade.

Joe Marcal started with $8000 in chips and now has more than $100,000. He qualified in a $33 rebuy event