It’s been a tense few levels here at PokerStars Korea as the Main Event bubble loomed and players were all sweating a payday. Now the remaining 39 can rest easy as the bubble burst with the elimination of Taro Kimura in 40th place.
The action folded around to Kimura and he pushed all in for 35,000 (less than six big blinds) from the cutoff only to be called by Yutaro Sukegawa in the small blind. The atmosphere was hectic as players from neighbouring tables and railbirds alike all gathered around to see the action unfold as the cards went on their backs.
Kimura was out in front but that quickly changed when the flop landed 10♠5♥3♠ to give Sukegawa top pair. Kimura looked dejected and began shaking his head at the sight of the A♥ turn card. Down to just three outs the deck refused to save Kimura when the 6♥ completed the board to seal his fate on the stone bubble.
Kimura was left licking his wounds and Sukegawa climbed to 228,000 in chips.
A wave of relief and applause swept the tournament floor as the remaining 39 players all guaranteed themselves at least ₩2,860,000 ($2,550). That’s a good start for those still in contention but they’ll all be gunning for that ₩83,130,000 ($74,293) top prize.
The man with the best chance of scooping that up at the moment is Hong Kong’s Justin Chan who’s out in front with 631,000 – more than triple the 203,700 he started the day with. Chan added to his stack following the bubble after finding value from tablemate Shigeho Yoshioka. With the community cards spread 2♥10♦7♠3♥2♠ and a pile of chips already in the middle, Chan fired for 51,000. Yoshioka deliberated momentarily before calling but he couldn’t beat Chan’s A♠10♣.
Chan has a couple of small cashes here in Korea from 2015 but the majority of his $420,869 in live earnings was made in Macau. For his run at this PokerStars Festival Chan has already guaranteed that he’ll add to that this week.
Let’s see if Chan can maintain his lead or if someone will usurp the throne as Day 2 continues here at Paradise City. Players are about to commence a one-hour dinner break but for live coverage when they return you can tune in to our friends over at PokerNews!