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December 20, 2014

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Payouts begin at WSOP Main Event after amateur player bursts money bubble

Ben Lamb, Daryl Jace and Sam Barnhart are the current chip leaders

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Sam Morris

The bubble player, or last player to not win money, Reza Kashani is introduced by Jack Effel during play at the 2011 World Series of Poker Friday, July 15, 2011.

Updated Saturday, July 16, 2011 | 12:59 a.m.

World Series of Poker - Bubble

Darryl Jace is photographed for television while checking his cards during play at the 2011 World Series of Poker Friday, July 15, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Notable End of Day 4 Approximate Chip Counts

  • Players Left: 378
  • Average Chips: 544,841
  • Chip Leader: 2,115,000 (Manoj Viswanathan )
  • Sam Barnhart — 1,925,000
  • Daryl Jace — 1,849,000
  • Ben Lamb — 1,268,000
  • David Bach — 1,142,000
  • Jean Robert-Bellande — 1,134,000
  • Joseph Cheong — 862,000
  • Eli Elezra — 779,000
  • Sorel Mizzi — 642,900
  • Daniel Negreanu — 619,000
  • Allen Cunningham — 582,000
  • Erick Lindgren — 492,000
  • Darus Suharto — 425,000
  • Patrick Poirier — 400,000
  • Todd Brunson — 380,000
  • Peter Jetten — 360,000
  • Freddy Deeb — 258,000
  • John Cernuto — 161,000
  • Ted Forrest — 75,000

The last time a hand involving Joseph Cheong became the center of attention in the poker world was when he erred in the biggest pot in World Series of Poker history at the 2010 Main Event final table.

Cheong got to experience the other side of a head-scratching play Thursday at the Rio during Day 4 of the 2011 Main Event. With only one player left to be eliminated before the tournament reached the money, a Cheong bet prompted 31-year old Reza Kashani to shove all-in with only a slightly below average chip count.

Cheong called with pocket Queens on a flop of King-Queen-9 for three-of-a-kind. Kashani could only show King-Jack as his hole cards for one pair and an inside straight draw.

Cheong’s hand held up, making Kashani the Main Event’s bubble boy — the last remaining player to not reach the money. Payouts at the Main Event started at $19,359.

“I was low, so I took a risk,” Kashani said. “It’s going to come off or I’m going to lose. That’s exactly what I did.”

As WSOP officials and ESPN cameras led Kashani out of the tournament area, players at the remaining 78 tables responded with raucous applause.

After playing for approximately 30 hours over the last week, none of them will leave with empty pockets.

“Because of this man, 693 players are now in the money,” Tournament Director Jack Effel announced to the room. “And because he was such a good sport, we have something for him to take home with him.”

Effel revealed the WSOP would stick with tradition and pay Kashani’s $10,000 entry fee into next year’s Main Event.

“Next year, I’m coming for everyone,” Kashani said. “Everyone be ready.”

Despite not cashing, Kashani defied the odds to make it this far in the Main Event. The Irvine, Calif., flooring company owner learned how to play poker less than a year ago.

He had never competed in a major tournament before this year’s Main Event. When asked why he didn’t start with a smaller WSOP event — perhaps one of many $1,000 no-limit hold’ em competitions offered throughout the summer — Kashani was incredulous.

“If you want to go, you want to go for the big one or don’t go,” Kashani said. “That’s the reason.”

Kashani also defended his play on the final hand by mentioning that his table was one of the toughest in the room. Daryl Jace, who was at the top of the leader board for most of Day 4, sat right next to Cheong.

At the dinner break, Jace was sparring with Las Vegas native Ben Lamb and 2011 WSOP Circuit National Champion Sam Barnhart for the chip lead.

“I’m very proficient in reading people,” Kashani said. “That’s why I came to the game, but sometimes people are lucky. They are luckier than you and you lose.”

Four days remain in the Main Event this summer before nine players emerge to form a final table that will meet in November to play for the $8.7 million first place prize.

Notable professionals safely in the money include Vanessa Rousso, Todd Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren and Eli Elezra. Robert Varkonyi, the 2002 winner, is the only former champion left in the field as Phil Hellmuth met his demise shortly before Kashani busted to send the field into the money.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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  1. tommyguns is right. The winners in Texas Holdem will be those players with throw around the most amount of money without true regard for what they reallyy hold. It is nothing like 7 card stud, where it takes a real skill to play and win.