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Top Ten Moments of the 2012 WSOP Main Event: The Bubble Boys and Selbst's Rivered Flush

Vanessa Selbst

With the final table of the 2012 World Series of Poker just five days away, we’ve decided to give you the top-10 moments of the tournament thus far. Some of these moments detail the rise and fall of chip leaders, while others commemorate deep runs, crazy hands, and unfamiliar scenarios at the WSOP.

Let’s start the list with number 10, which details a four-player fraternity that may never be duplicated.

10. The Bubble Boys

The bubble of the WSOP Main Event is like nothing else in poker. For players who won their entry via a satellite or are taking a shot in their first $10,000 buy-in event, the barrier between them and a $19,227 min-cash looms large. To top it off, this year’s money bubble occurred on Friday the 13th of July, and the top 666 players were scheduled to make money.

Spooky right?

Well, to add to the madness, there were four all-in-and-calls during the first hand of hand-for-hand play, resulting in four eliminations:

Bubble Elimination #1: Steve Rosen open-shoved for his last 85,000 from under the gun. The action folded to Gwennael Grandmougin, who called out of the small blind. The big blind released, and the hands were tabled.

Rosen: {k-Spades}{k-Clubs}
Grandmougin: {a-Spades}{a-Clubs}

"I folded an ace," Alexander Beck said while the players were waiting for the cameras.

"This is a sick sweat," someone added.

Finally, when all other hands were completed, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel came over, and the board ran out {7-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}{q-Hearts}.

Bubble Elimination #2: Roberto Riva raised to 11,000 under the gun only to have Desmond Portano three-bet to 32,500 from middle position. When action folded back to Riva, he simply moved all in and put the pressure in Portano who began the hand with about 160,000. The latter tanked for a long time, and Riva eventually called the clock. At the end of it, Portano called off:

Portano: {K-Spades}{K-Clubs}
Riva: {5-Clubs}{5-Hearts}

Portano was ahead, but had to wait for the ESPN cameras before the board would be run out. It was a long wait, and made all the more excruciating when the flop fell {9-Spades}{6-Hearts}{5-Spades} to give Riva a set. The {Q-Spades} turn gave Portano a flush draw, but the {A-Diamonds} blanked and he became one of 2012 Main Event bubble boys.

Bubble Elimination #3: Dane Lomas was one of the players looking to double up during hand-for-hand play, being all in holding {a-Diamonds}{a-Spades} against the {a-Clubs}{k-Clubs} of Devin Looney.

When play was paused, Lomas said, "I'm gonna lose."

Minutes passed before the dealer spread out a {k-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}{7-Clubs} flop. Lomas looked shattered and with a {2-Spades} on the turn and a {j-Diamonds} on the river, it was all over.

Bubble Elimination #4: Another of the all-in-and-a-call situations happened over in the Purple section, involving Christina Lindley and David Kelley. Lindley had {A-Hearts}{A-Diamonds} and Kelley {Q-Diamonds}{Q-Hearts}. When we first arrived at the table, we thought perhaps Lindley was the one at risk as she started the day on a short stack. But, in fact, she had 69,000 to start the hand while Kelley had 67,000, meaning he was the one in danger.

After the long wait — lasting nearly 10 minutes — the flop was finally dealt, coming out {A-Clubs}{2-Spades}{10-Hearts} to give Lindley a set. The {6-Clubs} then arrived on the turn, making the {7-Spades} no matter.

Lindley has made it safely to the money, while Kelley became one of the four to tie for 666th.

After all the eliminations, Tournament Director Jack Effel took all the bubble boys to the stage and announced they would all be splitting 666th-place money ($19,227) and take home $4,806.75 each; in addition, all four men would participate in a four-handed single-table tournament to play for a $10,000 seat in the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event.

9. Vanessa Selbst is “The Worst of All Time”

Prior to 2012, Vanessa Selbst’s deepest run in the Main Event was a 476th-place finish in 2010. This year, she cracked the top 100, finishing in 73rd place with thanks to this fortunate hand:

We caught up with the action to see three players looking down at a board of {K-Clubs}{Q-Clubs}{4-Diamonds}{9-Spades} and over 70,000 chips already in the pot.

The small blind checked and Vanessa Selbst checked, as well. Felipe Morbiducci fired out a bet of 50,000 and the small blind got out of the way. Action was now on Selbst who sat riffling chips and staring at the board.

Selbst announced that she was all-in and Morbiducci announced a call at lightning speed, tabling {4-Spades}{4-Hearts} for a flopped set. Selbst tabled {10-Clubs}{8-Clubs} for a flush draw and a gut-shot straight draw. When Selbst saw her opponent's hand, she stood up from the table and grabbed her bag.

"I might be the worst of all time," Selbst said. "Good game guys."

The ESPN camera crews rushed over and every person walking by the rail stopped to see what all of the commotion was about.

"Nice call, man," Selbst said to her opponent while she waited to learn her fate.

Finally, the dealer pounded the table and flipped over the river card.

The {7-Clubs}.

Morbiducci shot up from his seat and walked to his supporters on the rail while Selbst let out a heavy sigh and sat down. Morbiducci sat down in time to watch a vast majority of his stack moved across the table toward Selbst. The two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner is now sitting on a stack of 540,000.

Selbst immediately took to Twitter to inform her followers of her huge double up:

Vanessa SelbstWow just sucked out in huuuuge pot. Tried to get some1 to fold a set lol on KQcc49 for all of it. He SNAPPED 44 but my T8cc gets there. 540k

Tune in Thursday for two more of the top-10 moments from the 2012 WSOP Main Event.

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