The final table has been set, but the tournament remains on the stone bubble!
After a gruelling day with over 13 hours of poker action, nine players remain, led by Rick Salomon who closed out the night with 23,575,000 chips. None of the finalists have been in this situation before and on Tuesday's Day 3 only one will receive the custom bracelet. Only one will leave as champion. Only one player will take home a jaw-dropping $15,306,668.
On the other side of spectrum, one will go home empty-handed.
The day began with 31 players and just as many hopefuls for a big run in this enormous event. Businessman John Morgan was the first to go, followed by Talal Shakerchi and then Jean-Robert Bellande. The mastermind behind the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, Guy Laliberté, started the day low on chips and did not manage to recover. Laliberté got his money in good with queens against Isaac Haxton's ace-ten of spades but the board gave the latter a full house.
Daniel Cates, David Sands, and the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Greg Merson were knocked out shortly after the field lost Laliberté. Then, Sam Trickett, who had the final-table average only a few hours into the Day 1, was not very fortunate on Day 2. Antonio Esfandiari flopped a straight against Trickett, which knocked him down, and Daniel Negreanu took the remainder of his chips. Trickett busted in a big pot on the river when he moved all in holding pocket aces versus Negreanu's rivered trips.
With 14 players remaining, it was the defending champ who held a big chip lead over his opponents. Esfandiari seemed to be running away with it for a while, but he eventually cooled down. Phil Ivey was the next player to go as the 10-time bracelet winner's best wasn't enough. Ivey grinded a small stack for hours and eventually, when he check-raised the nut flush draw all in, ran into Cary Katz's three of a kind.
Phil Galfond busted in 13th place, as he moved all in drawing dead against Negreanu's flopped flush. Meanwhile on the secondary table, it was Salomon who pulled off an enormous bluff to seize control of the table. Christoph Vogelsang had to adapt his game after the big hand and Salomon cruised to the final table.
Gabe Kaplan, a very well known actor and comedian, put up a great fight, but eventually was knocked out in 12th place when his ace-queen did not improve against Salomon's sixes.
Brandon Steven then doubled up Vogelsang to leave himself with almost no chips before being knocked out in 11th place. Then, with the tournament down to the final two five-handed tables, defending champion Esfandiari was the unfortunate 10th-place finisher when he re-shoved for 5.05 million into Tobias Reinkemeier's ace-jack. Esfandiari turned over ace-five and watched the board ruin his chances of a back-to-back title.
With eight players remaining, it was Reinkemeier who held the lead while Paul Newey struggled to stay alive. On the third hand of the bubble, Newey doubled up holding aces against Reinkemeier's queens. Ten hands later, Seiver doubled through Negreanu.
With that, the night came to a close after 30 hands of bubble play.
The final nine will return on Tuesday at 3 p.m. local time as this tournament will reach its epic conclusion. The bubble will break, dreams will be shattered, and someone will walk away with over $15,306,668 — and you won't want to miss any of it!
PokerNews will be right there with you for every hand of this final table, so stay tuned for all of the action.