The World Series of Poker main event will have a new champion, as the final 692 players guaranteed themselves a profit by lasting past the money bubble on Friday.
Players short on chips stalled and pleaded in hopes of outlasting a few more opponents and seeing a return on their $10,000 buy-in in the no-limit Texas Hold 'em tournament.
Three players were eliminated on the bubble, splitting $18,406 for 693rd place three ways and drawing a high card for a free seat to the event next year.
Zhen Cai of Lake Worth, Florida, won the seat after being eliminated with pocket queens to an opponent with pocket aces. The cash game player who went to the University of Florida said his goal was simply to cash after coming into the day's session short on chips.
''The entire day, I've been telling the table I'm only getting it in with aces, but with less than six big blinds and queens I just put it in there,'' Cai said.
Huck Seed, the 1996 winner and last main event champion in the field, was eliminated earlier Friday.
The players left are guaranteed at least $18,406 each, with the tournament continuing through the weekend and determining the final nine players in a session starting Monday. The top prize is $10 million, to be awarded during the final table in November.
Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia