October 9 Spotlight: Jake Balsiger

by | Published: Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Arizona State University Senior Jake Balsiger is living the dream. At just 21 years of age and at his first ever World Series of Poker he has made the final table of the Main Event. He now has an opportunity to become the youngest Main Event Champion in the history of poker.

Balsiger has already achieved way beyond the modest expectations he had entering the Main Event.

“I entered the Main Event expecting to hopefully get some kind of cash. I end up at the final table. Unbelievable,” Balsiger said in an interview with WSOP shortly after securing his place at the final table.

The American youngster has only been playing poker seriously for a short time but has harvested ambitions to play in the Main Event since childhood.

“I’ve wanted to play since I was 13 years old, watching it on TV. This is my first one and it’s totally surreal,” Balsiger said.

The early stages of Balsiger’s poker career were a long way away from the glitz and glamour of the World Series.

“I started out grinding low stakes online, eking out a very meager living, but I was happy to not have a real job. Then when I started playing live, which I really liked because I could take as long as I wanted and other things which suited me a lot better,” Balsiger said.

With Balsiger guaranteed a payday of at least $754,798 he doesn’t have to worry about getting a ‘real job’ anytime soon.

“I won’t have to worry about money for a long time I would say, hopefully for the rest of my life.  I guess I can do whatever I want. This is pretty nice,” Balsiger said.

Balsiger will overtake Joe Cada as the youngest Main Event Champion in the history of the World Series if he can outlast Jesse Sylvia,Greg Merson and six others to win the title.

But the prospect of this has not even sunk in for Balsiger; who is astonished by his achievement thus far.

“The only way I can describe it is that it’s like a dream, I don’t feel like it’s really happening. I feel like I’m going to wake up tomorrow and… you know it’s just hard to believe that I’m standing here as one of the October Nine.” Balsiger said.

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