Posts Tagged ‘2012 WSOP’

Top Five Poker Players of 2012

by | Published: Friday, January 4th, 2013

2012 was truly an incredible year for poker. After Black Friday tarnished 2011 for the Poker world it was good to see Poker get back into the headlines for the right reasons in 2012. The Big One For One Drop tournament, the incredible final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event and the reopening of Full Tilt Poker were some of the biggest stories of the year. However, the question remains who were the best poker players in 2012? We have come up with a list of five players who we believe were a cut above the rest in 2012.

5. Dan Smith

Dan Smith truly had a breakout year in 2012. He started the year by defeating a star-studded field in the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge which was only a sign of things to come for the popular American. Smith went on to dominate the Monte-Carlo Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final and had a consistent World Series of Poker without winning a bracelet. He continued his winning ways by finishing the year with two more European Poker Tour victories. Smith truly had an incredible year and the only thing stopping him from being higher on this list was his failure to win a World Series of Poker bracelet.

4. Marvin Rettenmaier

Marvin Rettenmaier made history in 2012 by becoming the first player in history to win back to back World Poker Tour events. Rettenmaier scored the biggest win of his career by taking home $1,196,858 in the World Poker Tour $25,000 Championship and backed it up with victory in the WPT Merit Cyprus Classic $4,000 Main Event. As well as a deep run in the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event he finished the year with victory at the European Poker Tour Prague Event. The incredible achievement of winning back to back tournaments of such size puts Rettenmaier just above Smith on our list.

3. Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth had a terrific 2011 but he took his game to a whole new level in 2012. The ‘Poker Brat’ finally won his elusive 12th World Series of Poker bracelet in the $2,500 Seven Card Razz event and went on to record good results in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E and $1 million Big One For One Drop events. But Hellmuth wasn’t finished there. He headed across the Atlantic for the World Series of Poker Europe and absolutely dominated the field in the Main Event to take home his 13th bracelet and become the first player to win the main event of both World Series events. It was a truly banner year for a player who seems to keep on getting better.

2. Antonio Esfandiari

With one fell swoop Antonio Esfandiari became the most successful player in the history of tournament poker. The Big One For One Drop tournament was the biggest in poker history with a $1 million buy-in and featured a small but tough field of professional poker players and wealthy businessmen. Esfandiari showed just how good he really is by winning the tournament and taking home the incredible prize of $ 18,346,673. That wasn’t his only successes in 2012 as “The Magician” went on to claim another World Series of Poker bracelet at the WSOP Europe. While Esfandiari didn’t win his as many tournaments as those below him on the list his victory in the Big One For One Drop tournament will go down as one of the most memorable in poker history and makes him worthy of this spot on the list.

1. Greg Merson

Greg Merson dominated the 2012 World Series of Poker like no other. He started the Series by winning his first bracelet as well as the biggest payday in his tournament poker career. Having already had a successful World Series Merson entered the Main Event despite stating that he doesn’t like tournament poker. Merson not only went on to claim the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event World Championship he also stole the title of World Series of Poker Player of the Year away from Hellmuth. Amazingly, just over a year ago Merson was battling a drug addiction that appeared as though it might derail not only his poker career but his life. Thankfully, Merson got his career and his life back on track and is an extremely deserving winner of our player of the year award.

Could 2013 be your year?

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Merson Wins 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event

by | Published: Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Greg Merson has survived several bad beats and over eleven hours of three-handed play to win the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event.

The American pro is the first player to win a preliminary bracelet and the Main Event since Chris Ferguson in 2000 and unseats Phil Hellmuth to win the 2012 World Series of Poker Player of the Year Award.

Merson proved his mental toughness by coming back from one of the worst beats in the entire tournament after it appeared like he had the tournament as good as won.

The twenty-four-year-old called an all-in bet from Jesse Sylvia and had Sylvia’s Ace-King dominated by his pocket kings.

Sylvia needed an Ace to keep his World Series dream alive but improved his chances by flopping a wheel draw.

He received no help on the turn but couldn’t believe his luck when he hit a four on the river to make his straight.

It was another several hours before the final three finally became a final two.

Young gun Jake Balsiger finally ran out of luck when his shove with Queen-Ten was called by Merson with King-Queen.

Three sixes on the flop gave Balsiger a chance at a chop but, for once, the best hand held up.

After the eleven hour three-handed battle the heads-up duel between Sylvia and Merson was a bit anti-climactic.

Merson grinded down Sylvia and really applied the pressure by moving all-in after a Sylvia three-bet.

Sylvia called but was disappointed to see his Queen-Jack was behind Merson’s King-Five.

Sylvia received no help on the board and Merson finally secured the bracelet, title of World Champion and $8,531,853 first place prizemoney.

Merson admitted in a post-tournament interview that he was filled with relief when the final card hit and he had finally wrapped up the title.

“I felt a lot of relief. I knew going into the heads-up match that I was going to try and apply as much pressure as possible from the beginning and if I got a two to one chip lead I was going to take a shot at winning the tournament,” Merson said.

It was a magnificent comeback for Merson who under a year ago was battling a serious drug addiction.

“I knew I was going to turn everything around and be fine but I couldn’t imagine having a ridiculous year like this,” he said.

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2012 World Series of Poker Main Event – Final Table

by | Published: Monday, October 29th, 2012

We are now only two sleeps away from the highly anticipated 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event final table. During the last few months we have given you a chance to get to know the various members of the October 9 but today we will be analyzing their preparation for the life-changing event and accessing their chances of taking home the coveted bracelet and the $8,527,982 first place prize.

Jesse Sylvia (Chip Leader with 43,875,000)

Jesse Sylvia has the pressure of being the chip leader heading into the final table and is aiming to become just the third player since 2005 to convert the chip lead going into the final table into a Main Event victory.

Sylvia has spent the downtime before the final table relaxing with family and friends as well as playing a few tournaments and watching a lot of videos to prepare for the event.

As the chip-leader Sylvia should make a pretty deep run in the final table but will be good enough to convert this into a win? Sylvia has limited big event final table experience so we expect him to fall just short of claiming his first ever major tournament victory.

Our Prediction: 3rd

Andras Koroknai (2nd in chips with 29,375,000)

The only non-American at the final table will have all of Europe behind him as he aims to become the first Hungarian to win the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Koroknai has kept a low profile during the break so not much is known about what he has done to prepare for the final table.

Koroknai is an experienced player on the live tournament scene and proved that he has the ability to win a big tournament by claiming the 2010 World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic. The Hungarian is one of the leading contenders to claim the World Championship.

Our Prediction: 2nd

Greg Merson

Greg Merson has had a stellar 2012 and will win the World Series of Poker Player of the year award if he is successful this week.

Merson has been committed to continuing his normal routine during the break, which mostly includes cash games, but did play several events at the World Series of Poker Europe.

Merson is the in-form player heading into the final table having already won a bracelet, in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em six-handed event, at this year’s World Series. However, because of this we believe that the other players at the final table will have analyzed Merson’s game extensively and he will be the main target at the table.

Our Prediction:  4th

Russell Thomas (4th in chips with 24,800,000)

Russell Thomas is only a part-time poker player but is still incredibly well known on the professional tour after cashing in the World Series on three occasions in the last few years.

Thomas has easily had the best preparation for the final table. He hired World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner Jason Somerville as a coach who put him through a three-month training program that included several simulations of the final table.

Thomas is an extremely talented player who has really taken advantage of the break between the tournament proper and the final table. He is our pick to go all the way and win the 2012 World Series of Poker.

Our Prediction: 1st

Steven Gee (5th in chips with 16,860,000)

Steven Gee heads into the final table with easily the most poker experience having started playing seriously in the 1970s.

Gee has been watching the ESPN coverage of the final table and studying the play of each October 9 opponents extremely closely.

Gee’s biggest asset is his World Series Of Poker final table experience having won a bracelet, in the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event, at the 2010 World Series of Poker. If he can get a bit of luck Gee is definitely a chance to win a second bracelet.

Our Prediction: 6th

Michael Esposito (6th in chips with 16,260,000)

Michael Esposito has cashed in the World Series of Poker on three occasions but this will easily be his biggest cash of all.

The forty-four-year-old admitted that he hasn’t done much preparation and will be relying on his poker experience during the final table.

Esposito appears happy to have made it this far and it’s tough to see him making a deep run.

Our Prediction: 8th

Robert Salaburu (7th in chips with 15,155,000)

Robert Salaburu has been a professional poker player for all of his adult life but has more experience in cash games than live poker tournaments.

Salaburu has spent the break preparing for the final table by playing as many live poker tournaments as possible but also enjoyed a relaxing European vacation.

Salaburu is a dark horse who probably has the best chance of any of the short stacks to make a deep run in the tournament. If he can double up early all other players will need to watch out.

Our Prediction: 5th

Jacob Balsiger (8th in chips with 13,115,000)

The twenty-one-year-old is aiming to become the youngest World Series of Poker Main Event winner in history.

Balsiger has hired Mike McDonald as his coach and the pair have been working closely in the last month.

We expect Balsiger to come out firing and that could get him into some early trouble.

Our Prediction: 9th

Jeremy Ausmus (9th in chips with 9,805,000)

Jeremy Ausmus heads into the final table with the short stack and will need a bit of luck if he is going to become World Champion.

The family-man has watched his opposition during the World Series telecast but has stuck to his regular routine.

Ausmus is a patient enough player to realize that he still has enough chips to work with. We don’t think he will win but he probably won’t be the first player out either.

Our Prediction: 7th

You can follow all the World Series of Poker action at poker.com.

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Esfandiari Wins World Series of Poker Europe Gold Bracelet

by | Published: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Antonio Esfandiari has continued his stellar form in 2012 with victory in the World Series of Poker Europe €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em.

The Magician outlasted a field of 626 players to walk away with the first place prize of €126,207 and become just the third player to win a World Series of Poker and World Series of Poker Europe event in the same year.

The tournament was the second largest in the history of the World Series of Poker Europe.

Esfandiari began the final day with the second highest chip stack but by the time the field was down to the final table he had taken the chip lead.

He was joined at the final table by five Frenchmen who were all aiming to become the France’s first ever World Series of Poker Europe bracelet winner.

The thirty-three year old professional never lost the chip lead and won the tournament when his Ace-Eight held up against McLean Karr’s Queen-Ten.

The win moved Esfandiari to the top of the World Series of Poker player of the year race but his lead is expected to be short lived as Greg Merson is likely to reclaim the top spot depending on his finish in October’s World Series of Poker Main Event final table.

Esfandiari is now considered one of the world’s best poker players.

He confirmed his position among the elite of the poker world with his incredible performance in the Big One for One Drop event at this year’s World Series of Poker.

The Magician won the high stakes event, claiming a prize of $18 million that put him at the top of the all-time poker tournament money list.

The World Series of Poker Europe continues with the Pot-Limit Omaha event, with a final table containing Michael Mizrachi, Joe Hachem and Jason Mercier, to be concluded tonight.

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October 9 Spotlight: Andras Koroknai

by | Published: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Andras Koroknai will be the only non-American at the final table for the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event.

The Hungarian will fly the flag for all European poker players and is sure to receive loud and boisterous support from his fellow Hungarians, who supported him all the way through the main event.

“It was an amazing experience and feeling. I was really thankful that they were there. Hungarians are the best fans and supporters,” Koroknai said.

Koroknai gave his supporters a great deal to cheer about, eliminating both the 11th and 10th place finishers in the tournament.

However, he was an unpopular figure for some as he crushed the hopes of Elisabeth Hille and Gaelle Baumann, who were both aiming to become the first female poker players to make the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event.

But Koroknai had no sympathy for either player.

“When I sit down at the table, I don’t care if it’s a male or female player, everybody is equal and everybody wants to win. Everybody is each other’s opponents. There is no friendship at the poker table,” the Hungarian said.

Koroknai considers himself extremely lucky, not just to be a member of the October 9, but to be alive at all.

He was badly injured in a moped action in Greece and only avoided falling down a cliff thanks to a well-placed street sign.

But it was this accident that led Koroknai to a professional poker career.

“I was injured and it affected my soul and body and I was really depressed with life and needed to find something else to do,” Koroknai said.

“For the first part of my first year playing poker, I did not win any tournaments, and after that I started to win smaller tournaments.”

Koroknai is planning to spend his time before the final table playing poker throughout Europe and working on his English.

He currently has the second highest chip stack, behind Jesse Sylvia, and is priced at $5.25 to win the event.

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