There are only three players left in the running for the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event World Championship after the first day of the final table was completed at the Penn and Teller Theatre yesterday.
Either chip leader Jesse Sylvia, the in-form Greg Merson or young gun Jake Balsiger will be crowned Poker World Champion tomorrow.
Merson, who will win the 2012 World Series of Poker player of the year award if he can win the gold bracelet, is the current chip leader with 88.35 million followed by Sylvia with 62.75 million and Balsiger with 46.75 million.
The final three were all responsible for eliminations yesterday.
World Series of Poker bracelet winner Steven Gee was the first player to go, holding pocket eights, when he called an all-in bet from Russell Thomas who showed down a pair of Jacks.
Sylvia and Merson then got in on the action eliminating Robert Salaburu and Michael Esposito in quick succession.
Merson took the chip lead when his Ace-King completely crushed the Ace-Queen of Andras Koroknai who was eliminated in sixth position, ending his hopes of becoming the first Hungarian World Series of Poker Main Event winner.
Jeremy Ausmus had been very quiet throughout the final table and was finally eliminated by Sylvia in fifth place but the family-man was clearly delighted to have taken home $2,155,313.
Balsiger had skillfully maneuvered his short stack into fourth position but he wasn’t planning on stop there.
The twenty-one year-old moved all-in with Ace-King and was surprisingly called by Russell Thomas who was dominated with Ace-Nine.
The board was no help to Thomas and the semi-professional poker player was eliminated in fourth position, taking home $2,851,537.
All three players have the chance to make history when the final table resumes.
Sylvia is aiming to become the first player to convert the chip lead into a Main Event victory since Jonathan Duhamel, Merson can become the 2012 World Series of Poker Player of the Year and complete an incredible 2012 while Balsiger can become the youngest World Champion in World Series of Poker history.
We will keep you posted with all the latest news here at poker.com.
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 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
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