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August 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm #25668Danish ShaikhMember
Even though there are no real big names in this year’s WSOP finale, the Final Table is relatively balanced and basically each one of the nine players has a real chance of winning the $8,527,982 first prize and the coveted golden bracelet. They are not going to make it easy for each other, either, so let us take a look at the people in contest for the championship title.
Jesse Sylvia – Stack: 43,875,000
Total live tournament winnings: $23,777
Final Table chipleader Jesse Sylvia was born in the state of Massachusetts. A cash game player under the screen name ‘4JesseJames4’, he has been observed at the PokerStars high stakes tables. He was introduced to poker as a teenager and he lost several $50 deposits before he decided to study the theories behind poker instead of playing it for a while.
Collecting every possible book on poker, he managed to improve his game quickly and today he is an 888Poker sponsored pro.
He moved to Las Vegas, where he is considered a live regular today. Sylvia claims he usually plays 40-60 hours a week. No major MTT performance of his has been recorded yet, his best result being a 2nd finish in the 2008 Mega Stack Series $200 NLHE event for $15,078.
AndrÃ¡s Koroknai – Stack: 29,375,000
Total live tournament winnings: $1,841,013
AndrÃ¡s Koroknai, the only international player at the final table, was born in Debrecen, Hungary. He is the most successful player among the October Nine; while most of his opponents, with the exception of Greg Merson, are bound to earn the biggest prize of their career so far, regardless of the place they finish in, the Hungarian must finish at least in the 5th position to best his record of $1,788,040 for his victory in the 2010 WPT LAPC event.
In 2010, Koroknai also won the Hungarian Championship (BPO) for $97,890; however, this feature is not recorded by the Hendon Mob site, therefore it is not included in his official total winnings.
Despite his performance in MTTs, he is primarily a cash game player of the NL400 to NL2,000 stakes.
Greg Merson – Stack: 28,725,000
Total live tournament winnings: $1,319,704
Greg ‘gregy20723’ Merson’s primary field are the online tables, as opposed to Sylvia, which means he had to move to Toronto, Canada post-Black Friday. As far as live games are concerned, this year’s WSOP is without doubt Merson’s great breakthrough: he won a bracelet in the $10,000 NLHE – Six Handed event for $1,136,197 and finished the $2,500 NLHE – Four Handed tournament as the final table bubble boy for $70,280.
As a matter of fact, he, too, is primarily a cash game player, on the PokerStars high stakes tables, among others.
Merson was very close to being eliminated on Main Event Day 5, loosing with second pair – nut flush draw against Fabrizio Gonzales’ three of a kind and being left with only a couple of blinds. In a few hands, however, he doubled up twice and soon he was around average stack again.
“I knew I needed to get a little lucky and double up once or twice, but after that, I thought it was entirely possible that I could run it back up” – Merson commented later.
Russell Thomas – Stack: 24,800,000
Total live tournament winnings: $126,796
Russell Thomas is an amateur poker player, working as an actuarial economist, which means he deals with probability and statistics. That can come in handy in poker, indeed. Because of his convincing play in the earlier event days, many consider the young player a secret favourite.
Two years ago, Thomas participated in his first WSOP and made it to the final table in the $1.500 NLHE Six-Handed event and finished 5th for $84,256. In 2011, he got two ITM finishes but did not make it to any final tables. Now, he did all right.
Steven Gee – Stack: 16,860,000
Total live tournament winnings: $498,422
Steven Gee is an experienced live cash game player, who went pro in the 1970s. He used to play lowball as his primary source of income. Later, he also applied for a civil job and started working as a project manager, continuing grinding as a hobby. In 2010, he became a WSOP champion, taking down one of the $1,000 NLHE events for $472,479. Since 2007, he has been playing poker as a primary occupation once again, mostly in the Commerce Casino.
Michael Esposito – Stack: 16,260,000
Total live tournament winnings: $172,806
Another experienced player, he has been participating in live tournaments since 2002. First, he played 7 Card Stud but recently he has been favouring NLHE tourneys in the WSOPC and Mega Stack Series. He has had several 5-digit winnings but no major success prior to his WSOP Main Event Final Table entry this year.
During the event, he has had a prolonged shortstack session but he made it to the top tier on Day 4. On Day 7, he secured his position at the final table in a flip against Daniel Strelitz, his pocket tens holding up against the AK for a 12-million pot.
Robert Salaburu – Stack: 15,155,000
Total live tournament winnings: $17,000
Robert ‘Treadinwater’ Salaburu began playing poker at the age of 16 and the game provided his income during his college years. Soon he earned enough to abandon school and he went professional. Early in his career, he played cash games online but he switched to MTTs later. Following Black Friday, he started playing live, in addition to getting a job at a car shop.
Salaburu has no major live tournament results but he is a successful online player: he won the $320 Wednesday 1/4 Million ($39,232), finished 2nd in the $215 Sunday Second Chance ($34,689) and 4th in the $1,050 Super Tuesday ($29,400).
James Balsiger– Stack: 13,115,000
Total live tournament winnings: $3,884
James Balsiger is the youngest player among the October Nine. Considering his age, it is no wonder this is his first WSOP and he is already playing at the final table. He is a student of Political Science at the Arizona State University and he does not consider himself a good player. Even though he came across poker in high school, he has just started playing seriously: he had not been able to play online due to Black Friday and there is a 21 age limit in live casinos in the US. Should he win, he will be the youngest champion ever, even younger than current record holder Joe Cada.
Balsiger said he only entered the event for fun and had a lot of it, while constantly winning…
Jeremy Ausmus– Stack: 9,805,000
Total live tournament winnings: $427,145
Jeremy ‘TheTaker’ Ausmus is a poker pro living in Las Vegas. He was born in the state of Colorado and started playing under the influence of the movie “Rounders” with his friends. He got his degree at the Colorado State University as an economist, making a living from poker. In 2006, he moved to Las Vegas to try his luck as a professional player.
He made the right decision, winning larger sums in cash games, besides being a successful online and live tournament player. His greatest success was a 4th finish in the USA Online Poker Championship $530 NLHE Main Event ($67,000), in addition to numerous 5-digit prizes. His best live accomplishment had previously been a 3rd place in the 2011 $4,750 Big Event Main Event for $190,000.
He began getting ITM finishes in the WSOP in 2011, a total of 13 to date. He was also invited to the Epic Poker League, a feature unique to him among the October Nine.
Guess and win a surprise gift from PokerGuru only one vote per person :p
August 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm #25669AnonymousInactive
888 Sponsored player – Jesse Sylvia is leading in member votes…come on the rest of you get voting now.
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