2012 WSOP October Nine Set
July 19, 2012
By Jeremy Olson
The 2012 WSOP Main Event featured the fifth largest field in history when 6,598 players took the felt. And now, this massive field has been whittled down to just nine lucky players who will compete for an $8.5 million top prize from October 28th-30th, 2012. Of course, we have plenty of time until then, so it's definitely worth rehashing what led up to shaping the October Nine.
Women looking to make History
One of the biggest stories of this year's Main Event included a contingent of women who were hoping to become the second female player in history to make the final table. Barbara Enright is the only woman to land on the Main Event final table, which she did in 1995 after navigating through 273 players towards a fifth place finish ($114,800). However, any lady who made the 2012 Main Event final table would no doubt have a tougher road due to the aforementioned 6,598-player field.
Despite a small amount of female entrants, Susie Zhao (90th, $73,908), Vanessa Selbst (73rd, $88,070) and Marcia Topp (71st, $106,056) all made strong runs in the tournament. However, the excitement really came when Frenchwoman Gaelle Baumann and Norway's Elisabeth Hille made it to Day 7 - where the Main Event final table was decided.
Hille started the day off fifth out of 27 players while Baumann began with the 20th largest chip stack. Hille's day would end when she busted out in 11th place ($590,442), leaving Baumann as the lone female with a chance at final table glory. Unfortunately, she too would barely miss the cut after being eliminated in 10th place ($590,422).
Besides the women who made a great effort towards the 2012 WSOP Main Event final table, another interesting story involved the rise and collapse of a couple players on Day 7. Canada's Marc Ladouceur started the day out in front of the remaining 27 players, while Hungary's Andras Koroknai looked like he was headed for a quick exit with the 24th biggest chip stack.
But as the final day played out, these two players nearly switched places since Ladouceur ran into some bad luck and busted out in 13th place ($465,159). As for Koroknai, he continually built his stack throughout the seventh day and now has the second largest chip stack (29,375,000) behind Jess Sylvia (43,875,000).
How the Stars fared
It wasn't a great year for stars in the 2012 Main Event since no big-name players managed to make a truly deep run. However, it is worth mentioning that 2011 ME final tablist Sam Holden (55th, $128,384), David Baker (56th, $128,384), Jason Somerville (69th, $106,056), Selbst, Erik Cajalais (86th, $73,805), Gavin Smith (96th, $62,021), Marcel Luske (102nd, $52,718), John Phan (149th, $52,718), Sorel Mizzi (151st, $52,178) and Daniel Negreanu (160th, $52,718) all had strong runs in this tournament.
2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table
1. Jesse Sylvia, 43,875,000 chips - This is Sylvia's first time in the poker limelight because he has little tournament experience to speak of. But his skills certainly aren't in question because the 26-year-old has lived in Las Vegas the past couple of years as a $10/$20 No-Limit Hold'em cash game pro.
2. Andras Koroknai, 29,375,000 chips - Koroknai's main claim to fame is that he won the 2010 L.A. Poker Classic and $1,788,040. Aside from this victory, the Hungarian doesn't have many live tournament cashes, but he does make a good living through online poker cash games.
3. Greg Merson, 28,725,000 chips - Like Koroknai, Merson also spends the bulk of his time with online ring games under the name "gregy20723." However, the 24-year-old did win his first major tournament title after taking down the 2012 WSOP Event #57 NLHE tourney ($1,136,197).
4. Russell Thomas, 24,800,000 chips - This amateur player has collected $126,796 in live tournament cashes, which includes a fifth place finish in a 2010 WSOP NL Hold'em tournament ($84,256). His main job involves being an actuary in the state of Pennsylvania.
5. Steven Gee, 16,860,000 chips - The Californian is no doubt the senior on this final table since he's 57 years old. As for Gee's poker experience, he earns a living through live cash games and won a WSOP $1k NL Hold'em event ($472,479).
6. Michael Esposito, 16,260,000 chips - Away from his job as a New York commodities trader, Esposito has been playing in live poker tournaments since 2002. He earned $172,086 in tournaments prior to the 2012 WSOP Main Event.
7. Robert Salaburu, 15,155,000 chips - Like many American online poker pros, Salaburu transitioned to live poker after losing the ability to play at the biggest online sites. The 27-year-old has made 10 small live tournament cashes in his career.
8. Jacob Balsiger, 13,115,000 chips - Balsiger is primarily a student at Arizona State University, but also plays online poker too. That said, making the WSOP Main Event final table is a dream come true for the 21-year-old.
9. Jeremy Ausmus, 9,805,000 chips - Ausmus has mainly focused on internet poker in the past; however, 2012 is somewhat of a breakout year for the 32-year-old since he cashed nine times at this WSOP.
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