The Scene is Set, Let the Games Begin!
October 28th sees the start of the WSOP Main Event final table. The nine finalists are ready to go and we thought we'd take a quick look at each of them. It's a mixed bunch of players, young and old with the US dominating the field with eight of the nine players. The winner is set to walk away with over $8.5 million as well as the main event bracelet and the poker kudos, fame and celebrity status that comes with being the world champion.
Jesse Sylvia: This 26 year old has a huge advantage at the start of the final table by having by far the largest stack. He lives and breathes poker and is buddies with a few of the players at the final table, in fact Russell Thomas was his room mate a few years back at the WSOP. He is a solid player and with over 43 million in chips he could take some stopping.
Andras Koroknai: The 30 year old Hungarian has a huge following in his home country as was demonstrated on his way to the final nine players. He made a fair few mistakes along the way but pulled it all together to get on the short list. Andras won the 2010 WPT L.A Classic so is no stranger to the big time and is sure to be in contention at this table.
Greg Merson: Greg is very well known for his cash game skills, especially online where he has built up quite a following. He has recently turned his attention to tournament play and to say he's doing ok would be some understatement. During the WSOP 2012 he entered seven events, cashing in four of them and taking one bracelet. Like Jesse, he knows many of the players at the final table and says that with a fair few cash players making it, it could be a longer affair than normal.
Russell Thomas: Another cash game player, Russell is an actuary by day and poker player by night, however that could change after his success so far. He managed to cash in the main event last year and this year has gone that one huge step further by making the final table. He admits he has to do a little work on his tournament game, but sitting on over 24 million chips he has a great start.
Steven Gee: At the rip old age of 56 Steven is the oldest guy at the final table, and along with Merson he is the only other player to already have a WSOP bracelet. He won his bracelet in 2010 and calls that the best day of his life, some commentators thing there is a better one to come. Gee is a confident well focused player who takes his time and really does get to know his opponents game.
Michael Esposito: Esposito hits the final table with a nice stack of just over 16 million chips. The 43 year old commodity broker from New York has already cashed in two main events and has a total of four cashes at the WSOP. He played an extremely focused game to make it to the last nine and is sure to continue in that vein.
Robert Salaburu: This modest 27 year old Texan brings a little over 15 million in chips to the felt. he has been playing for ten years with mixed success and says that he is just out to have fun while building his poker career. He's doing that, and he could sure have a little fun if he gets off to a good start here.
Jacob Balsiger: There's no doubt about who will be buying the beers at Arizona State University if Balsiger scoops the cash. The 21 year old political science student started playing poker back in his school days and has made it all the way to the 2012 final table. He admits that playing poker at school is a little different to the slightly higher amounts he is playing for now and is looking forward to the final table experience.
Jeremy Ausmus: Ausmus is a professional poker player and admits to being more of a cash game player, although he did make an amazing nine cashes in this years WSOP and is taking everything in his stride saying that winning is a long shot when you start the event and with over 7000 players to compete against making the final table is like victory anyway.
So that's the line up and it's looking like it will be a great finale to the main event. It's too close to call with a few long shots in there and some very solid players, only time will tell.