2012 WSOP Final Table Preview and Betting Odds
THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2012-08-12, by OzoneCaesars Entertainment wisely scheduled the running of the 2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table at the end of October so as not to conflict with the U.S. Presidential Election. This means the event cannot be correctly referred to as the November Nine this year as a new World Champion will be crowned on October 30th.
This final table is likely to be known as the Year of Yawn?. Not a single one of the nine participants is someone who was known by the poker world in any significant capacity prior to the start of this year's Main Event. The final table was close to having a great storyline when two women remained in the event with 11 players remaining. Unfortunately, Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille finished 10th and 11th respectively. Now there are nine men, eight Americans and one Hungarian, left to compete for a first-place prize of $8.5 million.
In this preview of the 2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table, we've included each player's percentage of chips relative to the total number of chips in play as well as their odds to win according to PinnacleSports.com.
Jesse Sylvia - 22.2% - +348
Chip-leader Jesse Sylvia's story is the typical young American turned poker pro tale. He made a bunch of money playing online and dropped out of school to move to Vegas and focus on playing poker professionally. Now 24, he's been playing poker for three years and previously had only $2,900 in lifetime earnings at the WSOP. Interestingly, Sylvia's friend and former roommate, Russell Thomas, is also at the final table.
Andras Koroknai - 14.8% - +411
A controversial ruling preserved Andras Koroknai's standing in the 2012 WSOP Main Event. Koroknai raised all-in and mucked his hand after thinking he had won the blinds. What he didn't realize was Gaelle Baumann was still in the hand and was prepared to call Koroknai's all-in holding pocket Kings. The floor ruled Koroknai had to surrender 60,000 chips to cover the price of Baumann's min-raise but that he was not all-in. From there, the Hungarian nursed a short-stack before rallying on the bubble of the final table into becoming a formidable threat to winning the 2012 WSOP. He is the only non-American remaining in the field.
Greg Merson - 14.5% - +367
Greg Merson is having a good 2012 WSOP. He won a bracelet in the $10,000 Six-Handed event for a $1.1 million payday. During the Main Event, Merson was reduced to just a couple of big blinds with 150 players remaining and lent credibility to the "chip and a chair" philosophy by rallying to the final table. Now, the 24 year old is considered one of the favorites to become the next World Champion of poker.
Russell Thomas - 12.5% - +676
Russell Thomas has taken a reverse course en route to WSOP success. He started out as a Vegas-based poker pro before taking a "real job" with an insurance company. The gainfully-employed 24 year old is now in contention for an $8.5 million poker prize. He joked after making the final table that he's going to have to train someone else to do his job as an actuary. The joke may turn out to be serious however, Thomas has taken a leave of absence from his job until after the tournament is over and said he may not go back at all if he finishes in the top three.
Steven Gee - 8.5% - +978
At age 57, professional poker player Steven Gee is the oldest player remaining in the Main Event. He is cut from the "born in Asia, grew up in the U.S. and cut his teeth in California card rooms" cloth that John Juanda and many others are from. Gee won a bracelet in a $1,000 no-limit event in 2010 and should add some action and excitement to the gameplay at the final table.
Michael Esposito - 8.2% - +960
What is a WSOP final table without a token middle-aged amateur? Michael Esposito is just that to this final table. Expect the 44 year old New York-based commodity broker to go for broke at the final table. He said in an interview with the WSOP staff that the $8.5 million wouldn't change his life that much, so don't expect to see him playing scared because of the money involved. That element could play to his benefit or demise.
Robert Salaburu - 7.7% - +1052
Robert Salaburu is a self-proclaimed "shot-taker" who has finally gotten a shot to pay off. While he identifies as a professional poker player of seven years, this is his first-ever cash in a WSOP event. The 27 year old Texan has now turned his fly-by-night poker career into the tale of a young, self-made millionaire.
Jacob Balsiger - 6.6% - +1139
Perhaps the best story of this WSOP Final Table is that of Jacob Balsiger, a 21 year old student who has a chance to surpass Joe Cada as the youngest World Champion in history. He'll need help to make that happen, however, as Balsiger is second-to-last in chips entering the final table. That help may come from Mike McDonald who Balsiger said he hopes to hire as a coach for the final table. He has made no indications if he plans to finish his senior year at Arizona State University.
Jeremy Ausmus - 5.0% - +1030
Despite being the short-stack, Ausmus is not quite considered the biggest longshot to win the 2012 Main Event. This is predominantly because the 33 year old has more experience in poker than many of his rivals; Ausmus has played professionally in Las Vegas since 2005 and is expected to be something of a fan-favorite at the Penn and Teller Theater in late October.
The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.
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