Day 7 of the WSOP Main Event eliminated 18 players to reach the final table that features eight Americans and one Hungarian player.
Jesse Sylvia is the chip leader with 43,875,000 in chips. His aggressive play allowed the 26-year-old to surge to a huge lead, holding 14 million more chips than Andras Koroknai, the lone final tablist not residing in the U.S., who finished the day in second place with 29,375,000. Sylvia picked up a huge pot and sent Scott Abrams packing in 12th place when his pocket 7’s hit a set on the flop of K-7-3 and the ensuing Q-6 on the turn and river proved no help for K-J in the hole for Abrams.
Although many in the poker community were rooting for the two remaining women in the field when the day began to make the final nine players, both just missed, as Elisabeth Hille was eliminated in 11th place after three-betting all-in pre-flop with A-Q and losing to the pocket 7’s of Koroknai. With 10 players remaining, Gaelle Baumann shoved her entire stack of 5.2 million into the pot with A-9 and was sent to the rail in 10th place when Koroknai, who managed to knock out the final two ladies, called with A-J from the small blind and eliminated Baumann when the board of Q-Q-3-8-K gave him the winning hand. Both women take home $590,422 for their efforts and received huge applause from the crowd upon elimination.
The final table field is noted for having several players who have made names for themselves in cash game action. Greg Merson (28.72 million in chips) finished the day in third place and has already cashed in four of seven 2012 WSOP events, taking home a gold bracelet in one. Merson has been an online cash poker star for several years and is making the most of his transition to live tournament play. Russell Thomas trails Merson in fourth with a 24.80 million chip stack. An actuary from Hartford, Conn., Thomas is also a successful cash game player, but may consider more tournament action after finishing 248th in last year’s Main Event and making the final table this year.
Fifth place is held down by Steven Gee, the oldest final tablist at 57 and the only other besides Merson who has won a WSOP gold bracelet. Another cash game pro, Gee won his bracelet in 2010. Gee has 16.86 million in chips and picked up a lot of them by catching a straight on the river with three players all-in and the field down to 20 players. Cashing for the second time in a Main Event and fourth time in a WSOP tournament, 43-year-old Michael Esposito, a New York commodities broker by trade, is in sixth place at the final table with 16,260,000 in chips. Right behind him in seventh with a chip stack of 15.15 million is Robert Salaburu, a 27-year-old from Texas.
Jacob Balsiger (13.11 million in chips) is a political science major at Arizona State University with one year remaining before graduation. Should he manage to overcome the odds and win the championship, Balsiger would be the youngest WSOP Main Event champ in history. Rounding out the final table is Jeremy Ausmus at 9.80 million in chips. The 32-year-old poker pro cashed in nine WSOP events this year and has 14 cashes in his entire career. Ausmus’ pregnant wife is due to deliver the couple’s second child in early November.
Final table action will begin again on October 28. With a three-month break before play resumes, there is plenty of time to learn more about this year’s WSOP Main Event final table. Poker News Report will keep you fully updated. Check our 2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table Player Profiles here.