First Day of the Final Table
The World Series of Poker is one of the largest and most popular live poker tournaments, where every poker player that is able to pay the entry fee is looking to get the fame and fortune that comes with winning one of those elusive winner bracelets. There were a total of 60 events, not including the Main Event. We will take a look at several big events and the poker hands that won those large cash prizes, along with the infamous WSOP bracelet.
The most exciting parts about the WSOP main event has to be the beginning and the end, where 6,598 entrants played their hearts out in order to get to the final table, where the Octo-Nine would sit. The Main Event is usually played in November, but since elections are happening on Nov. 6th, they decided to play the final events at the end of October. The final table of the Main Event was full of great players, including two gold bracelet winners Steve Gee and Greg Merson.
WSOP Big Winners
Let’s begin with a WSOP recap of some of the best wins and their poker hands. The Poker Players Championship is always a good poker event to watch. The winner of this event is Michael Mizrachi, who added a total of $1,451,527 to his total amount of prize money won; this gets him up to fourth place on the all-time money leader board. Michael was able to beat Chris Klodnicki at the final table, where they were battling it out with Omaha-8. Mizrachi started the round with 10.5 million chips against Klodnicki’s 5.7 million. Klodnichi went all in on the pre flop and was showing an Ace (spade), Jack (hearts), 9 (clover), and 2 (spades) against Miztachi’s Queen (diamond), Jack (clover), 9 (hearts), and 8 (hearts), who finally won the final hand when the board ran out a 10 (clover), 10 (spades), 7 (clover), 6 (hearts), and Ace (hearts).
Event #57 was the No-Limit Hold’em / Six Handed tournament, where Greg Merson would take the victory along with the cash prize of $1,136,197. It was a tough final table as Merson was able to beat several tough players such as Eddy Sabat and Shannon Shorr, but no winner was crowned on Day 3. What is impressive is the final hand, which took place on Day 4 against Keith Lehr and only took one poker hand into the game to give Merson the victory. Merson held K(s), and 9(s) against Lehr’s A(s) and Q(d), where Merson called all-in and Lehr called. The flop showed a 10(h), 9(h), 10(c) giving the advantage to Merson, but the turn was a Q(s), turning the favour back over to Lehr. It was the river card that won it for Merson, getting a J(h) to win 1st place along with the cash and the bracelet.
The Big One for the One Drop – No-Limit Hold’em was an event to go down in the history books, where Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari won the largest cash prize ever of $18,346,673. The final table was comprised of some very heavy hitters including Phil Hellmuth, who took fourth place. Esfandiari managed to eliminate 3rd place winner David Einhorn, who was showing a K(s) and 9(c) against Esfandiari’s 10(c) and 10(s) with 10(h), 9(d), 6(h), 3(h) and Q(s) on the felt; leaving the final match between Esfandiari and Sam Trickett.
It was a back and forth between these two during the final hand, raising and re-raising after the flop of J(d), 5(d) and 5(c). They flipped their cards, Esfandiari was showing a 7(d) and 5(s) for trip fives, while Trickett held Q(d) and 6(d) for a flush draw. The turn was a 3(h), keeping Esfandiari in the lead until the river card, a 2(h), sealed the deal and gave Esfandiari his second WSOP bracelet.
The most exciting parts about the WSOP main event has to be the beginning and the end, where 6,598 entrants played their hearts out in order to get to the final table, where the Octo-Nine would sit. The ultimate winner of the WSOP Main Event would be Greg Merson, who had previously won a bracelet in the No-Limit Hold’em / Six Handed event. With two players remaining on the final table, Greg Merson and Jesse Sylvia would be playing for the bracelet. The hand began when Merson was dealt a K(d) and 5(d), while Sylvia was deal a Q(s) and J(s). The flop was dealt, showing a 6(c), 3(h) and 9(d), keeping Merson in the lead with his King-high. When the turn card was flipped showing a 6(s), Merson was getting that much closer to victory. The tension was high and everyone’s attention was on the final card. If the river was a Jack or Queen, Sylvia would take the win, but when the dealer flipped over the river showing a 7(c), the crowd cheered for the new WSOP Main Event champion, Greg Merson.
The WSOP ended that night, after 19.5 hours of poker gameplay at the final table of the Main Event, becoming the longest final game in WSOP history. A lot of poker players left with big cash prizes, and the few amazing players were able to take home a bracelet.
Octo-Nine and the WSOP Main Event Champion
Steve Gee was the first to get eliminated from the final table by Russell Thomas. Gee was holding on to a pair, 8(c) and 8(d) and Thomas also had a pair, Q(c) and Q(d). Gee raised 1.6 million after the flop showed a 7(c), 4(h) and a 5(d), and Thomas called. The turn card was a J(c), where Gee raised yet again, but this time for 3.25 million. Gee would go all-in after the dealer flipped a 3(s) on the river. Steve Gee would be the first eliminated, getting 9th place and cash prize of $754,798, obviously a nice chunk of money regardless. Thomas was now one of the chip leaders at the WSOP Main Event table.
Robert Salaburu would become the 8th place winner with a cash prize of $971,360. He was beaten by Jesse Sylvia. Salaburu was holding a 7(d) and a 7(h), while Sylvia held a Q(c) and 5(c) and the flop was showing a A(d), A(s) and a 4(c), giving Salaburu two pair and Sylvia a flush draw. The turn card was a 2(d) and the river card turned up to be a Q(h), giving Sylvia the winning hand.
7th place would go to Machael Esposito, after being defeated by Merson on a pre flop all-in. Esposito was showing an A(s) and J(h) when he called all-in on Merson; who had an A(c) and a K(s). It was not a good call on Esposito, who already had a worse hand than Merson. The dealer quickly revealed all five cards, spreading out a 4(s) 9(s), 7(d), 6(s) and an 8(c). Merson won thanks to his King, and Esposito would leave with $1,258,040.
Andras Koroknai, a Hungarian poker player, lost on the 109th hand of the final table against Merson. Koroknai started with a K(h) and Q(d) in his hand, while Merson had an A(s) and K(S). After Koroknai called all-in, Merson did not miss a beat and called immediately. The five cards dealt were 8(h), 3(s), 2(c), 7(s) and 7(h), which were of no help to Koroknai; making him the second player that Merson would eliminate from the final table. Koroknai left with 6th place and $1,640,902 in prize money.
Jeremy Ausmus would take 5th place at the WSOP main event and take home $2,155,313 in prize money after losing his 10(s) and 7(d) poker hand against Sylvia’s A(c) and 9(h). The dealer flopped a 3(s), 8(s) and 9(c), where both players checked and were met with the 3(d) on the turn. Ausmus would make the mistake of raising 1.5 million, where Sylvia was able to get him into going all in before the river. Ausmus was hoping for a helpful card, but instead got a 5(s), sealing his fate and sending him home.
The last person eliminated after a long day would be Russell Thomas, claiming his 4th place title and $2,851,537 in cash. During his final hand, he had an A(h) and 9(d), where he lost against Jake Balsiger who had an A(s) and K(c). The dealer flipped over an 8(c), Q(h), 5(h) and 5(d), where Thomas saw his final table game end when the dealer revealed the river card to be a 7(h). This would be it for the day, leaving the final table with just three players to battle it out for the WSOP Main Event bracelet.
WSOP Champion Declared
The three remaining players, Greg Merson, Jesse Sylvia, and Jake Balsinger were going for the WSOP bracelet. Amateur player Jake Balsinger had an amazing run in the WSOP Main Event, but would be eliminated after 11 hours of playing. Balsinger went all in with a Q(h) and a 10(d) hand against Merson’s K(c) and Q(s). The flop came out to be 6(c), 6(s) and 6(d), leaving Balsinger with a chance to win. The turn was a J(c), lowering the chances for Balsinger. The river card, a 5(h), finally ended his long appearance, where he got 3rd place, $3,799,073 in cash, and a standing ovation from the crowd.
With two players remaining on the final table, Greg Merson and Jesse Sylvia, would be facing off for another 8½ hours. As mentioned above, the final hand began, where Merson would go all in against Sylvia pre flop. After much consideration, Sylvia finally gave in and called. Merson showed a K(d) and 5(d), while Sylvia turned over his Q(s) and J(s). The flop was a 6(c), 3(h) and 9(d), which was no help for Sylvia, but once a 6(s) was shown on the turn, his chances improved. It was all up to the river card, and it chose Merson to be the winner, with a 7(c). Ending the tournament, Jesse Sylvia got 2nd place and $5,295,149.
With that hand and after 19.5 hours of playing, Greg Merson finally became the 2012 WSOP Main Event champion. He took his gold bracelet and his $8,531,853 in cash. It was a highly competitive final table, and emotions ran high when Merson won. We can only hope of winning that sort of cash sometime soon.
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