The 2012 World Series of Poker has nearly arrived at its end. All events have been played and the Main Event now has its final table. In recent years, we have witnessed the "November Nine" of the final table, which this year Harrah’s had decided to make it the "October Nine" for some reason. I believe it is due to 2012 being an election year, and the traditional “November Nine” would face viewing conflicts with election coverage.
The Main Event started with 6,598 players, making it the 5th largest poker tournament in history according to WSOP official website. It took 10 million hands and nearly two weeks to reach the final 9 players. With the buy in costing $10,000, the total prize pool reached $62 million. First place will become one of the richest in WSOP history by taking home more than $8.5 million.
Photo of Gaelle Baumann from Cardplayer.com
The final day of play saw two players looking to make history by becoming only the second woman to make the Main Event final table. The only woman to do so was Barbara Enrich in 1995. Both Elisabeth Hill and Gaelle Baumann were poised to make it to the final. But much to their dismay both were knocked out and Gaelle would pop the bubble by finishing 10th.
- Jesse Sylvia – West Tisbury, MA (43,875,000 in chips)
- Andras Koroknai – Debrecen, Hungary (29,375,000 in chips)
- Greg Merson – Laurel, MD (28,725,000 in chips)
- Russell Thomas – Hartford, CT (24,800,000 in chips)
- Steven Gee – Sacramento, CA (16,860,000 in chips)
- Michael Esposito – Seaford, NY (16,260,000 in chips)
- Robert Salaburu – San Antonio, TX (15,155,000 in chips)
- Jacob Balsiger – Tempe, AZ (13,115,000 in chips)
- Jeremy Ausmus – Las Vegas, NV (9,805,000 in chips)
In past years the final was a mix of international players, but this year it's dominated by Americans. Vegas pro Jesse Sylvia heads in with an almost 2-1 chip lead and is the favorite to win. But, if the past is any indicator, he will have one tough time.
A total of 666 players cashed in the event, and among those were some big names. Vanessa Selbst actually came into the later stages with a top 10 stack but her luck went south and she busted in 73rd. Canadian pro Gavin Smith finished shortly before her in 96th. Other notable cashes include Freddy Deeb, John Phan, Johnny Chan, and Antonio Esfandiari.
Perhaps more noteworthy was how fast some of the big names busted. Greg Raymer, John Hennigan and Carlos Mortneson all busted early on day 1. Phil Hellmuth was one of the first to leave on day 1c.
It was an exciting year and the WSOP seems to be back where it should. After last year's "Black Friday" fiasco and the debacle at Full Tilt, the WSOP seemed to take a back seat. It's nice to see poker getting back to normal and we look forward to next year’s tournament.