Greg Merson Wins 2012 World Series of Poker Main EventWednesday, October 31st, 2012 by Ryan
The final table for the 2012 World Series of Poker kicked off two days ago, and while gave an in-depth recap of the final table and who would be starting where when it was down to only nine players, the action yesterday started off with just three players left in the game and an $8.5 million grand prize to be taken down by the eventual winner of the event. Starting off the day were three players who may not have been incredibly well-known before this event, but they were definitely in the spot light and had eyes locked to them all over the place now. The final three in the action included Greg Merson, Jesse Sylvia, and Jacob Balsiger. The three players played strong poker from start to finish on the first day of the action, and they all minimized the risky hands that they played in order to hold onto their chips and build up their chip stack.
To start off the action on Monday’s final table, Greg Merson was holding the chip lead with 88,350,000 chips after a strong previous day. Second place behind him was Jesse Sylvia with 62,750,000 chips, and third place was Jacob Balsiger with 46,875,000. Regardless of where these three players finished to end the day, each one would make at least $3.79 million off of their original $10,000 buy-in.
The other players who made it to the final table but were sent home before the final three featured some players with some solid accomplishments throughout their poker careers, but none as big as the scores that they brought in at this event. Finishing in 9th place was Steven Gee with just over $754,000, 8th place went to Robert Salaburu for more than $971,000, 7th place was Michael Esposito for over $1.2 million, and 6th place was Andras Koroknai for more than $1.6 million. The players who jumped into the top five and more than $2 million in prize money were Jeremy Ausmus, who started out the day as the short stack, and took home $2.15 million, and Russell Thomas was knocked out in 4th place for $2.85 million.
This three players who made it to the final table each had their own story and interesting players in their corner as well. Greg Merson for example was actually backed by one of the most well-known and popular players in the world today in Phil Ivey, as Merson is a part of “Team Ivey”. Merson also was fresh off of another tournament win just a few months back, and with a win in this event would actually over take the incredibly talented Phil Hellmuth for the 2012 World Series of Poker Player of the Year. He would have to WIN in order to do so, or he’d still be in second place. Sylvia on the other hand had another ridiculously talented player in his corner in Vanessa Selbst, and she gave some interesting insight about the tournament as well as his play throughout the event. Balsiger’s story is amazing in it’s own right, as he was in a brutal accident not too long ago when he was hit by a car while riding a bike and was hospitalized with some severe injuries.
All three you could call fan favorites in their own right thanks to their strong play, and none of the three of them were ready to bow out lightly. It took an incredible 11 hours for the three handed play to be knocked down to heads up, and when it finally happened it was Balsiger who was sent home in third place. Balsiger went a bit up and down, and actually ended up grabbing the chip lead at one point near the end, but it simply wasn’t meant to be for the 21 year old. He actually was all-in a few times earlier before the end of the 11 hour mark, but he was not able to outlast the last all in. This set up a huge heads up match between Greg Merson and Jesse Sylvia, who with their big stacks and strong play were expected to go at it for a while. [ When the heads up match began, Merson had a small chip lead over his opponent, but it didn’t take very long him to be able to get the job done against Sylvia. In all, it didn’t even take 20 hands for the tournament to end, which is surprising after 11 hours of play to get to that point. The last hand was really a bit of a coin flip, as Sylvia was left a bit stunned by Merson’s aggressive style of play. Sylvia had been aggressive throughout the tournament, but Merson took it over in heads up play. Sylvia was all-in with QJs, but wasn’t in awful shape against the K5s that Merson was holding. Unfortunately for Sylvia he was unable to better his hand as the board ran out and he was sent home in second place. This meant that our 2012 World Series of Poker Champion was officially Greg Merson, and he took home $8,531,853 million and also took over the Player of the Year race.
For his second place finish, Sylvia took home a lot of respect and a very, very nice pay day that was worth $5,295,149. Balsiger for third place is now headed back to school a whole lot richer as well with a pay day that was worth $3,799,073.