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2012 43rd Annual World Series of Poker

Saturday, July 07, 2012 to Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Event #61: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em MAIN EVENT - World Championship

download official report     download official winner photo
  • Buy-in: $10,000
  • Prizepool: $62,031,385
  • Entries: 6,598
  • Remaining: 0
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07/16/12 10:47:15 PM PST
Nine Players, One Bracelet: The WSOP Main Event Final Table Is Set!

2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Octo-Nine with WSOP TD Jack Effel

We started with 6,598 players, in for ten grand apiece. They came from 82 different countries, aged from 21 to 92. And after a wild week-and-a-half just nine remain with chips and hopes of becoming the next world champion of poker.

There's no other tournament like it... the World Series of Poker Main Event.

From that huge field just 27 remained to start today, led by Marc Ladouceur of Quebec, Canada who had already improved on his 63rd-place finish in the WSOP Main Event a year ago. The plan was to play down to a final nine who will return October 28-30 to find the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion.

The first level saw just a couple of eliminations — Nicco Maag (27th) and Jan Heitmann (26th) — two of the three Germans left in the field. Meanwhile, Robert Salaburu spent that first level playing frequently and aggressively, and found himself at the top of the counts going into the first break.

The next two-hour level saw an increase in the blinds and frequent all-in shoves by short stacks at all three of the remaining tables. Roland Israelashvili (25th), Daniel Strelitz (24th), and Yuval Bronshtein (23rd) hit the rail early in Level 31, with Strelitz having tumbled quickly from having started the day in second position. Cylus Watson (22nd) and Robert Corcione (21st) would also exit before the level concluded. Meanwhile, Russell Thomas won the race to become the first to cross the 20 million-chip mark, and when the next level began Salaburu, Scott Abrams, and Jacob Balsiger would join him in moving past the milestone.

They'd play one more hour before breaking for dinner, during which five players hit the rail. Once Paul Volpe (20th) and Jamie Robbins (19th) fell, they'd redraw for the final two tables, and on the first hand after that the Australian David Balkin would go out in 18th in a hand which saw his pocket aces cracked by Michael Esposito.

The 67-year-old Robert Buckenmayer would follow in 17th when his    failed to improve against Wilfried Harig's   . Then Salaburu took care of Percy Mahatan in 16th after turning two pair against the latter's queens.

The break arrived, with Balsiger, Salaburu, and Abrams in front. But also among the final 15 were two of the 211 women who'd entered the Main Event — Elisabeth Hille and Gaelle Baumann. It has been 17 years since Barbara Enright made a WSOP Main Event final table, the only time in the 43-year history of the Series it has ever happened. Thus was the possibility of one or perhaps both of the remaining women making it through on everyone's minds as play resumed.

Soon the field would shrink further. Like Balkin before him, Wilfried Harig would also see pocket aces fail him against Greg Merson. All in before the flop with    against Harig's   , the last remaining German would see Merson turn two pair, and one card later Harig was out in 15th.

The next hour was punctuated by dramatic double-ups for Koroknai (twice), Baumann, and Jesse Sylvia, with Sylvia riding the momentum of his all of the way to the chip lead at the next mid-level break.

Soon after players returned, Danny Wong — crippled earlier versus Koroknai — was knocked out in 14th after committing his short stack with    against Greg Merson's    and failing to improve.

Next it would be start-of-day leader Marc Ladouceur seeing his run end in 13th place. All in with    against Greg Merson's pocket fours, Ladouceur would see two sevens flop, but a four as well, and two cards later they were down to a dozen.

Later it would be Scott Abrams falling in 12th after getting his big stack in with top pair and a flush draw versus chip leader Jesse Sylvia's set of sevens then failing to get there. Just 11 were left, including both Elisabeth Hille and Gaelle Baumann, although both were on short stacks and occupying the last two spots in the counts.

Soon Hille would be all in with hers and hoping her    would improve versus Andras Koroknai's pocket sevens. But the board brought no help and Hille left us in 11th.

They redrew for the 10-handed not-quite-final final table, which would ultimately last an orbit-and-a-half. Baumann would score a timely double-up once after waking up with pocket kings in the big blind. She'd shove a second time and get no callers. Soon she'd be all in again with    against Andras Koroknai's   , and despite the roars of encouragement from the crowd, no card came to improve Baumann's hand, and she was out in 10th, making the two women the final eliminations of the summer.

What an incredible conclusion to the summer! And there's still more to come!

Jesse Sylvia will be carrying the WSOP Main Event chip lead over the next three-plus months. And by making it this far, Greg Merson is now guaranteed at least 100 WSOP Player of the Year points, meaning even if he finishes in ninth in October, he'll have 581.13 points which will push him past current leader Phil Ivey (with WSOP Europe still in play as well).

Here is how that final table will look when players return in October:

SeatPlayerCountryAgeChip Count
1Russell ThomasUSA2424,800,000
2Jacob BalsigerUSA2113,115,000
3Jeremy AusmusUSA329,805,000
4Steven GeeUSA5716,860,000
5Greg MersonUSA2428,725,000
6Jesse SylviaUSA2643,875,000
7Robert SalaburuUSA2715,155,000
8Andras KoroknaiHungary3029,375,000
9Michael EspositoUSA4316,260,000

Thanks to everyone for following our coverage all summer long here at PokerNews. It's been another amazing seven-and-a-half weeks in Vegas. See you in October!

07/16/12 10:39:08 PM PST
Hand #15: Gaelle Baumann is Eliminated in 10th Place ($590,422)

Gaelle Baumann

Gaelle Baumann moved all in for 5.2 million from the hijack seat, Andras Koroknai called in the small blind, and Michael Esposito folded from the big blind.


Chants of "Nine! Nine! Nine!" filled the mothership before the flop fell    . Baumann could now chop with a three or any running pair cards.

The crowd erupted at the sight of the   on the turn, even though it didn't pair Baumann. The last woman standing could only be saved by a nine (win), a three (chop) or an eight (chop).

The   completed the board, and the rail exploded. Those who made the official final table celebrated, while Baumann's French contingent fell momentarily silent.

Then, for one last time, the crowd serenaded her with chants of "Gaelle Baumann."

The Octo-Nine is now set, and we will have full chip counts for you shortly.

Gaelle Baumann0-5,240,000
07/16/12 10:26:41 PM PST
Hand #14: Baumann Shoves, Blinds Fold

Chip leader Jesse Sylvia started with the button. It folded around to Gaelle Baumann in the cutoff who moved all in for 4.39 million. Sylvia folded, the blinds both studied their hands briefly and let them go, and Baumann adds the blinds and antes to her stack.

Gaelle Baumann5,240,000580,000
07/16/12 10:24:48 PM PST
Hand #13: Gee Gets a Walk

Gaelle Baumann had the button. Steven Gee opened for 600,000 and the rest of the players got out of the way.

07/16/12 10:23:42 PM PST
Hand #12: Chip Leaders See a Flop

Greg Merson opened to 600,000 from the button. Jesse Sylvia called out of the small blind, and checked when the flop fell    . Merson fired 850,000, and picked up the pot.

07/16/12 10:21:37 PM PST
Hand #11: Baumann Doubles!

Gaelle Baumann

It folded all of the way around to Steven Gee on the button who raised to 700,000. Greg Merson paused about 20 seconds, then reraised to 1.8 million from the small blind. Gaelle Baumann then moved all in for 1.78 million from the big blind, and Gee quickly folded.

Merson turned over    and Baumann showed she'd woken up with…   !

The flop came    , and the raucous crowed reacted to the sight of the jack. The turn then brought the   and another "ohhhhh!!!" "Deuce! Deuce!" cried the crowd. Finally Timmy the dealer burned a card and delivered the river… the  ! As called for! Baumann survived!

Greg Merson27,730,000-1,825,000
Gaelle Baumann4,660,0002,520,000
07/16/12 10:17:00 PM PST
Hand #10: Gee Takes From Merson

The button was on Jeremy Ausmus is Seat 3 when action folded to Steven Gee in the small blind and he raised to 800,000. Greg Merson made the call from the big and it was heads-up to the     flop. Gee checked, Merson bet 1 million, and Gee woke up with a check-raise to 3 million. Merson thought for a brief moment and then sent his cards to the muck.

Greg Merson29,555,000-1,945,000
Steven Gee16,910,0001,110,000
07/16/12 10:13:55 PM PST
Hand #9: Another Raise-and-Take for Sylvia

Jeremy Ausmus was on the button. Jesse Sylvia opened to 600,000 from early position, and won the blinds and antes.

07/16/12 10:12:30 PM PST
Hand #8: Blinds and Antes for Koroknai

Russell Thomas started with the button. It folded around to Andras Koroknai in the hijack seat who looked at his cards and raised to 650,000, and the rest of the table folded.

07/16/12 10:10:46 PM PST
Hand #7: Balsiger Gets a Walk

With the button on Michael Esposito in Seat 10, action folded around and Jacob Balsiger got a walk in the big blind.

07/16/12 10:10:24 PM PST
Hand #6: Sylvia Adds to Stack

Andras Koroknai had the button, and the action folded to Jesse Sylvia, who opened to 600,000 from the hijack seat. The action behind folded, and Sylvia added to his chip lead.

07/16/12 10:09:57 PM PST
Hand #5: Thomas Pushes With Aces

Robert Salaburu started with the button. Russell Thomas raised to 750,000 from under the gun, Jacob Balsiger called from a seat over, and it folded around to Greg Merson who raised to 1.85 million. Then Jesse Sylvia pumped it up to 4.6 million from the cutoff seat. It folded back to Thomas who paused a bit and moved all in for more than 17 million.

That big push was enough to force folds all around, and Thomas showed his   .

Jesse Sylvia43,200,000-5,250,000
Greg Merson31,500,000195,000
Russell Thomas25,700,0007,000,000
07/16/12 10:03:58 PM PST
Hand #4: Another for Merson

Jesse Sylvia began the hand on the button and action folded to Greg Merson in the hijack and he raised to 600,000. The button and blinds all folded and Merson was pushed the pot.

07/16/12 10:03:00 PM PST
Hand #3: Merson Raises and Takes

Gaelle Baumann had the button. The action folded to Greg Merson, who raised to 600,000. The button and blinds released, and Merson won the pot.

07/16/12 10:01:09 PM PST
Hand #2: Andras Koroknai Raises and Takes

Greg Merson had the button. Andras Koroknai took the blinds and antes with a raise from under the gun to 650,000.

07/16/12 10:00:21 PM PST
Hand #1: First Hand to Sylvia

In the first hand of the unoffical final table, Steven Gee started with the button in Seat 4 and Jesse Sylvia raised to 600,000 under the gun. The rest of the field got out of the way and Sylvia took down the pot.

Jesse Sylvia48,450,0003,950,000
07/16/12 09:49:51 PM PST
The Unofficial Final Table
Main1Russell Thomas
 2Jacob Balsiger
 3Jeremy Ausmus
 4Steven Gee
 5Greg Merson
 6Gaelle Baumann
 7Jesse Sylvia
 8Robert Salaburu
 9Andras Koroknai
 10Michael Esposito
07/16/12 09:49:08 PM PST
Elisabeth Hille Eliminated in 11th Place ($590,442)

Elisabeth Hille - 11th Place

Andras Koroknai raised to 605,000 from the cutoff seat, Elisabeth Hille three-bet jammed for 3.465 million from the cutoff, and the action folded back to Koroknai, who called.


The Norwegians and the Hungarians in attendance jumped to their feet when Koroknai called, and the mothership grew quiet as the flop fell    . It was no help for Hille.

The turn was paint, and the crowd erupted when it hit the felt, but all the   did was give Hille extra outs to make a straight.

The   completed the board, and Koroknai's rail went berserk. Once the cheering died down, the entire mothership began clapping for Hille as she exited through the tunnel.

We're now down to ten players, and redrawing for seats at the Main Feature table.

Andras Koroknai23,180,0005,390,000
Elisabeth Hille0-3,845,000
07/16/12 09:38:31 PM PST
Salaburu vs. Koroknai

Robert Salburu limped from the cutoff as did Andras Koroknai on the button. Greg Merson checked his option from the big and it was three-way action to the     flop. Merson checked, Salaburu bet 500,000, and Koroknai made the call.

After Merson got out of the way, the   appeared on the turn and Koroknai called a bet of 725,000 from Salaburu. The latter proceeded to fire out 2 million on the   river, and Koroknai called. Salaburu rolled over   , and it was good as Koroknai sent his hand to the muck.

Andras Koroknai17,790,000-4,245,000
Robert Salaburu16,675,0005,655,000
07/16/12 09:32:10 PM PST
Scott Abrams Eliminated in 12th Place ($590,442)

Scott Abrams - 12th Place

In the last hand of Level 33, Russell Thomas opened for 500,000 from the cutoff and got no less than three callers — Steven Gee (button), Jesse Sylvia (small blind), and Scott Abrams (big blind).

The flop came    , and when it checked around to Gee, he bet 1.45 million. Sylvia then raised to 3.4 million from the small blind, and after a pause Abrams reraised to 7 million total. Thomas and Gee both folded, and the action was back on Sylvia. He waited about 10 seconds before reraising all in and Abrams called right away.


Abrams was all in for more than 15 million, behind Sylvia's set of sevens and looking for a diamond. The turn was the   and Abrams was down to one card. The river then brought the  , eliminating Abrams and catapulting Sylvia up over the 40 million-chip mark.

Jesse Sylvia44,000,00018,500,000
Scott Abrams0-18,700,000
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