Photo Caption: "Merson, Sylvia, and Balsiger" might sound like a law firm. But instead, these are the three biggest names in the poker at the moment. Pictured left to right -- Greg Merson, Jesse Sylvia, and Jake Balsiger will resume play as the top three in the 2012 world poker championship, which resumes on Tuesday.
Moments after making the most acclaimed trio in poker, the three would-be world champions were each interviewed briefly on the ESPN Main Stage. Still catching their collective breaths in the aftermath of becoming one of three finalists in the Main Event Championship, each player had a different reaction to the events that took place on Monday night, as well as what is anticipated to happen on Tuesday evening, when play resumes at 5:30 PST.
On his reaction to making the final three:
“It's amazing. On Twitter this morning, all I said was I didn't want to get ninth (note that Balsiger came into play as one of the lowest stacks). I ran good. Everything fell into place.”
On what he expects to happen on Tuesday night when play resumes with the final three:
“All I can say is – this has been an incredible experience. I have nothing to lose. I am coming back tomorrow and playing to win.”
On his feeling at making the final three, but also losing the chip lead to rival Greg Merson:
“Yeah, this was the plan. But there's still a long way to go. I can't wait to get back up here and play. I wish we could play it out right now. As for being second to Greg, I'm not worried about it. We're still really deep. We have a long battle tomorrow.”
On what he expects to happen, particularly coming back in second place:
“We're not that far apart. It's going to be a long day tomorrow. That's my prediction.
On his confidence level and the prospect of victory:
“Winning was my plan all along. Nothing has changed. That's still the plan.”
On how things went at the final table on Monday:
“I was always feeling good. I mean, I never fell under 20 million (in chips), which is a very nice comfort zone. As soon as Steven Gee blew up and a few other players got coolered, I was up to over 30 million and never looked back, after that. When short-handed play starts, I think that's my game because a lot of players either play too tight, or they over-adjust. I even told Jesse (Sylvia) on one of the breaks that just before Andras Koroknai bluffed off his chips, that it was exactly what he was going to do, and that's what he did. A lot of tournament players don't know what to do after the flop comes down.”
On whether making the final three is a surprise or just another day at the poker office:
“It's exciting, that's for sure. I was like, look at these pots. This is awesome.”
On his expectations for Tuesday's finale:
“As long as I play well, I think I can win. Tonight, I think I played 95 out of 100, if that's the scale. So, if I play my A-game, I'm going to be tough to beat. But if I play well tomorrow – whatever happens, happens. I can accept that, as long as I play well."
Play resumes on Tuesday with the following players and their chip counts:
Seat 1 -- Jake Balsiger with 46,375,000 in chips
Seat 2 -- Greg Merson with 88,350,000 in chips
Seat 3 -- Jesse Sylvia with 62,750,000 in chips