Three Players Remain In WSOP Main Event
Greg Merson, Jesse Sylvia And Jacob Balsiger Still Alive
After 135 hands and more than seven hours of play on Monday, the World Series of Poker main event final table has just three players left.
Balsiger, 21, is looking to become the youngest main event champion ever, but he will have the short stack with 46,875,000.
Merson, one of the most prolific cash game grinders in the history of online poker, enters action on Tuesday with the chip lead of 88,350,000.
Sylvia, who has been playing for a living for three years, entered the final table with the chip lead and maintained a large stack throughout the evening. He will come back on Tuesday second in chips with 62,750,000.
Play will resume at 5:48pm PST, and ESPN will broadcast the action on a 15-minute delay.
About 1 hour and 7 minutes remain of 300,000-600,000 with a 75,000-chip ante.
Even Balsiger will have plenty to work with.
Here is what they are playing for:
Here’s a look at eliminations 9-4:
It took 30 hands before the first casualty of the main event final table was Steven Gee.
Gee had more or less held his ground with the 16,860,000 he started the day with until his final hand of the night against Russell Thomas.
Gee raised from under the gun to 900,000 and was called by Merson behind him and Thomas on the button.
The flop fell 7 5 4, and Gee continued for 1.6 million. Merson folded and Thomas called.
The turn was the J, and Gee bet 3.25 million.
Thomas called once again, and the 3 hit the river.
Gee thought it over for about a minute before moving all in for his last 11.35 million.
Thomas, who had Gee barely covered, went into the tank for over five minutes before finding a call, turning over Q Q.
Gee stood up from the table, only able to produce 8 8.
The bracelet winner from California earned $754,798 for his ninth-place finish.
The second elimination at the final table was linked to a cooler not long before.
Robert Salaburu was sitting in the middle of the pack with a stack of 20 million, when he three-bet an opening raise and a flat, only to see Jacob Balsiger move all in behind him for 10 million.
Salaburu made the call with pocket queens. Unfortunately for him, he was up against pocket kings and received no help.
The hand left him among the three short stacks, so when Sylvia put him all in from the small blind a dozen hands later, he immediately made the call with 7-7.
Sylvia’s Q 5 got there as the board ran out A A 4 2 Q.
The 27-year-old Texan earned $971,252 for his finish.
With under 15 big blinds at one point, Michael Esposito was becoming desperate.
The 43-year-old came back from break apparently determined to make some moves, and after a few all-in bets, he had chipped up back over 10 million.
On the very next hand, however, he moved all in from middle position with A J, only to find Merson, who woke up with A K in the big blind.
The board ran out 9 7 4 6 8, and Esposito was eliminated.
The Seaford, New York native picked up $1,257,790 for his seventh-place finish.
With a move that some might call a meltdown, Andras Koroknai, the 2012 main event’s only non-American, was eliminated in sixth place.
It seemed like Koroknai was content not playing many hands early on. In fact, it took 40 hands before he was able to rake his first pot.
However, after the elimination of Esposito in seventh place, the Hungarian pro picked up his aggression.
In a span of two hours, he was able to increase his stack to over 40 million, placing him in third overall. His large stack, however, was ultimately his undoing.
Merson raised to 1 million on the button, and Sylvia reraised to 2.6 million from the small blind. Koroknai then reraised to 5.3 million from the big blind, and Sylvia folded.
Merson then made it 9.2 million.
Koroknai moved all in for just over 40 million.
Merson, sitting with approximately 43 million, instantly called, tabling A K.
Koroknai revealed a dominated K Q and failed to connect on a board that ran out 8 3 2 7 7.
Koroknai received $1,640,461 for his sixth-place finish.
Las Vegas poker pro Jeremy Ausmus’ last hand began by him opening to 1.2 million from the button.
Sylvia defended his big blind, and the flop fell 9 8 3.
Both players checked.
The 3 fell on the turn, and Sylvia checked. Ausmus bet 1.5 million, and Sylvia check-raised to 3.6 million.
Ausmus shoved for about 14.5 million, and Sylvia called. Sylvia exposed the A 9, and Ausmus tabled the 10 7.
Ausmus needed help, but the river 5 was no good, and he was eliminated in fifth place for a score of $2,155,313.
Thomas hit the rail shortly after midnight local time. He took home $2,851,537 for his efforts, while the remaining players bagged their chips.
His last hand started with him raising to 1.5 million. His opponent Jacob Balsiger moved all in, having him covered.
Thomas thought about it before eventually calling off his last 16 million or so.
Balsiger tabled A-K while Thomas was in trouble with A-9. The board ran out Q 8 5 5 7 uneventfully, and Thomas was gone.
Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus
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