Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Profile -- Russell Thomas

24-Year-Old Actuary Enters Final Table Third In Chips


Russell Thomas enters the 2012 World Series of Poker main event final table with 24,800,000 in chips, which puts him third of nine. As far as his table position is concerned, he has the two shortest stacks directly to his left in Jacob Balsiger (13,115,000) and Jeremy Ausmus (9,805,000).

Thomas also once lived with chip leader Jess Sylvia while the two friends rented a place in Las Vegas to play the 2010 WSOP.

The 24-year-old from Hartford, Connecticut has worked for two years as an actuary, dealing with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty for a health insurance company. He graduated from Temple University, and his background in math could prove valuable, with more than $27 million dollars still to play for and $8,531,853 set to go to the winner.

His academic training is not the only asset Thomas will bring to this final table. He has three World Series of Poker cashes, including a fifth-place finish in a WSOP $1,500 no-limit hold’em six-max event in 2010. His total tournament earnings outside of this main event total $137,199. He also has years of experience playing online and live cash games, but says he still has a lot to learn about tournament poker.

In preparation for this massive final table, Thomas has hired WSOP gold bracelet winner Jason Somerville as a coach, and has undergone an intensive three-month training program while living with Somerville in Stony Brook, New York.

“We spent all of August working general poker concepts… In September we honed in on poker tournament concepts, and then in October we ran final table simulations, getting more and more focused on the main event final table itself,” Somerville told CardPlayer. “About 14 or 15 people flew in for the first 20 days of October, and we just played the final table out ten different times, simulating the actual final table and talking about the spots that arose. I think that experience, for Russ, is going to be invaluable.”

Somerville also helped produce a short documentary series documenting Thomas’ preparation titled “The Final Table,” which can be found on his youtube channel.

For complete coverage of the summer poker festival, check out our WSOP landing page.