Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting Poker Strategy

World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Profile -- Jesse Sylvia

Chip Leader Looking To Win $8.5 Million and Become Next World Champion


Jesse Sylvia will enter the 2012 World Series of Poker main event final table as the chip leader, with his 43,875,000 representing approximately 22% of the chips in play. The 26-year old American’s biggest previous score was a runner-up finish in a Caesar’s Palace $225 buy-in event for $15,000. Now, he’s a favorite to capture the $8.5 million first-place prize and the title of 2012 WSOP main event champion.

Sylvia’s late-game rise to the lead got started when he won a massive coin flip when his KSpade SuitQHeart Suit overcame Robert Saluburu’s pocket jacks to double his stack to 17 million, and he continued to build from there.

“It’s very exciting to have the chip lead. A lot can still happen, and a lot will happen, but it leaves me room for bad stuff to happen and I can still recover, which is all I can ask for in a tournament,” said Sylvia. “The structure has been more than amazing, and I have stack right now where, some things can wrong and I’ll still be able to push my edges. I think I have a big edge, so I’m going to go ahead and keep doing that.”

The West Tisbury, Massachusetts native has been a professional live cash game player for a number of years. In 2010 he rented a place in Las Vegas during the World Series with a few online poker players, including fellow October Niner Russell Thomas, who Sylvia credits as being a huge formative influence on his poker game.

With a nearly $7.8 million difference between finishing ninth and winning, Sylvia decided to seek out the coaching of two-time gold bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst to help develop his tournament game and give himself the best shot to convert his chip lead into a win.

Selbst finished 73rd in this event herself, and along the way was able to spend a number of hours at the table with Sylvia and some of his final table opponents.

“We played together a little bit on day 6, and we met there,” said Selbst. “He is going into the final table with the chip lead, and I’ve had a number of times when I have had the chiplead going into the final table I have had good results based on that, so I think he was interested to hear my thoughts and work with me.”

With his experience as a cash game player, his coaching from Selbst and the chip lead, Sylvia is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with at this final table.