The 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event started with 6,598 players. Each had their heart set on entering that exclusive playing field known as the "October Nine" and playing for a first place prize of $8,527,982 (with added interest pending); the most coveted piece of custom-designed jewelry in poker history; and the knowledge of besting the best and the best of the worst to stand at the top for a year.
It took over a half million hands and almost two weeks in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event before the famed 'October Nine' were determined. And here they are:
Seat 1: Russell Thomas – Hartford, CT (24,800,000 in chips)
Seat 2: Jacob Balsiger – Tempe, AZ (13,115,000 in chips)
Seat 3: Jeremy Ausmus – Las Vegas, NV (9,805,000 in chips)
Seat 4: Steven Gee – Sacramento, CA (16,860,000 in chips)
Seat 5: Greg Merson – Laurel, MD (28,725,000 in chips)
Seat 6: Jesse Sylvia – West Tisbury, MA (43,875,000 in chips)
Seat 7: Robert Salaburu – San Antonio, TX (15,155,000 in chips)
Seat 8: Andras Koroknai – Debrecen, Hungary (29,375,000 in chips)
Seat 9: Michael Esposito – Seaford, NY (16,260,000 in chips)
The excitement meter was running hot as Day 7 played down from 27 to nine with two women still in the field when 18 players were left: Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille. Hille exited in 11th place and Baumann earned the devastating bubble in 10th place. Great effort Ladies! See you next year.
The Main Event is on a 102-day recess and the nine finalists get to spend that recess catching up on life with family and friends, being interviewed at least a 1,000 or so times, and just taking advantage of the time and place that poker has elevated them to. Life in the desert is good!
Each of the October Nine is guaranteed $754,798 in prize money and seven of them will become millionaires when play resumes on October 29th-30th, 2012, in Las Vegas at the Rio. The championship finale became the October Nine due to this year's U.S. presidential election.
The noise racing around social media from some of the poker crowd could be described as a whine. They are saying there are no big names to root for in this Final Table Nine; the players are all unknowns. That simply is not true. The October Nine are now known, recorded in history, and by next year's series, they could be the biggest names on the poker tournament circuit. Congratulations go out to the October Nine.
Read the Final Table and WSOP statistics at the wsop.com.
Sarah Grant at PokerNews.com visits with the October Nine chip leader Jesse Sylvia, catch it here:
Recap the hand play with PokerNews Live Reporting.