Save for the final table, which will play from October 28th–30th, the 2012 WSOP Main Event is over with. And this gives us an opportunity to reflect on yet another successful chapter in the world’s most prestigious poker tournament. That said, let’s take a comprehensive look at the 2012 WSOP Main Event, discuss some of the records that were set, and talk about the tourney’s overall historic milestones.
WSOP From Start to Finish
WSOP Day 1a/b/c – A Record falls
The 2012 Main Event began pretty strong with 1,066 players buying into Day 1a. Defending Main Event champion Pius Heinz was the most notable player out of the 657 runners to make it through the first flight. Additionally, Austria’s William John grabbed what would become the overall Day 1 lead with 266,700 chips.
Day 1b produced 2,114 entrants, and John Hoang ended as the overall chip leader with 180k chips. Daniel Negreanu also made some noise after ending up in ninth place with 140,075 chips. Day 1c was especially significant because 3,418 players bought into this flight, which was a single-day record for the Main Event. Overall, 6,598 players entered the tournament – the fifth largest field in Main Event history – and they generated a $62,021,200 prize pool. It’s also worth mentioning that the top finisher will be collecting an $8.5 million top prize.
WSOP Day 2a/b and 2c – Leading Lady
Day 2a/b began with 2,004 players, and it ended with 842 players and a female chip leader. Frenchwoman Gaelle Baumann bolted out to the lead after collecting 505,800 chips. Noted pro player Shaun Deeb also had a noteworthy performance since he finished the day in third with 460,900 chips. Day 2c started with 2,300 grinders, 900 players survived, and Michael Hack led with over 457,000 chips.
WSOP Day 3 – Farewell Champions
With the Main Event field now combined for the first time, 1,738 players took the felt and 720 of them made it through the third day. A number of former champions fell by the wayside on Day 3 including Heinz (2011), Peter Eastgate (2008), Jerry Yang (2007), Robert Varkonyi (2002) and Dan Harrington (1995). Online poker pro Dave D’Alessandro made his presence known when he took the lead with 1.1 million chips.
WSOP Day 4 – A Cursed Day?
The fourth day of the 2012 Main Event was not a good time to be superstitious. Aside from the fact that it was Friday the 13th, the money bubble also burst on this day with 666 players guaranteed to cash. Moving past the spookiness, 282 players survived and online poker pro Paul Volpe took the lead with 2.75 million chips. The previous day’s leader, D’Alessandro, also fared well since he was third with a chip stack of 2.09 million. Female Elisabeth Hille became a hotly-discussed topic too because she was sitting in sixth place with 2.01 million chips.
WSOP Day 5 –Under 100
Day 5 of the tournament saw the field trimmed down from 282 players to just 97 – each of which was guaranteed at least $62,021. Everybody was focused on Kyle Keranen who took over the chip lead with a stack of 6.63 million; he was closely followed by Robert Salaburu who had 6.15 million chips. Baumann also jumped back into the thick of things when she ended the day in seventh place with a stack of 3.86 million.
WSOP Day 6 – Oh Canada
Although rarely discussed over the first five days, Canada’s Marc Ladouceur jumped to the forefront of the 2012 Main Event when he grabbed a solid lead with 15.87 million chips; Daniel Strelitz was trailing him in second with a stack of 12.79 million. With the field now down to 27 players, both Hille (5th, 9.77m) and Baumann (20th, 5.53m) were both looking to become the second woman in history to make a Main Event final table (not counting Annette Obrestad’s 2007 WSOPE Main Event win).
WSOP Day 7 – Final Table set
27 hopefuls began Day 7 with the $8.5 million top prize on their minds, and only nine players would stay alive. Unfortunately for Ladouceur, he would not be moving on to the Main Event final table since he busted out in 13th place ($465,159). Hille didn’t last much longer than him since she busted out in 11th place ($590,442). Baumann also barely missed her chance at making history too after finishing 10th ($590,442).
On a positive note, Las Vegas cash game pro Jesse Sylvia is the 2012 Main Event final table leader with 43.875 million chips. Andras Koroknai also had a very good performance after starting the day in 24th place, but finishing up second with a stack of 29.375 million; the Hungarian is the only non-American sill remaining. Now let’s take a complete look at the final table chip counts.
2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table
1. Jesse Sylvia – 43,875,000
2. Andras Koroknai – 29,375,000
3. Greg Merson – 28,725,000
4. Russell Thomas – 24,800,000
5. Steven Gee – 16,860,000
6. Michael Esposito – 16,260,000
7. Robert Salaburu – 15,155,000
8. Jacob Balsiger – 13,115,000
9. Jeremy Ausmus – 9,805,000
History made…..and almost made
As we discussed before, the 2012 WSOP quickly set a record when Day 1c featured the largest flight in history with 3,418 players. Furthermore, the 6,598 total players (fifth biggest field ever) proved that the Main Event is still extremely popular across the world.
Unfortunately, some of the greatest history was missed when both Hille and Baumann were eliminated right before the final table. If either had been one of the last nine players, they would have joined Barbara Enright as only the second woman ever to reach a Main Event final table. Of course, it’s worth noting that the Hall of Famer Enright only had a 273-player field to contend with when she finished fifth place in 1995 ($114,800). This being said, you could argue that Baumann and Hille have the most impressive Main Event finishes in history since they were dealing with 6,598 players.
One thing that can’t be argued though is that these two garnered the best collective finish among two females. The 2000 WSOP Main Event saw the previous best duo when Kathy Liebert took 17th place and Annie Duke finished in 10th place; Baumann (10th) and Hille (11th) combine to beat this record. Want more history from Baumann/Hille? They’re also tied for the largest cash by a woman in the Main Event with $590,442.
Moving away from the ladies, another piece of WSOP history that was made this year included Koroknai’s final table run. Besides being the only non US-player still alive, he’s also the first Hungarian to make a WSOP Main Event final table. It’s only fitting too because the Debrecen, Hungary native became the first Hungarian WPT champion in 2010 when he won the L.A. Poker Classic title ($1,788,040).
Past WSOP Main Event Milestones
Now that we’ve thoroughly covered the 2012 WSOP Main Event, it’s worth taking a look back at some of the previous ME milestones. From Jamie Gold’s monster cash to Johnny Chan’s immortalized back-to-back feat, here are the most notable Main Event records and accomplishments. Some of which you can find in this awesome Main Event World Series Of Poker infographic, one of many more to come for all special events and poker related topics provided to you by http://www.pokeronamac.com/.
Like Father like Son – Irishman Donnacha O’Dea made his first mark in the poker world when he finished sixth place in the 1983 WSOP Main Event ($43,200). Amazingly, his son, Eoghan O’Dea, also finished sixth place in the 2011 Main Event ($1,720,831).
Largest WSOP Main Event Cash – Jamie Gold still holds the record for the biggest ME cash since he earned $12 million for winning the 2006 Main Event.
Wunderkind – Moving to WSOPE records, Annette Obrestad pulled off a very impressive feat when she captured the 2007 WSOPE Main Event title along with £1,000,000 ($2,013,734). This made her the youngest gold bracelet winner ever at 18 years and 364 days old.
Youngest Main Event Champ – As for the WSOP, Joe Cada is the youngest winner in Main Event history since he captured the 2009 title at 21 years and 357 days old ($8,547,044). Just one year prior to this, 22-year-old Peter Eastgate set the record for youngest Main Event winner.
Oldest Main Event Player – On the opposite end of the spectrum from Cada and Obrestad is Jack Ury; the 97-year-old played in the 2010 WSOP Main Event and remains the tournament’s oldest player.
Oldest Main Event Winner – While Johnny Moss may not have been as old Ury when he played the 1974 WSOP Main Event, he is the oldest ME winner; Moss was almost 67 years old when he won.
Chip and a Chair – There are plenty of WSOP champions, but perhaps none can measure up to the legend of 1982 Main Event winner Jack “Treetop” Strauss. Down to just one $500 chip, Strauss managed to battle back and win the $520,000 top prize. Afterward, he coined the unforgettable phrase “chip and a chair” after saying that as long as he had a chip and a chair, he’d never give up.
Movie-Worthy – While Johnny Chan isn’t the only back-to-back WSOP Main Event winner, his consecutive victories in 1987 and ‘88 are perhaps the best known. After all, the cult classic poker film “Rounders” showed main character Mike McDermott watching Chan’s 1988 victory on TV during one scene.
Three-Time Winners – Chan just narrowly missed becoming part of the three-time WSOP Main Event winners club. This very small group includes Johnny Moss (1970, 1971, 1974) and Stu Ungar (1980, 1981, 1997).
Most Main Event Cashes – Berry Johnston has cashed an unparalleled 10 times in the WSOP Main Event. Johnston’s most notable cash includes winning the 1986 WSOP Main Event, which earned him $570,000.