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2012 World Series of Poker

  • Greg Merson of Laurel, Md., with stacks of cash and his championship bracelet after winning the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event at The Rio on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Merson takes home the bracelet and $8.5 million.

    WSOP blog: Greg Merson crowned champion after 12-hour session

    October 30, 2012

    The best player won the grand prize in the end. Greg Merson became the 2012 world champion of poker about 5:45 a.m. today at the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio.

  • Greg Merson, left, stacks chips after winning a pot during the World Series of Poker Main Event final table at the Rio on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. Jesse Sylvia is at right.

    Budding superstar Greg Merson takes chip lead at World Series of Poker

    October 30, 2012

    The one poker professional capable of shifting attention away from the game’s world championship final table with his mere presence sauntered into the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio Monday evening.

  • Play begins at the World Series of Poker Main Event final table at the Rio on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012.

    WSOP blog: Merson, Sylvia and Balsiger return today to play for title

    October 29, 2012

    They’ve spent the last three months obsessing over this moment. Since securing their spot at the World Series of Poker Main Event final table in July, the nine players have thought about today endlessly. They’ve studied everyone else at the table, watched ESPN footage of the earlier stages of the tournament and dreamt about winning the $8.5 million first-place prize.

  • Members of the October Nine reach for the championship bracelet held by Jack Effel, World Series of Poker tournament director, after making the final table in the World Series of Poker's $10,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas Hold'em main event at the Rio Monday, July 17, 2012. From left are: Russell Thomas, Jacob Balsiger, Jeremy Ausmus, Steven Gee, Greg Merson, Jesse Sylvia, Robert Salaburu, Andras Koroknai and Michael Esposito. All the players are from the United States except Koroknai who is from Hungary.

    A rundown of the 9 vying for $8.5 million at the World Series of Poker

    October 29, 2012

    The poker world will immortalize one of the nine players who take the stage at the Rio’s Penn & Teller Theater Monday evening. Winning the World Series of Poker Main Event means more than the jaw-dropping $8,531,853 payout.

  • Members of the October Nine pose after making the final table in the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas Hold'Em main event at the Rio Tuesday, July 17, 2012. From left are: RussellThomas, Jacob Balsiger, Jeremy Ausmus, Steven Gee, Greg Merson, Jesse Sylvia, Robert Salaburu, Andras Koroknai and Michael Esposito. All the players are from the United States except Koroknai who is from Hungary. STEVE MARCUS

    Short-stacked local pro at World Series of Poker final table plays his own way

    October 27, 2012

    World Series of Poker final table member Jeremy Ausmus doesn't fit the stereotype of most young professional poker players.

  • Jacob Balsiger, left, 21, of Tempe, Ariz., and Las Vegas resident Jeremy Ausmus compete in the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas hold'em main event at the Rio on July 16, 2012.

    Birth of second child could coincide with winning millions for local poker pro

    July 31, 2012

    The last time Jeremy Ausmus and his wife, Adria, went for a pregnancy checkup, the doctor said the baby was ahead of schedule and could come a few days before the Nov. 3 due date. Ausmus, a 32-year-old local professional poker player, thought nothing of the news at the time. It wasn’t until another life-changing event occurred weeks later that he realized a conflict.

  • Gaelle Baumann, left, of France prepares to leave the stage after getting knocked out of the World Series of Poker's $10,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas Hold'em main event at the Rio Tuesday, July 17, 2012. Baumann finished in 10th place, just missing the final table. At right players Jesse Sylvia and Russell Thomas, right, celebrate.

    Former roommates, close friends advance to WSOP Main Event final table

    July 17, 2012

    It got to the point where Jesse Sylvia expected a text message a few minutes before the dinner break every day of the World Series of Poker Main Event. Sylvia would look down at his phone, without fail, and find some variation of “where do you want to eat?” from a certain one of his pals. That friend was Russell Thomas, who also happened to be playing in poker’s world championship event. “We would talk about chip counts, ” Sylvia said. “Not really discuss poker, but get each other pumped up to go on.”

  • Members of the October Nine pose after making the final table in the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas Hold'Em main event at the Rio Tuesday, July 17, 2012. From left are: RussellThomas, Jacob Balsiger, Jeremy Ausmus, Steven Gee, Greg Merson, Jesse Sylvia, Robert Salaburu, Andras Koroknai and Michael Esposito. All the players are from the United States except Koroknai who is from Hungary.

    WSOP live blog: Eight Americans out of final nine in Main Event

    July 16, 2012

    After playing nearly 70 hours worth of poker over the last week, nine players could finally exhale early Tuesday morning at the Rio. The tension is over until October. A new group of nine is headed to the final table in poker's world championship, the 2012 WSOP Main Event, and getting a check for ninth-place money of $754,798 in the interim.

  • Poker chips are divided for dealers prior to the start of play on the first day of the World Series of Poker Main Event Saturday, July 7, 2012, at the Rio in Las Vegas.

    A look at the WSOP Main Event leaderboard entering the final day

    July 16, 2012

    For the 11th straight year, someone other than a well-known professional will win poker’s world championship.

  • Sam Holden plays in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas on Thursday, July 12, 2012.

    Two former final table members among 97 players still alive in WSOP Main Event

    July 15, 2012

    Since the World Series of Poker Main Event shifted its format to hold the November Nine four years ago, no player has advanced to the final table twice. No one has really even come close, as 2008 winner Peter Eastgate’s 78th place in 2009 and 2008 fourth-place finisher Dennis Phillips’ 45th in 2009 are the only two repeat top-100 showings among those to make the November Nine.

  • A player shields his cards next to his bling-bedazzled mug while playing poker on the first day of the World Series of Poker Main Event Saturday, July 7, 2012, at the Rio in Las Vegas.

    WSOP Main Event now in the money after four-way tie for 666th place

    July 13, 2012

    With the World Series of Poker Main Event beginning to pay out 666 players on Friday the 13th, something out of the ordinary was bound to happen. The money bubble in the 2012 world championship of poker burst early during the fourth day of play at the Rio in an unlikely fashion. Four players — David Kelley, Dane Lomas, Steve Rosen and Desmond Portano — busted out on the same hand to tie for 666th place.

  • Antonio Esfandiari plays in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas on Thursday, July 12, 2012.

    10 players to watch in World Series of Poker Main Event as money bubble nears

    July 13, 2012

    The average chip count for the nine players who eventually reach the World Series of Poker Main Event final table will come in at approximately 22 million. At the end of play Thursday, with around 700 players left out of a starting field of 6,598 at the Rio, only one player had more than 1 million chips. The discrepancy illustrates how it’s way too early to start penciling anyone in for the final table, which should emerge sometime Tuesday morning.

  • Poker chips are divided for dealers prior to the start of play on the first day of the World Series of Poker Main Event Saturday, July 7, 2012, at the Rio in Las Vegas.

    WSOP Main Event rolling along, will reach final table faster than usual

    July 12, 2012

    Approximately 40 percent of the World Series of Poker Main Event field remains after the last batch of players completed their second day of action Wednesday at the Rio. By Friday, only six days since play began, the tournament is expected to enter the money with 666 players earning payouts. The final table of nine will likely emerge sometime Tuesday morning.

  • Phil Ivey Jr. competes during the opening day of the World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players Championship tournament at the Rio Sunday, June 24, 2012.

    Phil Ivey among thousands of hopefuls returning for Day 2B of WSOP Main Event

    July 11, 2012

    In recent years at the World Series of Poker, the player who has gotten the most attention during preliminary tournaments has validated the success with a deep run in the Main Event. Ben Lamb won his first bracelet and made two other final tables last year before advancing to the November Nine final table. In 2010, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi pulled off the same feat.

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