The 2012 World Series of Poker (WSOP) $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament started with 48 well-to-do players. Today, the final eight can relax a little. They have all made the money. Though who knows, the nerves might start going even more now that the $18 million first prize is within arm’s reach. It should be a great final table, with an interesting mix of personalities, professional players, and strong amateurs. Well out in front of the field heading into final table are Antonio Esfandiari and Sam Trickett, with 39.925 million and 37 million chips, respectively.
The “official” final table is eight-handed, though let’s not feel too sorry for the man who finished 9th, Mike Sexton. The World Poker Tour announcer and “ambassador of poker” may have become the final table “bubble boy” when his pair of Jacks couldn’t beat Esfandiari’s two pair, but he still cashed, profiting over $100,000.
So while Sexton is likely experiencing some pain for not being able to advance at least a few spots further, the truly heartbroken person in this whole thing is Ilya Bulychev, the man who was eliminated in 10th place, one spot before the money. He moved all-in pre-flop for his last 2.55 million with Q♦-6♦ and was called by Trickett, who had K♣-7♥. The 7♦ flopped and though Bulychev had a flush draw, he was unable to find that final diamond or Queen to double-up.
In an interview with the WSOP’s Nolan Dalla, Bulychev was noticeably upset. When asked if he still would’ve flown over from Russia and ponied up $1 million if he knew ahead of time that he would place 10th, Bulychev said simply, “No.”
Making it so far was no consolation. “I do not think of it as any satisfaction,” he said. “The only satisfaction is with the prizes and the results — like first place or second place. That is the satisfaction, anywhere before that is no satisfaction.”
Here is a look at the eight final table members, arranged by seat:
Seat 1: Guy Laliberté (21,700,000 chips) – the creator and CEO of Cirque du Soleil and brains behind this legendary event. The 52-year old, in addition to his business career and philanthropy, is an avid high stakes poker player and was frequently seen on the television show “High Stakes Poker.”
Seat 2: Brain Rast (11,350,000) – Rast was the chip leader going into Monday and while he did not add many chips to his stack, he is still in good shape, sitting in fourth place. Rast was a double bracelet winner in last year’s WSOP, winning both a $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event and the prestigious $50,000 Poker Players Championship.
Seat 3: Phil Hellmuth (10,925,000) – not much needs to be said about the “Poker Brat.” He is the WSOP’s all-time leader in bracelets, winning his 12th this year, as well as total lifetime cashes. He won the 1989 WSOP Main Event, defeating Johnny Chan heads-up.
Seat 4: Antonio Esfandiari (39,925,000) – our chip leader is one of those guys who is both a poker “personality” and an excellent player. He has just one WSOP bracelet, though, earned way back in 2004. Esfandiari is a familiar face to poker fans around the world, having made many appearances on poker television shows. Some of those broadcasts include the World Poker Tour, on which he has won two titles.
Seat 5: Bobby Baldwin (7,150,000) – one of the “old guard” of the poker world, Baldwin is the CEO of MGM-Mirage and was a key player in building City Center in Las Vegas. Baldwin won the 1978 WSOP Main Event.
Seat 6: Sam Trickett (37,000,000) – Just 26-years old, Trickett is arguably the most respected and feared player in Britain today. He has never won a WSOP bracelet, but he had a tremendous 2011, winning the A$100,000 No-Limit Hold’em event and finishing 2nd in the A$250,000 Super High Roller event at the Aussie Millions and winning the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event.
Seat 7: Richard Yong (7,475,000) – The oldest player at the final table, the 69-year old Yong is a Chinese businessman who is a familiar face in the nosebleed stakes cash games in Macau.
Seat 8: David Einhorn (8,375,000) – poker fans will remember Einhorn, the Greenlight Capital Founder and President, from his deep run in the 2006 WSOP Main Event. Dressed in blue sweatshirt emblazoned with the hand prints of his children, Einhorn finished 18th and donated his entire $650,000 prize to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
The final table of the Big One for One Drop will begin at noon PST (3:00pm EDT). Fans can watch the proceedings on ESPN2 and ESPN3 starting at 1:00pm PST (4:00pm EDT) and then on ESPN and ESPN3 beginning at 5:00pm PST (8:00pm EDT).