When the last 15 players at the 2012 WSOP Main Event went for their dinner break, two female players among them – Elisabeth Hille and Gaelle Baumann – were set to rewrite poker history. Each of them was guaranteed a payday of $465,159 (minimum) when Level 33 started, the largest amount to be won by a female player at the WSOP Main Event. Prior to this, the biggest payday was $400,000 which Tiffany Williamson walked away with for her 15th place finish at the 2005 WSOP Main Event.
By the end of Level 34, which marked the formation of the October Nine, the two female players had been sent to the rails. Baumann and Hille were the bubble girls who finished in 10th and 11th places respectively, leaving the table with $590,442 each. If either player had made it to the October Nine, it would have been the first time that a female player reached the final table of a Main Event since Barbara Enright back in 1995.
Hille Sent to the Rail
Hille was eliminated when she went up against Andras Koroknai. When the fateful hand started, Koroknai made a 605,000 raise from the hijack position. Hille followed it up from the cut-off with a 3-bet that saw her go all-in with 3.4 million. Action folded to her opponent, after which he made a call that led Hille to the end of her 2012 WSOP journey. Koroknai’s 7-7 bested Hille’s A-Q on a J-4-3-K-3 board where he made a two pair. With Hille’s elimination, Koroknai’s stack went up by 23 million.
Baumann’s Double Through and Elimination
Baumann was the next to leave the table in 10th place. Before entering the hand that eliminated her, she doubled through Greg Merson, whose latest win at Event 57 saw him bag $1.1 million. Steven Gee made a 700,000 pre-flop raise on the button. Merson went into the tank from the small blind and came out with a raise of 1.8 million.
From the big blind, Baumann went all-in with 1.78 million, which forced Gee to fold. This left Baumann and Merson in the hand. Bauman had a K-K which she played against the J-9 in Merson’s hand. On a board with J-7-5-T-2, Baumann had the top pair which helped her double-up to accumulate 4.6 million. Though Merson lost more than 2 million to her, it did little to make a dent in his chip stack which was strong at 27.7 million.
Baumann’s elimination came at the hands of the same man who sent Hille to the rails. With a chip count slightly in excess of 5 million, Baumann went all-in pre-flop from the hi-jack. From the small blind, Koroknai called. Their opponents mucked and when the two players showed their hands, Baumann’s A-9 was trumped by Koroknai’s A-J on a board that read Q-Q-3-8-K. Baumann’s elimination saw the final table set.
Other Notable Hands on Level 34
Esposito vs Koroknai: Michael Esposito hacked down Koroknai’s chip stack when they faced a table with K-7-6. Esposito made a 500,000 bet which his opponent called. The turn brought a J and Esposito wagered 1 million while Koroknai called. The river showed 8, and Esposito added 2 million only to see his opponent do the same. When the hand reached showdown, Esposito revealed 4-5 and his opponent mucked to bring down his stack to 5.5 million. Esposito started the next hand with more than 20 million.
Koroknai vs Wong: A little after losing close to half his chips, Koroknai played against Wong, who opened with 405,000. Koroknai made an all-in 3-bet that had him add 4.4 million to the pot. Wong called with Ad-Th, which was stronger than his opponent’s As-9s. However, when the board showed Ks-Js-3c-Ah-8s, Koroknai got the pot and doubled through Wong to make a 9.3 million stack.
Sylvia vs Salaburu: After they added more than 28 million to the pot, Sylvia and Salaburu showed their cards. The former had K-Q, which was threatened by the J-J in the latter’s hand. Sylvia improved his hand when K-8-4 hit the board. Then there was no looking back for Sylvia, who went up 17 million chips when a 6 and 9 landed on the table.
October Nine for the WSOP Main Event
The nine players who will participate in October Nine are – Esposito, Koroknai, Robert Salaburu, Jesse Sylvia, Merson, Gee, Jeremy Ausmus, Jacob Balsiger and Russell Thomas. They will contend for the top spot which will be rewarded by $8.5 million in prize money. Among the nine, Merson is the only contender for the title of the WSOP Player of the Year (POY). The title winner is chosen based on the cumulative performance measures players receive for open bracelet events.
POY List at the WSOP
The top five on the POY list are – Phil Ivey at the top with 568.70 points, which places him far ahead of the nearest contender, John Monette who has 524.25points. Antonio Esfandiari is close behind with 513 points, David Baker with 508 and Phil Hellmuth with 500. Merson is a step below Michael Mizrachi, placed seventh on the list. Merson is followed by the only female player in the POY top ten – Vanessa Selbst. Timothy Adams and Andrew Frankenberger are the remaining two players.