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2012 World Series of Poker October Nine: PokerNews Staff Predictions

The 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table will take place on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 29 and 30, and we at PokerNews are understandably excited. We decided to take some time to make our predictions on this year's October Nine. After a series of algorithms, some right, some wrong, we've finally come up with the best formula for making the right decisions. Well, we hope at least one of us did.

Elaine Chaivarlis, Editor in Chief

1st: Jeremy Ausmus
2nd: Steven Gee
3rd: Andras Koroknai
4th: Jesse Sylvia
5th: Jacob Balsiger
6th: Michael Esposito
7th: Russell Thomas
8th: Greg Merson
9th: Robert Salaburu

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

Jesse Sylvia. He has enough chips to be active.

Who will be the tightest?

Jeremy Ausmus.

Who will have the best rail and why?

Jacob Balsiger. He's young and his college friends will definitely be rowdy and the life of the party.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Monday?

13

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

3

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

132

Who do you think would make the best poker ambassador if they were to win?

Jeremy Ausmus. Hello! I picked him to win!

Give us a bold prediction.

Contrary to my answer to "how many hours will it take to get to three-handed play," if I'm going bold here, I'll say we're in and out on Monday in seven hours. A girl can dream right?

Sarah Grant, PokerNews Producer/Hostess

1st: Greg Merson
2nd: Robert Salaburu
3rd: Jesse Sylvia
4th: Russell Thomas
5th: Steven Gee
6th: Andras Koroknai
7th: Michael Esposito
8th: Jacob Balsiger
9th: Jeremy Ausmus

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

Jesse Sylvia will probably be the most active. He has the most chips and he is already a very involved player. Shoving 35 bigs with {K-}{J-} is a boss move and four-betting preflop with {10-}{5-} is no slouch move either, but depending on how the chip lead shifts, this could change easily.

Who will be the tightest?

Michael Esposito. He is toward the bottom of the chip counts, so he can't be too active. He seems to play relatively cautiously. Having been a guy working behind a desk in the financial world before, it makes sense that he will be able to weigh the decisions of each situation vs. the monetary opportunity cost.

Who will have the best rail and why?

Jesse Sylvia will have the best rail. He had an amazing rail before he even got to the final table. He clearly has a huge support system. Plus the nickname "Jesse James" should warrant some awesome outfits!

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Monday?

11 hours. Anything less than that will be amazing for the media.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

3 hours. The difference between being runner-up and finishing third is huge. So, this will take almost as long as heads-up.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

3.5 hours. I don't know how many hands that is. It's a lot of money so it won't go crazy right off but after three hours there must eventually end up an all in and a win situation. Please. Although if it is Greg Merson versus Rob Salaburu, which I predicted, then it won't be long at all. It will be short and fantastic to watch 1.5 hours of play.

Who do you think would make the best poker ambassador if they were to win?

This is such a hard question because I could give reasons why any of them would be. Here are a few: Jesse Sylvia would be a great poker ambassador because he is very approachable. Moreover, he is very capable of being open and honest about his game. Steven Gee is so genuine and excited that I think he would bring a joyous innocence that many poker players don't have anymore (even though he is one of two at the final table to already have won a bracelet). Greg Merson has always been so available to poker media and a gentle genius. He would be wonderful.

That being said, I love a little punk. I think Robert Salaburu would be pretty fun. He is wild and interesting to watch. I interviewed him at the WinStar this year and when I asked how he had been preparing he told me that he really hadn't. He had just been partying. Now that is a great guy to throw deep into the poker world. And, in my opinion, the kind of guy that was originally attracted to this game.

Chad Holloway, Senior News Editor

1st: Jesse Sylvia
2nd: Greg Merson
3rd: Steven Gee
4th: Russell Thomas
5th: Jacob Balsiger
6th: Andras Koroknai
7th: Robert Salaburu
8th: Michael Esposito
9th: Jeremy Ausmus

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

Robert Salaburu. He seems to have a "go-big-or-go-home" attitude. If so, his stay could be short lived, but then again it could prove wildly entertaining.

Who will be the tightest?

Andras Koroknai. He was involved in some controversial hands leading up to the October Nine, but now that he's there with a decent stack, I expect he'll sit on it until the short stacks fall.

Who will have the best rail and why?

Jesse Sylvia. I had the chance to interview him and I understand he'll have between 200 to 300 people there. He has the chip lead, so that rail will likely be there for awhile. I'm not sure what their gimmick will be, maybe singing Cher's Just Like Jesse James, but I'm sure it'll prove entertaining.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Monday?

The stacks are deep, so players better settle in for the long haul on Monday. I'd be surprised if it took less than 12 hours.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

Ben Lamb busted in third fairly fast last year, but I don't expect a repeat this year barring a cooler. Instead, think it'll take a solid three hours for the third-place finisher to be determined.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

Last year was a marathon, but I think this year will be relatively quick. I'll say 22 hands.

Who do you think would make the best poker ambassador if they were to win?

There are a lot of guys who'd do a good job. I think Jesse Sylvia would be the most eager and enthusiastic, but I fear his win wouldn't do too much for the game. He might end up getting lumped in with other young winners such as Joe Cada and Jonathan Duhamel. On the other hand, if Steven Gee were to win, it might resonate with the older generation, as well as the Asia Pacific region where poker is currently booming.

Give us a bold prediction.

Steven Gee is going to surprise a lot of people. Many of the players at the table consider him to be the fish, but if they're not careful they may end up sending a lot of chips his way. You see, Gee has been playing poker for decades, and he has valuable final table experience from his bracelet win back in 2010. Granted that was in a $1,000 event, but it came after clearing a huge field.

Rich Ryan, Senior Staff Writer, Producer

1st: Greg Merson
2nd: Andras Koroknai
3rd: Steven Gee
4th: Russell Thomas
5th: Jacob Balsiger
6th: Jesse Sylvia
7th: Michael Esposito
8th: Jeremy Ausmus
9th: Robert Salaburu

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

Jesse Sylvia. He's been working with Vanessa Selbst, he has the chip lead, and did you see that cold four-bet with {10-}{5-}?

Who will be the tightest?

Steven Gee or Michael Esposito. The older players at the Main Event final table always find a way to climb up the pay ladder.

Who will have the best rail and why?

Robert Salaburu. Everybody I've talked to the past two weeks seems to have a piece of Salaburu — some of them for potentially life-changing money. Remember Johnny Bax cheering on Joe Cada in 2009? As they say, money talks.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Monday?

Knowing the way I run while covering final tables, I'll set the line at 11 hours...and I like the over.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

If it's four-handed, four hours. If it's three-handed, two hours.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

I'll guess 222 hands. Buckle up.

Who do you think would make the best poker ambassador if they were to win?

It's a toss up between Greg Merson and Russell Thomas. I think both players have demonstrated during the break that they're ready and willing to take the torch. I also think that The Final Table could be huge if Thomas wins.

Give us a bold prediction.

Andras Koroknai is going to wake up with aces facing a cold four-bet jam, but before he can call, Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille are going to run out of the tunnel WWE style and DDT him through the table. While he's knocked out, the clock will be called on him and his hand will be declared dead.

Donnie Peters, Global Live Reporting Manager

1st: Greg Merson
2nd: Jesse Sylvia
3rd: Russell Thomas
4th: Michael Esposito
5th: Jeremy Ausmus
6th: Robert Salaburu
7th: Andras Koroknai
8th: Steven Gee
9th: Jacob Balsiger

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

Jesse Sylvia should be the most active player to begin with given his big chip lead, but Robert Salaburu could take some shots at reraising or shoving against him as he has position on Sylvia, which could slow him down. I also expect Andras Koroknai and Greg Merson to take roles as aggressors at the table, but not as much as Sylvia, unless either of them can take a good chunk of chips from the chip leader.

Who will be the tightest?

This one's a toss up between Steven Gee and Michael Esposito. I think there will be spots where Gee opts to fold hands when he would end up being at risk, which makes me think he'll be the tighter one. Esposito seems like the type of guy to just shrug things off and stick his chips in.

Who will have the best rail and why?

Greg Merson or Robert Salaburu will have by far the best rails. Merson will have a bunch of top poker players in his corner along with the one and only Michael Phelps. Salaburu's rail should be a bit more rowdy, and the longer he stays in the mix, the better the atmosphere will be. With Salaburu's rail, I hope the Rio doesn't run out of alcohol.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Monday?

9 hours.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

I'll say two hours, but this is extremely hard to gauge as you don't know the three-handed chip counts.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

Once again, I'm not so sure because you don't know what the chip counts will be like, or who have made it down to this point. I'll say 48, though. Shot in the dark.

Who do you think would make the best poker ambassador if they were to win?

I don't like this question. Why? Well, all players who make the WSOP Main Event Final Table have a few months to turn themselves into poker ambassadors. I'm afraid none of them really seemed to do so. Russell Thomas came out with a small YouTube series on his training leading up to the final table, and Greg Merson said on the PokerNews Podcast that he'd like to embrace the game more through being an ambassador, but something tells me they will be nothing like a Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem or Jonathan Duhamel. Heck, even Dennis Phillips is world's better as a poker ambassador than I feel any of these players would be.

During the months off, you can be an ambassador to the game of poker leading up to the final table. There are nine of these players that could put forth a little effort for the betterment of the game, but none really have. That said, I'm not sure they really have what it takes to really be an ambassador to the game.

Give us a bold prediction.

There will be a four-way all-in during the final table that results in a three-player elimination.

Mickey Doft, Senior Tournament Reporter

1st: Greg Merson
2nd: Russell Thomas
3rd: Robert Salaburu
4th: Jesse Sylvia
5th: Andras Koroknai
6th: Michael Esposito
7th: Steven Gee
8th: Jeremy Ausmus
9th: Jacob Balsiger

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

Jesse Sylvia. If the ten-five off-suit hand on the final table bubble was any indication, nothing is going to stop him from playing fast with the big stack.

Who will be the tightest?

Jeremy Ausmus. Even though he has 30 big blinds, he'll have to be selective with Merson and Sylvia to his left.

Who will have the best rail and why?

Going with Merson here. I covered his final table when he won his bracelet. It was rowdy as hell then and it'll be multiplied this time around.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Monday?

9 hours.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

Well, it took four hands last year. I think another big hand will happen early three-handed, so less than an hour.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

It's going to take a while with so much on the line. Lets go with the same as last year, 119.

Who do you think would make the best poker ambassador if they were to win?

Tough to answer. I see a great poker ambassador continuing to play many events and have success. For that reason, I will go with Merson.

Give us a bold prediction.

A fight breaks out in the audience. Just a feeling.

Have picks of your own? Let us know below, and as always, follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.

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