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The WSOP on ESPN: Rob Salaburu Takes Control on Day 7 of the Main Event

Rob Salaburu

ESPN's coverage of the 2012 World Series of Poker continued Tuesday night with two new episodes of the Main Event. Last week, Day 6 ended with only 27 of the original 6,598 still in contention for poker's most coveted bracelet and the $8,527,982 that goes along with it.

This week's coverage began with Marc-Andre Ladouceur in the pole position behind a stack of more than 15.8 million. He was followed by Daniel Strelitz, Rob Salaburu, Russell Thomas, and Elisabeth Hille, who along with Gaelle Baumann was looking to become to first woman to make the Main Event final table since 1995.

Here's a look at the seating assignments when Day 7 began:

TableSeatPlayerChip Counts
Feature1Greg Merson7,435,000
Feature2Jesse Sylvia7,385,000
Feature3Percy Mahatan6,750,000
Feature4Jamie Robbins8,750,000
Feature5Wilfried Harig2,665,000
Feature6Cylus Watson8,500,000
Feature7Elisabeth Hille9,770,000
Feature8David Balkin6,330,000
Feature9Marc-Andre Ladouceur15,875,000
Secondary1Andras Koroknai3,125,000
Secondary2Steven Gee4,830,000
Secondary3Danny Wong6,360,000
Secondary4Paul Volpe2,650,000
Secondary5Robert Salaburu10,915,000
Secondary6Jeremy Ausmus8,300,000
Secondary7Gaelle Baumann6,295,000
Secondary8Yuval Bronshtein9,735,000
Secondary9Robert Corcione8,745,000
Outer1Daniel Strelitz12,790,000
Outer2Russell Thomas9,985,000
Outer3Jacob Balsiger7,330,000
Outer4Jan Heitmann6,390,000
Outer5Michael Esposito7,045,000
Outer6Robert Buckenmayer4,410,000
Outer7Roland Israelashvili5,525,000
Outer8Scott Abrams8,080,000
Outer9Nicco Maag1,300,000

Nicco Maag Eliminated in 27th Place ($294,601): From early position, short stack Nicco Maag shoved for 1.11 million with {A-Hearts}{J-Spades}. Russell Thomas looked him up from middle position with {A-Clubs}{Q-Hearts}, and the rest of the table folded. The flop came down {9-Hearts}{8-Clubs}{4-Clubs}, not giving much help to Maag. The {3-Clubs} turn fell, taking away an out for Maag as Thomas picked up a flush draw. The {2-Clubs} river completed the board, making Maag Day 7's first casualty.

Merson in the Zone: Greg Merson opened to 250,000 from the cutoff with {7-Spades}{6-Clubs} and was called by Jesse Sylvia ({Q-Diamonds}{J-Diamonds}) and Jamie Robbins ({K-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}) from the button and big blind, respectively. The {9-Spades}{7-Clubs}{3-Clubs} was checked to Sylvia who bet 340,000. Only Merson called to see the {6-Hearts} turn, which both players checked. The {5-Diamonds} landed on the river, leading a Merson bet of 525,000. Sylvia represented strength when he raised to 1,140,000, but was unable to shake Merson who called and took it down with his two pair.

Salaburu Takes the Chip Lead: Under the gun, Robert Salaburu raised to 250,000 with {A-Diamonds}{K-Clubs}. Gaelle Baumann called from under-the-gun-plus-two with {10-Spades}{10-Hearts} and the two of them saw a {K-Hearts}{9-Spades}{6-Diamonds} flop. Salaburu, as has become his staple, acted very quickly with a check. A more composed Baumann checked behind, delivering the {7-Hearts} turn where Salaburu immediately bet 300,000. Baumann called, resulting in the {A-Spades} river. Salaburu instantly plopped down 1,000,000 in the pot and received a call from a nonbelieving Baumann, who shipped about 25 percent of her stack to the new chip leader.

Jan Heitmann Eliminated in 26th Place ($294,601): Jan Heitmann opened to 250,000 from early position with {6-Hearts}{6-Clubs} and Daniel Strelitz three-bet to 650,000 from the small blind holding {8-Spades}{8-Clubs}. Heitmann four-bet jammed for 3,100,000, and Strelitz called for just about the rest of his stack. With the bigger pair, Strelitz held up through the {K-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{5-Spades}{K-Spades}{Q-Clubs} board. It was a much-needed boost for Strelitz, having started the day second in chips. However, key losses in pots to Russell Thomas and Michael Esposito had dented his stack in a big way.

Haarig Staves Off Elimination: Germany's Wilfried Harig began the second hour of ESPN's coverage as the shortest stack and wasted little time getting his remaining chips in the middle. With the blinds at 80,000/160,000, Haarig open shoved for 2,915,000 from early position with {6-Clubs}{6-Spades}. He seemed poised to pick up the blinds and antes as action folded over to Greg Merson in the big blind. But Merson peeked down at {Q-Clubs}{Q-Spades} and called instantly. Things looked bleak for Haarig as the dealer rolled out a {10-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{K-Hearts} flop. Haarig needed to make a set or hit running straight cards to stay alive, and the {9-Clubs} gave him a gut-shot draw to add some outs. Sure enough, the {6-Hearts} fell on the river to give Haarig his set of sixes to double through Merson, who was cut down to around 9 million.

Rare Misstep From Bronshtein: Yuval Bronshtein was, arguably, the most accomplished poker player still alive in the tournament, but a crucial all-in situation against Danny Wong cost him nearly half of his stack. Rob Salaburu opened the betting with a raise to 320,000 from under the gun with {A-Spades}{8-Spades} and found calls from Jeremy Ausmus ({A-Clubs}{Q-Clubs}) and Bronshtein ({9-Clubs}{9-Hearts}). Action made its way over to Danny Wong, who moved all in for 4,250,000 with {10-Spades}{10-Clubs}. Salaburu and Ausmus folded, but Bronshtein opted to call and learned the bad news when Wong flipped over the higher pair. The {J-Clubs}{J-Spades}{J-Hearts}{A-Diamonds}{3-Hearts} board kept Wong in front, and he doubled to 9,460,000. Bronshtein was left with 4,640,000, falling from ninth to 18th on the leaderboard.

Merson Versus Hille: The road to Day 7 wasn't an easy one from Greg Merson because Elisabeth Hille was one of the constant barriers in his way. ESPN showed a montage of Merson's struggles against Hille in which he lost four pots to the Norwegian. Said ESPN commentator Norman Chad, "I don't think we've seen him beat her in a pot. It's been like watching when Tom Arnold tried to outmaneuver Rosanne. Ain't gonna happen!" Hille took another pot by outplaying Merson on Day 7 and continued her climb up the charts.

Daniel Strelitz Eliminated in 24th Place: Strelitz's rollercoaster Day 7 came to an end after he made a bold move against Scott Abrams. Abrams opened with a preflop raise to 340,000 from the button, and Strelitz three-bet to 720,000 from the small blind. Abrams fired back with a four-bet to 1,250,000, and Strelitz shoved all in for 6,515,000. Abrams snap-called with {K-Spades}{K-Hearts} and was in excellent shape to knock out Strelitz and his {4-Spades}{4-Hearts}. With 13,350,000 chips in the middle, the dealer revealed a {K-Clubs}{Q-Clubs}{5-Diamonds} flop, giving Abrams a stranglehold on the hand. The {9-Spades} on the turn left Strelitz drawing dead, and he made his way to the rail in 24th place after beginning the day second in chips.

Yuval Bronshtein Eliminated in 23rd Place: Yuval Bronshtein , the next player out the door, raised to 365,000 from under the gun and Jeremy Ausmus moved all in from the small blind, having Bronshtein's stack covered. Bronshtein called off for nearly 4 million chips with {A-Spades}{Q-Diamonds} and was in a flip situation against Ausmus' {J-Hearts}{J-Clubs}. The {K-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{7-Hearts} flop gave Ausmus a flush draw along with his pair, leaving Bronshtein with a mere 13 percent chance to win the hand. The {6-Hearts} on the turn brought Ausmus his flush and closed the door on Bronshtein's tournament. He collected $294,601 for his seven days of work.

Tune in Next Week: Every week leading up to Oct. 30, ESPN will air two episodes of the 2012 WSOP Main Event. Next week's coverage will begin with 22 players remaining and Rob Salaburu leading the way with 23,155,000 in chips. Be sure to either check your local listings or come back next week for our recap of the action.

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