Hailing from Seaford, New York, Michael Esposito is the second oldest player at this final table at 44 years old. His occupation is a commodity broker out of New York City, and poker isn't Esposito's full-time gig. In fact, Esposito claims he plays only a few times a year as a hobby.
Coming into this final table, Esposito had $173,299 in live tournament earnings. Those earnings came from cashes that have stretched back several years to 2002.
Prior to this big run, where he has already locked up over $750,000 like his eight opponents, Esposito's largest score was for $47,310. That cash came back in 2005 when Esposito took ninth place in the World Series of Poker Circuit Atlantic City event. He also had another big score for $33,600 in Atlantic City at the 2003 United States Poker Championships $4,000 Seven Card Stud Event.
When it comes to the WSOP, Esposito has three others cashes on record besides this one. Two of them are small, but in 2006 he did manage to get into the money in the WSOP Main Event where he finished in 540th place for $22,266.
When asked what was more important to him, the $8.5 million or the gold bracelet, here's what Esposito had to say:
"Trust me, the money is more important than the bracelet. If you wanted to tell me that I could come in second and get the $8.5 million and the other guy could have the $5 million, I’d sign up for that deal right now. I don’t need any of the stuff that goes with it. Realistically, my year to play poker next year will probably be very similar to my year to play poker this year. I’ll play in a few small tournaments during the year. If something works work-wise I might play something else next year. Maybe I’ll play two or three small tournaments and the Main Event next year. It’s really not going to make that big of a difference. But, I’m hoping this can get me in the Ironman World Championship in October because they have a big media thing, so maybe they’ll give me a slot to go. I’m going to try to see if I can do that. I’m going to try to play that card."
Esposito is bunched in the bottom half of the group of players with 16.26 million in chips. He's right behind Steven Gee in sixth place overall, but not too far ahead of Robert Salaburu and Jake Balsiger.