World Series of Poker Main Event Cut to 9 Vying for $8.5 Million

A 26-year-old poker professional from Las Vegas is the chip leader at the World Series of Poker’s main event, which played down to the final nine competitors from a starting field of 6,598.

Jesse Sylvia, with 43.9 million in chips, has at least a 14 million chip advantage over each of the other remaining players in the No-Limit Texas Hold’Em World Championship at the Rio All- Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The tournament, known as the main event, resumes on Oct. 29. The champion will win $8.5 million and each of the remaining players is guaranteed at least $754,798.

Gaelle Baumann of France and Elisabeth Hille of Norway were trying to become the first women to reach the final table of the main event since Barbara Enright in 1995. Both were knocked out by Hungary’s Andras Koroknai, with Baumann finishing 10th and Hille 11th.

Koroknai, 30, is second with 29.4 million in chips, followed by 25-year-old Laurel, Maryland, native Greg Merson, who has 28.7 million. Russell Thomas, a 24-year-old actuary from Hartford, Connecticut, is fourth with 24.8 million.

Also still in it are 57-year-old poker pro Steven Gee (16.9 million in chips), 43-year-old commodity broker Michael Esposito (16.3 million), 27-year-old poker pro Robert Salaburu (15.2 million), 21-year-old Arizona State University senior Jake Balsiger (13.1 million) and 32-year-old poker pro Jeremy Ausmus (9.8 million).

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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