There's no more waiting, planning or preparing for Greg Merson, Jake Balsiger and Jesse Sylvia. After they outlasted the first day of the final table and six more eliminations, one of those three will finish the job they started in early July and become the world champion. At the end of the night, one of them will be $8.5 million richer and the newest poker icon.
The three players each offer intriguing storylines. Merson enters the final three as the chip leader thanks to a monstrous hand against Andras Koroknai and if he wins, he'll not only be the WSOP champ, but also the WSOP Player of the Year, handing Phil Hellmuth his third runner-up finish in that race. Sylvia came into the final table as the chip leader and while he didn't make many, if any, mistakes, he's in a comfort zone thanks to his preparations with Vanessa Selbst and others. Sylvia recognizes the magnitude of the moment and wants to firmly grasp the spotlight that he's rightfully earned. Then there's 21-year-old Jake Balsiger, a college student who could become the youngest main event champion in history. He's unexpectedly in this position, coming back from the short stack yesterday to give himself a good chance and so far, he has displayed a creative game that has brought him to this point. Regardless of his finish, tonight is Balsiger's jumping-off point in terms of a poker career. He said earlier today that he already has the money, now it's about the win.
All the action can be found live on ESPN and WatchESPN starting at 9 p.m. ET. The televised broadcast will be on a 15-minute delay, but unlike TV, this blog will be live, covering the action the second it happens. If you just want to enjoy the TV show, close this page. If you want to be the first to know, this is where you want to be.
There will be 1 hour, 7 minutes and 7 seconds left in the current level (blinds: 300,000/600,000 with a 75,000 ante). Welcome to the biggest night of the year for the poker industry. Tonight, we'll crown a world champion.