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The commonest mistake in history is underestimating your opponent; happens at the poker table all the time.
General David Shoup

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World Series of Poker 2012: the final three

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is undoubtedly the biggest and most prestigious of the many poker tournaments played around the world and – thanks to the increasing popularity of online poker sites like the Betfair Poker one – more non-professional players than ever are entering it. While it is hard for non professional players to make a real impact in such a tournament, where they will be coming up against some of the best poker pros from all over the world in tough high-stakes games, the potential rewards in terms of winnings and making a name for yourself are huge.

This year a non professional player succeeded in making a real splash at the WSOP, as student Jake Balsiger made it to the final three – out of a field of more than 6,600 competitors. Although he was not able to win the WSOP in the final day of no limits Texas Hold’em, where he was up against two professional players in Jesse Sylvia and Greg Merson, just reaching the last three represents a major accomplishment for an amateur and ensures that Balsiger has put his name on the map of tournament poker.

It was Greg Merson who eventually came out on top in this year’s WSOP, leaving Sylvia to take second spot. Victory scored Merson a pot of $8.53 million, which goes to show why tournament poker represents such an attractive option for so many people. Another amateur, Russell Thomas, finished just outside the final three in fourth place, but still managed to come away with winnings of $2.85 million, which demonstrates that amateur players have the potential to change their lives forever by taking part in prestigious tournament poker - even if they do not end up winning the tournament overall. Unsurprisingly Thomas – an insurance clerk – stated that he would not be continuing in his day job following this bumper payday.

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