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Birth of second child could coincide with winning millions for local poker pro

ESPN coverage of 2012 World Series of Poker begins tonight


Steve Marcus

Jacob Balsiger, left, 21, of Tempe, Ariz., and Las Vegas resident Jeremy Ausmus compete in the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas hold’em main event at the Rio on July 16, 2012.

WSOP's October Nine

Members of the October Nine reach for the championship bracelet held by Jack Effel, World Series of Poker tournament director, after making the final table in the World Series of Poker's $10,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas Hold'em main event at the Rio Monday, July 17, 2012. From left are: Russell Thomas, Jacob Balsiger, Jeremy Ausmus, Steven Gee, Greg Merson, Jesse Sylvia, Robert Salaburu, Andras Koroknai and Michael Esposito. All the players are from the United States except Koroknai who is from Hungary. Launch slideshow »

Players Compete on Day 7 of WSOP Main Event

Robert Salaburu, a poker player from San Antonio Texas, competes in the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas Hold'em main event at the Rio Monday, July 16, 2012 Launch slideshow »

Final table chip counts

  • Jesse Sylvia — 43,875,000
  • Andras Koroknai — 29,375,000
  • Greg Merson — 28,725,000
  • Russell Thomas — 24,800,000
  • Steven Gee — 16,860,000
  • Michael Esposito — 16,200,000
  • Robert Salaburu — 15,155,000
  • Jacob Balsiger — 13,155,000
  • Jeremy Ausmus — 9,805,000

2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table Payouts

  • 1st — $8,527,982
  • 2nd — $5,292,889
  • 3rd — $3,797,558
  • 4th — $2,850,494
  • 5th — $2,154,616
  • 6th — $1,640,461
  • 7th — $1,257,790
  • 8th — $971,252
  • 9th — $754,798

The last time Jeremy Ausmus and his wife, Adria, went for a pregnancy checkup, the doctor said the baby was ahead of schedule and could come a few days before the Nov. 3 due date.

Ausmus, a 32-year-old local professional poker player, thought nothing of the news at the time. It wasn’t until another life-changing event occurred weeks later that he realized a conflict.

Ausmus became one of nine players, and the only Las Vegas resident, to make the World Series of Poker Main Event final table. He’ll compete for the $8,527,982 first-place prize and poker’s world championship come Oct. 29 at the Rio.

“It’s going to make things a little interesting, but I can’t complain.” Ausmus said. “It’s an amazing coincidence.”

Ausmus, already the father of a 2-year-old girl, comes to the final table with the shortest stack at 9.8 million chips. That’s far from desperate, however, as it represents more than 30 big blinds at this stage of the tournament. One double up would vault Ausmus into at least fifth place.

Poker fans can watch Ausmus’ journey to the October Nine with weekly WSOP episodes, which begin at 5 tonight on ESPN. The network won’t feature the Colorado State graduate until late in its Main Event coverage when the field whittles down from the 6,598 players who started in the tournament.

When Ausmus does receive airtime, he’ll likely be clashing alongside players he has history with. Ausmus has played with some of the other finalists, including chip leader Jesse Sylvia and past bracelet winners Greg Merson and Steven Gee.

“It’s crazy that it worked out this way,” Sylvia said, “but a lot of us have played with each other.”

Although most of the players at the final table will disperse and travel the globe in search of tournaments to use as tune-ups, Ausmus plans to stay closer to home during his wife’s pregnancy. He’s fine with that because he primarily made his income as a cash-game player before this summer.

He considers his office the Bellagio poker room, where he’s a regular in the $10-$20 no-limit hold’em game.

“I’m there almost every day,” Ausmus said. “I enjoy my work, but I do treat it as a full-time job.”

Cards have served as his only job for the past eight years. He was a woodworker in college but quit during his final year because local poker games proved more lucrative.

After earning his degree, Ausmus immediately took off for Las Vegas. He quickly found his niche as a cash-game grinder before expanding into other areas of poker.

He hadn’t fully immersed himself in tournaments at the World Series of Poker until two years ago. Ausmus cashed 13 times in that span for about $865,000, including the $754,798 payout he received for reaching the final nine of the Main Event.

He’s probably logged the most time playing live poker out of everyone at the final table, as the majority of his opponents honed their game online.

“I started playing live,” Ausmus said. “I played online a lot, too, but Black Friday obviously ruined that, so I became a live pro. With a family, I wasn’t like some of these other guys who looked to move out of the country.”

Talk to Ausmus for long enough and it becomes apparent his priorities are in order. Poker is a distant second to his family.

He’ll play through the final table, even if his wife goes into labor, because the financial award is great enough to provide lifelong security to his family.

“It’s going to be an exciting week — or day,” Ausmus said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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