The Final Three of this year's World Series of Poker

Poker is a more popular pastime than ever before, which to a large extent can be attributed to the rise of online poker sites like Betfair Poker Online. These sites offer those who sign up to them the chance to participate in a lot of different poker tournaments - large and small - but when it comes to considering the biggest and most prestigious poker tournament of all there is little doubt that the World Series of Poker is the one. This is the tournament that all of the top professional players want to compete in and win, and generally it is hard for non-professional players to make it to the latter stages of the WSOP.

For example, this year the tournament attracted approximately 6,600 players from all over the world - many of whom are amongst the best and most successful poker players in the world. Reaching the last three out of all of these players represents a significant achievement, and ensures serious winnings, making it all the more surprising that an amateur player was amongst those in the final three this year. Jake Balsiger is a college senior at Arizona State University, but overcame the challenge of another non-pro - Russell Thomas - to make it to the last three.

Although he was not able to actually win this year's WSOP, which was claimed by the 24-year-old professional player Greg Merson at the end of a gruelling battle of no limits Texas Hold'em poker, the fact that both he and Thomas made it to the final stages of the tournament shows why ever increasing numbers of amateur players want to play at sites like the Betfair one. Of course the key with tournament poker is that, even if you do not win the title overall, you can still make significant amounts of money by reaching the latter stages; with Thomas - who works in insurance - securing $2.85 million for finishing in fourth place.