In a day and age where sponsored poker pros are becoming an endangered species, Greg Merson managed to land a sponsorship deal with WSOP.com. The 2012 Main Event champion will become the gaming site’s first-ever sponsored player.
Merson gained international fame after winning the 2012 Main Event along with $8,531,853. That same year, he also won a WSOP $10k Six-Handed NL Hold’em tournament along with $1,136,197. Thanks to these massive scores and others, the 26-year-old has already accumulated $10,962,188 in live tourney winnings.
Another great thing about Merson is that he’s not just some donk who luckboxed a big tournament. He also frequently makes a killing in live cash games on the East Coast. Based on everything Merson brings to the table, it’s no wonder why WSOP.com Head of Online Poker, Bill Rini, was so enthusiastic in the following statement:
Greg is a terrific ambassador for the game of poker. He loves the game, is passionate and opinionated about its future, and he will help us spread the word about our offerings and ensure the poker playing community has a respected, experienced voice to help shape WSOP.com moving forward.
Rini’s words are a total 180 from what Ty Stewart, Executive Director of WSOP, said when asked about if their iGaming operation would sponsor players. Here’s a look at what Stewart had to say on the matter:
On the land based side of the WSOP, we’ve always shied away from signing personal endorsements with individual players. As an organizer who has a key role in…the outcome of the game we see ourselves in the league function, aimed to be impartial and to have maximum trust and integrity.
Perhaps the WSOP operation felt that Merson was special and decided to alter the policy that Stewart discussed. Whatever the case may be, it’s nice to see an elite player like Merson finally land his first sponsorship deal.