Posts Tagged ‘Greg Merson’

Poker Night in America incites Massive Twitter Battle

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Who knew that a group of poker pros sitting around a table and bullshitting with each other would incite such anger? WSOP bracelet winner Allen Bari recently stirred up some emotions when tweeting his opinion on how bad it was that David “ODB” Baker was the show’s biggest name. This drew the attention of PNIA’s creator, Todd Anderson, and the twitter battle was on:

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV @audavidb only because we couldn’t get you!! Whiners not allowed!!!!!!

Allen Bari – @PokerNight_Todd @PokerNightTV @audavidb I wish I was watching the usual bull fight/Nascar rather than this poker show you guys puked up

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV @audavidb Well why don’t you? 800 channels to watch but you always find @PokerNightTV How does that happen?

Allen Bari – @PokerNight_Todd @PokerNightTV @audavidb I enjoy seeing what not to do when creating a poker show.. using it for research purposes buddy

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV @audavidb Critics are easy to find. How about you create something yourself buddy? I DARE You

Allen Bari – @PokerNight_Todd @PokerNightTV Dare accepted.. I think I’ll create a food business, btw thx for running out of content that u had to use me

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV I doubt you could create a decent bowel movement. And will never use you again so stop watching. @please #loser

Allen Bari – @PokerNight_Todd @PokerNightTV remember me when you look back on this time and realize what an awful product you put into the world

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV remember me in 5 years when this show is a world wide reality and airs every night. Bet on it. @whineyassbitch

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV And you obviously want to be on the show. It’s Shakespearian. “You doth protest too much” Sorry. #never

Allen Bari – I love the nights where I get out of line on twitter, and weed out those that follow me but are begging to be blocked

Did Bari poke the hornets’ nest because he’s jealous of not being on the show? Perhaps, but he’s been known to stir up trouble in the past anyways. And Anderson definitely didn’t sit back and take Bari’s comments with a grain a salt. In any case, I don’t agree with Bari that this is a terrible show and I recommend that you watch it below:

Greg Merson signs with

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

In a day and age where sponsored poker pros are becoming an endangered species, Greg Merson managed to land a sponsorship deal with 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 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 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.

Can Anybody catch George Danzer in 2014 WSOP POY Race?

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

George Danzer wasn’t exactly a nobody before the 2014 World Series of Poker began. In fact, the German had made six WSOP final tables entering the summer. But he also wasn’t on the same fame level as a Daniel Negreanu or even Jeff Lisandro. Perhaps all of that will change, though, since Danzer has picked up two gold bracelets at the 2014 WSOP.

His first came via the Event #18 $10k Razz Championship ($294,792), and his second, more-recent bracelet comes courtesy of the $10k Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Championship ($353,696). Oh, and we might as well add that the German has also final tabled a $10k 2-7 Limit Triple Draw event ($70,308) and a $10k Six-Handed NLHE tournament ($49,061).

With five cashes overall – and four of them being very high quality – Danzer has jumped to the forefront of the 2014 WSOP Player of the Year race. Here’s a look at the top five point-earners with just over 20 events left:

1. George Danzer – 726.20 points
2. Brandon Shack-Harris – 474.00
3. Justin Bonomo – 413.63
4. Brock Parker – 406.25
5. Richard Ashby – 400.05

As you can see, there’s some clear separation between Danzer and those chasing him. So our question is, can anybody catch the German poker pro at this point? Looking back at the 2012 and ’13 POY races, the simple answer is yes.

Last year, Negreanu was the POY after earning 890.22 points, which is plenty more than Danzer has right now. In the 2012 POY race, Greg Merson racked up 981.13 points on the strength of his Main Event title and another bracelet win. So Danzer is probably going to have to rack up 2-3 more cashes or one more big finish if he wants to secure the POY.

But another thing to account for here is that only the WSOP APAC will run after the Las Vegas series – not the APAC and WSOP Europe. Furthermore, I wouldn’t count on another player like Merson winning the ME and another bracelet in the same year. It’s a pretty rare occurrence and we’re not dealing with 1992 field sizes any more.

In summary, you can expect Danzer to get a little more competition in his quest to win the POY if he goes on a cold streak.

Greg Merson looking to promote Himself and Poker More

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

As has been discussed many times over the past few months, Joe Hachem thinks that poker has a problem, and it starts with WSOP Main Event champs and younger pros. Greg Merson definitely saw Hachem’s rant and it’s forced the 2012 Main Event champ to rethink his views on everything from playing tournaments to interviews.

Bluff Magazine recently caught up with Merson and talked to him about what Hachem said. While the 26-year-old doesn’t feel like Hachem specifically targeted him, he did ask the Aussie about the comments. And Merson came to the conclusion that Hachem may have misunderstood how much he loves playing poker.

In the interview, which you can see below, Merson explains how he didn’t win the Main Event in an era where these champions are immediately sponsored and paid to play the tournament circuit. He adds that it’s not worth it to play in $3,500 and $5,000 events when there’s $2k – $3k in added travel costs.

Merson would much rather play live cash games, where he makes the most profits. However, he does indicate that he’s come around to the idea of playing in tourneys and promoting the game more. Merson also discusses how he spent time with Phil Hellmuth, “picking his brain” about self promotion.

Another point that Merson’s come around to is doing more interviews, even though they may not pay off immediately. The young poker pro now realizes that doing interviews and more promotional work can pay dividends in the future – both for himself and for the game in general. He also states the importance of signing autographs and taking pictures with poker fans when asked.

You can expect to see more of Merson on the tournament circuit in the near future. Aside from everything that we’ve discussed so far, he also says that it’s harder for good pros to get in big cash games these days. So he’d like to play more tournaments this summer.

Where have the Poker Fish gone…to your Local Casino

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Wondering where all of the online poker fish have gone over the past few years? A great place to check would be your local casino, at least according to The Atlantic, which wrote a great piece on the matter this week.

The article follows a poker pro, who goes by the alias “John Calvin,” around the Maryland Live! poker room. The article also adds some details about 2012 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson, who happens to be present when the writer is there. Here’s one excerpt from the story:

John Calvin (not his real name) swims somewhere in the middle. He is a grinder, a cautious type who doesn’t bluff that often or do anything hair-raisingly spectacular in tight situations, and who makes his living by doggedly adhering to the odds against lesser players. He got his start making a few dollars a hand on the Web site PartyPoker, then graduated to long weekends of live play at the Borgata before taking up residence at a casino poker room in Charles Town, West Virginia. These days, he commutes from his home, in Washington, D.C., to Maryland Live, where he feeds on fish who are happy to lose a few hundred dollars an hour playing No Limit Texas Hold ’Em.

The Atlantic piece also describes some of the other players at the Maryland Live! poker room – both sharks and fish. If you read it, you’ll get an in-depth look at how somebody like John Calvin spots the weaker players and takes advantage of the situation.

Anybody who plays online poker these days would certainly appreciate reading the article. The internet game seems to have fewer and fewer fish every day, making skilled players wonder if the pool is drying up. But it’s nice to see that there are still places where bad players are donating enough money that good pros can earn “$300 to $400 an hour.”

The only problem is that you’re going to have to visit your local casino to find a large population of fish. And this can be a problem for those who are short on time and/or really shy. But we have to say that this is preferable to grinding 12 tables of $0.05/$0.10 Hold’em just to make profits.

Joe Hachem thinks “Poker is Dying” – Is He Right?

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Earlier this week, 2005 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Hachem discussed the current state of poker during the Aussie Millions. And what he had to say about poker wasn’t exactly glowing.

After reflecting on past WSOP Main Event winners, which included ripping on Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang for ruining the champions’ legacy, he expressed his opinion that “poker is dying.” The reason why he believes this? Because Hachem thinks that the game is no longer fun for amateurs, with “young geniuses” bumhunting all of the fish and not offering up any interesting conversation.

The Aussie also mentioned how there are less Antonio Esfandiari’s out there, or rather guys whom the fish love to play with, even when they’re losing money. He added that watching poker on television is “like watching paint dry” because of the lack of personalities today. Furthermore, poker TV shows no longer focus on a pro’s style, personality or what they’re like away from the table. He closed by saying that some of the young ME champs like Ryan Riess and Greg Merson need to think about all of this since they’re ambassadors to the game.

So is Hachem right about everything that he said? You can’t argue with the point that poker is full of bumhunters these days, who play seek and destroy with the fish. The game also features less dynamic grinders who make poker more enjoyable to watch on TV.

But on the other hand, nothing Hachem said is an original idea. He’s just another person to jump on the fact that poker has transitioned into a more strategy-focused, mathematical game, where you either pour hours into becoming great, or you lose your bankroll and dignity.

As for if poker is dying, well, global online numbers suggest that plenty of people are still interested in playing. And this should continue as new markets open up across the world. But the live realm is still a big part of poker, and if famous pros don’t start developing some personality and social skills at the table, it will eventually hamper online poker too.

WSOP Champ Greg Merson – A Tale of Drugs and Redemption

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

By now pretty much the whole poker world has heard of Greg Merson’s 2012 WSOP Main Event victory. Following a 103-day break before final table play began, Merson dispatched his last eight opponents this week en route to the $8,531,853 first place prize. Thanks to his Main Event victory, the 24-year-old was also able to grab the 2012 WSOP Player of the Year award too.

But what many people may not know about Merson is that there’s more to this story than just some young poker player winning a big tournament. The Laurel, Maryland native was actually addicted to drugs just a short time ago before getting his life on track.

How to cope

As for how it all happened, Black Friday struck and hampered Merson’s ability to play on the biggest online poker sites. What ensued was a severe depression that had him wondering how he was going to continue making a living with the game. Merson eventually coped with his problems by turning to drugs, which is when he finally hit rock bottom.


Luckily, Merson wouldn’t stay mired in this downward spiral forever. He turned to live poker tournaments in hopes of replacing the loss of online poker revenue. And he certainly accomplished this goal after winning the 2012 WSOP Event #57 (6-max Hold’em) tournament along with $1,136,197.

Of course, this was only a warm-up of what was yet to come since we now know that Merson also captured the Main Event title along with another $8.53 million. Thanks to these latest victories, he now has an impressive $9,851,557 in live tournament cashes. More importantly, he’s overcame the drug problems that he dealt with last year and looks on track to continue having an excellent poker career.

Closer Look at 2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The 2012 WSOP Main Event final table is set now that there are only nine players remaining in the tournament. These lucky rounders made it through a brutal tourney that began with 6,598 entrants, and everybody is guaranteed to collect at least $754,798.

Of course, nobody is thinking about the ninth place prize since all eyes are on the top payout of $8.5 million. At this point, chip leader Jesse Sylvia has the best chance of winning the $8.5m, and you can take a closer look at him along with the other competitors below.

2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table Bios

Nobody at this year’s final table is a huge name, but there are plenty of well-established grinders and professionals. That said, the following players should make for an interesting couple days in late October, when the final table resumes play:

Jesse Sylvia, 43,875,000 chips – Before storming onto the final table with the chip lead, Sylvia was largely unknown outside of the Vegas mid-stakes cash games scene. Excluding the Main Event, he has just under $24k in live tournament cashes.

Andras Koroknai, 29,375,000 chips – The only non-American on this final table, Koroknai primarily makes his living through online poker games. However, the Hungarian did have a huge victory at the 2010 LA Poker Classic Main Event ($1,788,040).

Greg Merson, 28,725,000 chips – Merson is a skilled online cash games pro who really busted out this year after winning the 2012 WSOP Event #57 NLHE tournament along with $1,136,197.

Russell Thomas, 24,800,000 chips – An actuary by trade, Thomas also dedicates plenty of time to the poker tables and has $126,796 in live tournament cashes.

Steven Gee, 16,860,000 chips – At 57 years old, Gee is by far the oldest player at this final table. He makes a living through live cash games in California and won a bracelet in a 2010 WSOP $1k NLHE tournament ($472,479).

Michael Esposito, 16,260,000 chips – Esposito is another amateur and his full-time job revolves around commodity trading. He does have a nice poker resume though with $172,806 in live tourney cashes.

Robert Salaburu, 15,155,000 chips – Prior to Black Friday, Salaburu made his living by playing online tournaments and cash games. He has 10 live tournament min-cashes too.

Jacob Balsiger, 13,115,000 chips – An amateur poker player/Arizona State University student, Balsiger seems to have the least experience on this final table.

Jeremy Ausmus, 9,805,000 chips – Ausmus is another Las Vegas cash pro who’s venturing into the live tournament arena more these days. He cashed an incredible nine times during the 2012 WSOP.