What to watch today at the WSOP – Dwyte Pilgrim looks for a 2nd Career WSOP Final Table, and eyes a bracelet
In the game of poker, there are great runs, heaters, and just simply skillful players. To me, Jason Mercier has eclipsed all of those titles. People that sit at a poker table with Jason have to consider themselves both the most fortunate and least fortunate of the players in any tournament. Most fortunate because the reality is, you’re going to get a performance by one of the greatest players in the history of the game. That may be a bold statement, and perhaps premature, but I really don’t think that’s too much of a stretch. Just ask anyone at the table who has counted themselves unfortunate for sitting at Merciers table, because in the end, he’s stacking all of their chips.
Jason will turn 25 this November and has already accomplished the unthinkable. My article on Mercier’s first three years of hitting $1 million in his first three years of playing live poker (found here) needs an update. I gave myself some room at the end of the article saying “But $1 million in earnings in your first 3 years of live poker play is a truly unique title that Mercier can lay claim to, and it begs the question, can he make it 4 in a row next year? And is there anyone who doubts that he can?” And he has. By virtue of stacking the chips of everyone of the players that plopped down $5,000 to play Event #35 of the 2011 World Series of Poker, Jason Mercier booked another $619,575 in earnings and his second career WSOP Bracelet. Both bracelets have come playing Pot Limit Omaha as well. This win takes his 2011 Earnings to more than $1.1 million, as Jason already has a win in the NAPT-Mohegan Sun High Roller Shootout (the same event that he won last year), 3 other 2011 WSOP Cashes, as well as a final table in the $25k High Roller event down at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure this year. In short, the guy is amazing.
I have a ton of respect for Mercier as well, as on more than one occasion he’s put aside the things that he was doing to accommodate interviews with me. At the NAPT in Los Angeles, Jason was waiting for his dinner when he sought me out and said “hey, want to do that interview now?” We headed over to a vacated area of the Bicycle Casino Ballroom to conduct a short piece, and he gave me his phone number to do the TPT Live Show. We’d texted a few times, and in between a Miami Heat game and the WPT at the Bellagio (where he cashed in 83rd) he squeezed me in for another 20 minutes. Then at the WPT Los Angeles at day’s end, as the room was clearing out, I ran into him after Day 1, as he again agreed for an interview despite desperately trying to get out the door for dinner. He was exhausted, but he still made the time. I’ll get into much more about the historical significance in my recap on the year, but Mercier has solidified himself as a piece in it with his win here at the WSOP, and I can truly say that I am so amazingly happy to write the words, Congratulations Jason Mercier on winning your second career WSOP Bracelet. And what’s super scary, we all know that there are going to be plenty more to come.
Here’s a look at the events that are going to be going on in the Rio today:
Event #36 – $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em
39 players survived the day, which makes it highly unlikely that this event will crown a champion before the hard stop this evening. Among the names that made it through include Dwyte Pilgrim and Tom Marchese, and both of them have deep enough stacks to do some damage. But still, 39 players is still a long way to go in No-Limit Hold’em, but if you’re watching this event, these are the guys to keep an eye on.
Event #37 – $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship
23 players remain, and the field is packed. 2006 Main Event Final Tablist Michael Binger leads the way with 742,000 of the 7.4 million chips in play, but in H.O.R.S.E. you really can’t count any player out unless they don’t have chips. The field pays 24 places, so everyone left is trying to move up and claim the bracelet including Tom Dwan who is still searching for that first piece of jewelry. He’s got his work cut out for him as he sits 21st in chips and I’d expect him to either chip up quickly or go bust trying to get to the $5k NLHE 6-max event, but how can you ever really count out Durrrr from having a shot? Ram Vaswani, Shawn Buchanan, and Chau Giang are also still alive and well, and John Monnette will be looking for bracelet number 2 of this WSOP as play gets back underway today. This event will be VERY watchable.
Event #38 ($1,500 No-Limit Hold’em) completed it’s day 1 yesterday as did Event #39 ($2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha mixed event), and will be playing down to trim the field on day 2 today. In Event #38, Sam Trickett has a 45k stack going in the event that he really impressed me in last year. He got it in with middle set vs. Top 2 pair, and the guy ended up hitting a 2 out’er to bust him. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see Sam make another deep run. The guy is tremendously talented.
Just one event begins today and it the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em (6-max) event. This one will be well attended, and well attended by a host of really good players. Short-Handed No-Limit Hold’em really brings out the guys who love action, and I’d expect this field to be very difficult to navigate through. But that will wrap things up at the Rio.