One year ago Greg Merson was just one of 6,598 players playing the WSOP Main Event. On Saturday the reigning champ was bestowed the honor of giving dealers the “Shuffle Up and Deal” orders to get the 2013 WSOP Main Event underway.
Introducing Merson to the crowd, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart commended Merson for embracing the role of poker ambassador over the last year.
“We would like to thank (Merson) for his handling the last year with such class,” said Stewart. “He embraces everything the Main Event is about. The chance to live out your dreams; the chance to be great.”
Big Names Sprinkled Throughout
In years past the big names skip the opening flight and wait until Day 1C to take their Main Event shot. That may still be the case this year but there’s still more than a few recognizable faces in the field on Saturday. Joining Merson as former Main Event winners in the field are Pius Heinz (2011) and Joe Cada (2009). There are also a few former November Niners in action: Martin Staszko, Jake Balsiger, Chino Rheem, Soi Nguyen, Ivan Demidov and Russell Thomas.
Other familiar faces in play today are Andy Bloch, Faraz Jaka, Olivier Busquet, Phil Galfond, former Sopranos star Robert Iler, Kara Scott, Mike McDonald, Josh Brikis, Josh Arieh, TJ Cloutier, Mike Sexton, Dan O’Brien, Carter Phillips, Matt Glantz and Dwyte Pilgrim.
Pilgrim Takes a Hit Early
Nobody wants to bust out on Day 1 of the Main Event and Dwyte Pilgrim can thank his lucky stars he’s not already on the phone sharing a bad beat bustout story with his friends. The button bet 275 and Ognjen Sekularac raised to 575 from the small blind as Dwyte Pilgrim three-bet to 1,500 from the big blind. The button folded and Sekularac called. After a flop of J T 4 both players checked. The turn was the 2, Sekularac checked and Pilgrim bet 2,000; Sekularac called. The river was the 8d, Sekularac checked, Pilgrim bet 3,500 and Sekularac called and tabled T T for a set while Pilgrim showed K K. Pilgrim was down to 22,500 while Sekularac neared the 40,000 chip mark.
Funny Guys in the House
Two top comedians are amongst the field today. Jason Alexander, you probably know him better as George Costanza from Seinfield, is playing at one of the tables inside the Brasilia room. Meanwhile the man who eliminated Daniel Negreanu from the Main Event in 2012, Kevin Pollak, finds himself seated in the Amazon Room, not far from where he was seated last year.
What To Expect from BLUFF.com
BLUFF will bring you all the action, color and highlights from each day of the Main Event. On Saturday BLUFF Senior Writers Tim Fiorvanti and Paul Oresteen will be focusing their coverage on Merson and Alexander respectively. Look for recaps throughout the day on how each player’s day is going. Photographer Jay Newnum will also provide a daily photo blog while the BLUFF Video Team will continue to bring you interviews with the biggest names in poker throughout the Main Event.
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