Just 239 of the 6,352 players who started the 2013 WSOP Main Event made it into Day 5. Among that group was defending champion Greg Merson, who made a serious run at history just by making it this far.
Merson fought through a tough first level and made his stand with a three-bet shove over a raise from Richey. Unfortunately for Merson, he ran head-first into Richey’s A K and couldn’t come from behind with A 2. Merson was left to settle for 167th place, the best result for a defending champion since Greg Raymer took 25th in 2005.
Shortly after his elimination, Merson reflected on his time as the reigning champion.
“I wanted to represent the game as well as I can,” said Merson. “It’s just that a lot has changed since online poker shut down, and the opportunities for myself are much different than the previous nine winners. It’s a lot easier to do five interviews a day when you have a seven-figure contract, but I pretty much represent Ivey Poker and myself. I never went into poker to be this big famous person and if I’m not getting paid for it, I could care less. I don’t care about the glamor or anything.”
Merson earned significantly less for this cash than he did in 2012, pocketing $42,990 after playing 42-and-a-half hours of poker.
BLUFF followed Merson from the start of his tournament until he busted on Day 5.
Below is a full account of Merson’s final day in the 2013 WSOP Main Event.
12:03 – Cards are in the air. Level 21 has blinds of 8,000/16,000 and a 2,000 chip ante. There are 239 players left in the 2013 WSOP Main Event.
12:05 – Merson drew Table 441 for Day 5, but the table was hand-picked to start the day on the main TV table. The biggest stack by a wide margin is Brett Richey, who has over 1.8 million. Vivek Rajkumar is the second biggest stack and the second most accomplished player at the table in terms of lifetime tournament earnings, behind Merson. Retiree Samuel Clements, who joined BLUFF for an interview late Friday night, is to Merson’s immediate left.
Seat 1: Richey – 1,817,000
Seat 2: Merson – 635,000
Seat 3: Clements – 275,000
Seat 4: Alex Bilokur – 631,000
Seat 5: Kima Kimura – 374,000
Seat 6: Emile Petit – 186,000
Seat 7: Rajkumar – 858,000
Seat 8: Jonathan Jaffe – 428,000
Seat 9: Tommy Chen – 349,000
12:08 – Merson raises to 32,000 on the button and Bilokur calls in the big blind. The flop is K 9 8, both players check, and the turn is the 8. Bilokur checks, Merson bets 36,000 and Bilokur folds.
12:16 – Rajkumar eliminates Petit in 232nd place, holding with 7 7 against Petit’s K 7.
12:25 – Merson raises to 32,000 from the cutoff and takes the blinds and antes.
12:36 – Kimura eliminates Chen in 220th place with A K against J J when it runs out K 5 4 9 4.
12:38 – Rep Porter, a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, sits down in Seat 6 with 1,514,000.
12:40 – Jaffe raises to 32,000 on the button, Merson three-bets to 85,000 from the big blind and Jaffe folds.
12:49 – Merson raises to 32,000 in middle position and Rajkumar calls in the big blind. The flop is A J T, Rajkumar checks, Merson bets 42,000 and Rajkumar folds.
1:13 – Nick Schwarmann joins Merson’s table for the second consecutive day, taking Seat 9. He has 855,000.
1:21 – Merson raises to 32,000 and takes the blinds and antes.
1:31 – Schwarmann raises to 33,000 in the hijack, Merson three-bets to 72,000 on the button, it folds back to Schwarmann and he four-bets all in. Merson folds.
1:38 – Schwarmann eliminates Rajkumar with A Q against Rajkumar’s Q Q. They get it in on a flop with all low cards and two diamonds. The turn is the K, but Schwarmann spikes the 5 on the river to make his flush. Schwarmann has Rajkumar covered by 1,000 to send Rajkumar out in 197th.
1:40 – Merson raises to 32,000 in the hijack and takes the blinds and antes.
1:46 – Schwarmann eliminates Clements in 189th place with K K against Q 9.
1:50 – Porter raises to 32,000 in the hijack and Merson calls in the big blind. They both check the T 6 2 flop and K turn. The river is the 7, Merson bets 38,000 and Porter calls. Merson shows Q 3 for just queen-high and Porter shows K Q for top pair to take the pot.
1:55 – Schwarmann raises to 38,000, Merson calls on the button and Kimura calls in the big blind. The flop is Q Q 8, Kimura checks, Schwarmann bets 42,000, Merson calls and Kimura gets out of the way. The turn is the 4, Schwarmann check, Merson bets 64,000 and Schwarmann calls. The river is the Q and Schwarmann open-shoves, having Merson well covered. Merson falls, and he slips below the 500,000 chip mark.
1:57 – Nikolai Sears sits in Seat 3 with 292,000 and Yann Dion takes Seat 7 with 2,033,000
1:59 – Merson raises to 32,000 and Dion calls in the big blind. The flop is 9 6 3, Dion checks, Merson bets 42,000 and Dion lets it go.
2:04 – After losing the pot to Schwarmann in the last 10 minutes of the level, Merson has 491,000 going into the second level of Day 5.
2:29 – Cards back in the air for Level 22, with blinds of 10,000/20,000 and a 3,000 ante. Here’s what the stacks look like at the start of the level:
Seat 1: Richey – 1,678,000
Seat 2: Merson – 491,000
Seat 3: Sears – 284,000
Seat 4: Bilokur – 169,000
Seat 5: Kimura – 579,000
Seat 6: Porter – 1,487,000
Seat 7: Dion – 2,112,000
Seat 8: Jaffe – 1,261,000
Seat 9: Schwarmann – 2,091,000
2:36 – Dion raises to 40,000 in middle position, Merson three-bets all in for 460,000 and Dion pauses to consider his options. After 45 seconds, he folds.
3:03 – Richey raises to 40,000 in middle position, Merson three-bets all in for 481,000 and Richey calls. Merson’s tournament life is at risk with A 2 and he’ll need some help as Richey has A K. The door card is the 2, but the whole flop is K 3 2, limiting Merson to two outs with two cards to come. The turn is the 9, putting Merson one card from elimination. The river is the 4 and the defending Main Event champion’s deep run comes to an end in 167th place.
3:07 – “It’s been fun and I’m grateful for a lot of the opportunities,” says Merson in his bustout interview with Kara Scott, “But I’m glad it’ll be someone else in my shoes.”
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