How Players Spent Their Off Day from the 2015 WSOP Main Event

This might come as a shock, but Jason Mercier spent most of his time off during the 2015 WSOP Main Event playing Open Face Chinese Poker, when he wasn't catching up on sleep.

This might come as a shock, but Jason Mercier spent most of his time off during the 2015 WSOP Main Event playing Open Face Chinese Poker, when he wasn’t catching up on sleep.

The World Series of Poker Main Event is unlike other poker tournaments in a great many ways, but one of the most interesting dynamics comes from the sheer number of players in the event. With the need to hold so many players, the need arises for multiple starting sessions and Day 2’s – leaving players who are fortunate enough to bag with a couple of days to occupy in between the pursuit of their dreams of Main Event glory.

Most would agree that rest and relaxation are the way to go, but pros who’ve been grinding all summer and those who are simply here to play the Main Event have very different approaches to how that gets done.

Jason Mercier took advantage of having that off day to play poker into the morning after bagging, but had plenty of time to make up for it over the next couple of days in preparation for Day 2.

“I pretty much played Open Face with Dan Weinman and Shaun Deeb until 8 in the morning after playing 1B,” said Mercier. “I slept from 8 am until 4 pm and then played open face with them again for another five hours and went home and took it easy.”

Locals like Lily Newhouse have the distinct advantage of being able to go home, sleep in their own beds and spend time with their families.

“I took my son to Build-a-Bear and we made a bear,” said Newhouse. “Then I hung out by the pool, drank a beer, relaxed and tried to not think of poker so I could come back here with a clear mind.”

Rand Veal of Palm Springs, California braved the Vegas heat to enjoy one of his hobbies in order to stay loose and relaxed, and it’s worked pretty well for him so far.

“I played golf at Las Vegas National,” said Veal. “I shot pretty well. Day 2’s gone good, I started with 15,000 and I’m up to 37,000 [on the first break].”

First-timer Jaime Staples, who’s risen to prominence in the poker community thanks to his streaming on Twitch over the last year, is just enjoying the ride and meeting people who’ve come up to him as fans.

“It’s hard for me to even remember the last couple of days,” said Staples. “It’s a little bit different from when the stream is going on, but I’ve been hanging out with people who watch the stream. Hanging out the PokerStars suite, they’re at the Palms this year, been doing stuff there. Mostly just relaxing. This is my first time playing the Main Event, and you realize how much of a grind it is – it’s only Day 2, and I’m already like ‘Oh my Goodness’. Just chilling out, and the poker can stay here [at the Rio].

Matt Salsberg is known for his unconventional approach to the game, but if what he tells BLUFF is true there‚Äôs likely to be a serious inquisition in the days to come – though something tells us that he’s either bluffing or trying to justify why has no memory of spending another $10,000 or more on his off day.

“There are no off days during the Main Event, I just keep playing,” said Salsberg. “I registered twice, buying in on Day 1C under a different name, and bagged over 200K so I have to come back and play 2C. The problem comes if I make Day 3 – then I’ll probably just smuggle in the chips from the assumed name into my other stack.”

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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