Defending champion Greg Merson had a strong start to his 2013 WSOP Main Event, bagging a stack that was well over average on Day 1A. BLUFF followed Merson throughout the day Saturday, and the coverage continued as Merson attempts to make a run at history.
Merson was on an absolute tear early on in Day 2A, scoring three eliminations and building a stack of 250,000 going into the dinner break, putting him near the top of the chip counts. He coasted through the final two levels of play Tuesday, and further built his stack to over 275,000. Below is a full account of Merson’s Day 2A.
12:02 – Merson takes his seat in the Orange section of the Amazon Room. He drew table 384 to start Day 2. Here’s who has to deal with.
Seat 1: Dung Nguyen – 47,000
Seat 2: Avery Cardoza – 11,775
Seat 3: Brandon Meyers – 25,450
Seat 4: Merson – 81,650
Seat 5: Rotislav Tsodikov – 21,250
Seat 6: Craig Emmett – 13,300
Seat 7: Daniel Buzgon – 24,700
Seat 8: David Schnettler – 40,825
Seat 9: Phu Luu – 35,100
12:05 – Jack Effel conducts the shuffle up and deal, and cards are in the air.
12:08 – Luu gets his day started by ordering a shot from the cocktail waitress.
12:10 – Cardoza opens to 1,200 on the button, Merson three-bets to 3,000 in the big blind and Cardoza folds.
12:12 – Merson completes in the small blind and Tsodikov checks his option in the big blind. Merson bets 500 on the K 5 3 flop and Tsodikov calls. Merson checks the 7 turn, Tsodikov bets 600 and Merson folds.
12:18 – Merson calls a raise from Meyers in the cutoff and folds to a continuation bet on the flop.
12:22 – Merson raises to 1,200 in early position and takes the blinds and antes.
12:24 – Merson raises to 1,200 in early position, Nguyen three-bets to 3,000 in the big blind and Merson folds.
12:26 – Merson opens for the third straight hand, to 1,200 under the gun. Meyers calls in the big blind and the flop is 9 4 2. Meyers checks, Merson bets 2,100 and Meyers folds.
12:37 – Merson raises to 1,200 in the hijack and takes the blinds and antes.
12:41 – On the next hand, Merson raises to 1,200 and Luu calls in the big blind. The flop is K T 7, Luu checks Merson bets 1,500 and Luu calls. The turn is the K, Luu checks, Merson bets 6,800 and Luu folds.
12:48 – Merson gets a water from the cocktail waitress. “How would you like your coffee?” she asks. “I just wanted the water. Wait. I will take a green tea, straight green tea.”
12:53 – Merson opens to 1,200 in middle position and Tsodikov calls in the hijack. The flop is T 9 5 and both players check. They both check the J turn as well, but Merson leads out for 2,400 on the 9 river. Tsodikov calls and Merson tables K T, taking the pot.
1:16 – Merson opens to 1,200 in the cutoff and Buzgon three-bets all in for 10,500. Merson snap-calls and tables Q Q to Buzgon’s A 4. Merson flops Buzgon all but dead on the Q 7 5 flop, and seals it on the 7 turn. The meaningless river is the T and Buzgon is the first player eliminated from Table 384.
1:23 – Morgan Machina sits down in Seat 7.
1:32 – Meyers raises to 1,200 in the cutoff and Merson three-bets to 3,000 on the button. Meyers is the only caller and the flop is T 7 3, which both players check. They both check the J turn and the irver is the J. The river is the J, Meyers checks a third time, Merson bets 3,400 and Meyers calls. Merson shows A 7 and Meyers mucks.
1:50 – Luu raises to 1,200 and Merson calls on the button. The flop is J 8 4, Luu bets 2,625 and Merson folds.
1:54 – Merson raises to 1,200 in the hijack and he’s called by Tsodikov in the cutoff, Machina in the small blind and Schnettler in the big blind. The flop is J J 9 and it’s checked to Merson, who bets 3,200. All three players fold.
1:58 – Merson raises to 1,200 in middle position, Emmett three-bets to 2,500 and Merson calls. They both check the T 9 5 flop and 6 turn, but Merson leads out for 2,000 on the river. Emmett calls and Merson shows Q T to take the pot. Emmett shakes his head and tables A K.
2:05 – After a strong first level on Day 2A, Merson’s increased his stack by almost 30,000, thanks in large part to his elimination of Buzgon. He has 111,200 going into the break.
2:24 – Merson starts a massage.
2:25 – Level 7 is underway with 300/600 blinds and a 75 ante.
2:27 – Merson opens to 1,500 on the button, Tsodikov three-bets all in for 10,000 and Merson folds.
2:40 – Luu is eliminated by Meyers.
2:44 – Meyers raises to 1,500, Merson three-bets to 4,100 from the small blind and Meyers folds.
2:58 – Table 374 breaks and Mike Matusow heads over to take Seat 9 at Merson’s table. “Is this a conspiracy, or what?” asks Matusow as he puts down his chips.
2:59 – Cardoza open-ships from the button for 6,500 with A 7 and Merson calls with A 5. Merson runs out a straight to eliminate the noted poker author and Owner of the Gambler’s Book Club. “It was you that went broke?” Matusow asks Cardoza. “You busted my publisher?” Matusow asks Merson.
3:06 – Meyers opens to 1,500 in the hijack and Merson calls in the cutoff. The flop is J 9 8, Meyers check, Merson bets 2,000 and Meyers calls. The turn is the A, Meyers checks, Merson bets 4,000 and Meyers calls again. The river is the A and Meyers leads out for 9,000. Merson thinks it over for two minutes and then folds.
3:07 – “Every superstar in the world played Day 2 or Day 3 – except you two,” Matusow says to Merson and Meyers.
3:09 – “You busted my best friend,” says Merson to Matusow. “Yeah, he had a rough day,” responds Matusow.
3:18 – Tsodikov opens to 1,400 under the gun and Merson calls in the big blind. The flop is T 9 7 and both players check. The turn is the 2 and Merson bets 2,100, which Tsodikov calls. The river is the J, and both players check. Merson shows Q T to take the pot.
3:22 – Carlos Savinelli, who is new to the table, opens to 1,500 in the hijack and Merson calls on the button. The flop is 8 7 5, Savinelli bets 2,000 and Merson calls. The turn is the 6, Savinelli checks, Merson bets 3,200 and Savinelli calls. They both check the 2 river and Savinelli shows 5 5 for a set to take the pot.
3:29 – Matusow gives some sage advice. “It’s not about playing the best players, it’s about finding the softest games.”
3:33 – Merson wraps up his massage.
3:38 – Machina opens to 1,400 in middle position and Merson calls in the big blind. The flop is T 9 2 and both players check. Merson bets 2,200 on the K turn and Machina calls. The river is the 9, Merson bets 5,800 and Machina calls. Merson tables 7 8 for the flopped flush.
3:43 – Machina opens to 1,500 under the gun and Merson calls on the button The flop is A J 2, Machina bets 2,650 and Merson calls. The turn is the K and they both check. The river is the Q, Machina checks, Merson bets 3,800, Machina raises to 11,200 and Merson folds.
3:57 – Meyers raises to 1,500 in the cutoff, Merson calls on the button and Tsodikov three-bets all in for 21,000. Meyers folds and Merson snap-calls, tabling A Q. He’ll need some help against Tsodikov’s Q Q and gets it as it runs out J 5 4 T 3 to give Merson the flush on the river.
“Greg Merson, everybody!” exclaims Matusow. “I knew it was over when the T hit.” Merson defends himself. “He’s jammed enough where I could have had him crushed.”
4:24 – Merson buys up all the green chips at his table in anticipation of the color up.
4:26 – At the second break Merson has 140,100 even. He does not have any odd chips and does not get to participate in the race-off.
4:46 – Cards are back in the air
4:47 – Merson retakes his seat, missing one hand under the gun.
5:06 – Merson, Meyers and Matusow engage in a series of conversations as the action slows. They touch upon the prospects of the Houston Rockets with Dwight Howard, Ivey Poker, Full Tilt and Macau.
5:17 – Matusow eliminates Emmett
5:22 – Meyers raises to 2,000 on the button and Merson calls in the small blind. The flop is K 9 8, Merson checks, Meyers bets 2,600 and Merson calls. The 4 turn is checked by both players and the river is the 6. Merson bets 12,400 and Meyers goes deep into the tank. He eventually finds a call with Q 6 and it’s good against Merson’s Q J.
5:32 – Merson loses a small pot against Schnettler on the final hand at the table.
5:33 – With the table breaking, Merson draws Table 413 in the Purple section of the Amazon Room.
5:35 – Merson’s in Seat 9, directly to the right of Wilfried Harig, who he doubled through and then eliminated from the 2012 Main Event in 15th place in quick succession, cracking his pocket aces. Dan Fleyshman and Olivier Busquet are also at the table.
5:53 – After laying low for the first couple of orbits, Merson suddenly gets involved in one of the biggest hands of the tournament so far. Felix Kuermayr opens to 1,800, Busquet calls behind him, Haerig calls in the hijack and Merson cold three-bets to 7,100 in the cutoff. Larsen and Busquet fold, but Harig calls. The flop is 9 8 5.
Harig checks, Merson bets 10,800 and Haerig check-raises to 25,000. Merson shoves and Harig quickly calls off his stack for 72,800 total. Merson’s flopped top two-pair with 9 8, but he’ll need to catch a miracle for a significant portion of his stack as Harig has a set of 8 8. The turn is the 9, giving Merson his two-outer and an unbeatable full house. Harig stands up, shakes Merson’s hand and quickly exits the room as the J falls on the river, sending the 160,000 chip pot to Merson.
Merson sits silently for a minute shaking his head as a smile creeps across his face. “That’s the guy I over-bet shoved against with 15 players left in the Main Event last year, then I busted him. Now I two-outed him for heaps, that’s why it’s 10 times sicker.” He continued on Twitter. “Just got super lucky against harig. Doubt he could run worse vs me lifetime. Good sport though, somehow was able to shake my hand after.”
6:09 – Busquet opens to 1,600 in the hijack, Merson calls on the button and Matthias Bolsterli calls in the small blind. Bolsterli checks the Q 6 5 flop, Busquet bets 3,200, Merson raises to 8,400, Bolsterli snap-calls and Busquet gets out of the way. They both check the 9 turn and the river is the 4. Bolsterli bets 12,500 and Merson chuckles, then calls. “What’s so funny?” asks Bolsterli, tabling 8 7 for the nut straight. “I rivered a set,” says Merson, flashing 4 4.
6:27 – Fleyshman is eliminated
6:32 – Merson raises to 2,000 in the hijack, Bolsterli three-bets to 5,000 in the cutoff and Merson calls. The flop is J 6 5, Merson checks, Bolsterli bets 6,500 and Merson calls. The turn is the A, Merson checks, Bolsterli bets 11,000 and Merson calls. The river is the T and both players check, prompting Bolsterli to turn over his A Q. Merson beats him though, rivering two-pair with T 6.
6:41 – Kuermayr opens to 2,000 and Merson calls in the big blind. The flop is K 3 2, Merson checks, Kuermayr bets 2,900 and Merson check-raises to 9,400. Kuermayr calls and the turn is the K, which both players check. The river is the A and Merson leads out for 18,500 and Kuermayr goes into the tank. He eventually calls and Merson tables T 8 for the flush.
6:45 – Busquet opens to 1,600, Merson three-bets to 5,500 and Busquet folds on the penultimate hand before the dinner break.
6:46 – The dinner break begins. Merson now has 250,000 on the dot, putting him among the chipleaders in the field after eight levels of play.
8:16 – Level 9 begins. Blinds are 500/1,000 with a 100 ante.
8:19 – First hand back from break, Merson raises to 2,200 and he’s called by the small blind. The flop is 8 6 4, the small blind checks, Merson bets 2,700 and the small blind calls. The turn and river are both checked through as it come out 7 7, and Merson’s Q J loses to 9 8.
8:51 – Merson raises to 2,200 and takes down the blinds and antes, his first significant action in 30 minutes.
8:57 – Merson defends his big blind and then scoops a small pot.
9:00 – Kevin Pollak comes over to say hello to Merson. He jokes around and then throws a few shadow punches at the defending champ, then returns to his table.
9:16 – Busquet raises to 2,000 in the hijack, Merson three-bets to 5,000 in the cutoff and Busquet folds
9:32 – Kuermayr raises to 2,300 in early position and Merson three-bets to 5,700 in the hijack. Larsen calls and the flop is Q 5 4. Merson bets 6,200 and takes down the pot.
9:53 – Merson raises to 2,200 and takes the blinds and antes.
9:58 – Merson takes the blinds and antes.
10:10 – Another pot for Merson as he three-bets to 5,000 and takes it down.
10:13 – Merson loses a small pot to end the level.
10:16 – After a very quiet level, Merson chips up slightly during this level and takes 268,700 into the final two hours of Day 2A.
10:36 – Level 10 of the Main Event, the final level of Day 2, is underway with blinds of 600/1,200 and a 200 chip ante.
10:50 – Merson raises to 2,700 and takes the blinds and antes.
10:53 – After folding a hand, Merson goes to take a photo with a fan on the rail who’s wearing a White Sox shirt and hat. The Paul Konerko White Sox jersey Merson’s wearing on Day 2A was apparently a gift. “I told you I’d wear it,” says Merson.
10:58 – Across the room, Table 403 breaks in the Orange section of the Amazon Room. All of the players remaining in Day 2A are now seated in Amazon Purple.
11:02 – Bolsterli raises to 2,500 under the gun, Bodo Sbrzesny calls in the small blind and Merson three-bets to 9,000 in the big blind. Bolsterli quickly calls and Sbrzesny folds. The flop is Q 9 7 and both players check, bringing the A on the turn. Merson bets 10,700 and Bolsterli calls. The river is the K and Merson cuts out 12 orange 5,000 chips, betting 60,000. Facing a bet for all of his chips, Bolsterli folds.
11:05 – Bolsterli is eliminated.
11:12 – Kuermayr opens to 2,800 and Merson calls in the cutoff. The flop is 9 9 8, Kuermayr bets 5,600, Merson raises to 18,400 and Kuermayr folds.
11:40 – Merson opens to 3,200, Evan Silverstein three-bets to 6,200, Merson four-bets to 19,000 and Silverstein calls. The flop is Q 8 5, Merson bets 14,300 and Silverstein calls. The turn is the 5, Merson bets 24,600 and Silverstein calls again, bringing the J on the river. Merson shuts down, checking the river, and Silverstein goes all in. Merson snap-folds.
“We could have just got it in pre and I would’ve lost more chips,” says Merson. “What did you have?” inquires Silverstein. “Ace-king suited.”
11:55 – Merson opens to 3,200 from the cutoff and Elliot Shmukler, who took Seat 1, calls on the button. The flop is A K 3, Merson bets 3,600 and Shmukler calls. The turn is the 5, Merson checks, Shmukler bets 10,000 and Merson calls. They both check the 4 river and Merson shows 5 3 for two-pair.
12:12 – A player has the clock called on him twice in a pot against Busquet, and Merson takes that time to sign autographs, take pictures, and chat it up with Pollak.
12:17 – Merson wins a small pot off of Kuermayr with a river bet.
12:23 – Merson opens to 3,200 and gets called by Shmukler on the button and Lawrence Hill in the big blind. The flop is 9 6 2, it’s checked to Shmukler who bets 5,000 and Hill springs the check-raise, making it 12,000. Both of his opponents fold.
12:37 – On the last hand of the night, Shmukler raises to 3,000 under the gun and it folds to Busquet on the button. He calls, as does Merson in the big blind, and the flop is 9 4 3. It’s checked to Busquet, who bets 5,000, and only Merson calls with the K falling on the turn. Both players check and the river is the 2. Merson checks, Busquet bets 15,000 and Merson thinks it over for 30 seconds before lightly flicking his cards towards the muck.
12:38 – The chip bags come out and Merson fills it up, taking 275,600 into Day 3 Thursday.
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