WSOP 2016: Can't Stop, Won't Stop
I almost wrote a blog post several days ago. The title?
I was heading into Day 2 of the $1,500 8-game event at the WSOP with 100 or so runners still in the event. I was happy just to be still in the event as the WSOP summer had started out very poorly for me.
I arrived in Vegas on May 27th and hopped in a $50,000 buy-in one-day event at the Aria. It ended for me in very frustrating fashion, busting in 10th place for no money when eight players got paid. I shook off the loss and got ready for the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl which would kick off two days later.
The tournament ended up being a long three-day grind in which I found myself in great position to make the money late on Day 3. This is where a problem arose in the tournament. When we reached nine players, instead of combining to one table of nine, the play was scheduled to continue with one table of four and one table of five. In an attempt to keep things fair, they would move one player back and forth every 20 minutes. While this is a decent notion, it doesn't prevent the biggest problem deep in poker tournaments (especially in SHR tourneys): stalling.
A tournament this close to the money for this amount of money should probably be playing hand-for-hand with 12 or so players left when seven get paid. It just kills the structure and makes the tournament unbearable to play when it's advantageous for players to tank and use max time on every decision.
I ended up busting in ninth place after playing three and a half hours with this alternating system. I became the shortest stack and ran kings into Bryn Kenney's aces at the four-handed table to bust out. While I was disappointed and upset, I knew that there was a long summer ahead.
I started the WSOP by playing the $10,000 Stud event and made Day 2, only to bust out after less than an hour on the second day. I then failed to bag chips in the next eight events I played. That's where I was a few days ago.
Now, it's a different story.
I made a semi-deep run in the $1,500 8-game on Day 2, busting out in 35th, leaving me plenty of time to hop in the $10,000 NL 2-7 tournament. This event would be the one to change my summer. I managed to make Day 2 of this event with around average chips and then bag the chip lead with nine players left going into the final day.
The final day went as well as it possibly could. I went heads up against Mike Watson and came out victorious! On the final hand, Mike raised the button to 100k at 25/50k blinds. I called with 8654A and drew one, discarding the ace. He also drew one card. I caught a deuce, which was my nut card making me one of the best hands you can have in this game. I checked to Watts hoping he would bet so I could check-raise. He actually went with a pretty big bet size here firing 200k (almost pot). I decided to just go for it. I moved all in praying for a call. He deliberated for a minute or two and finally made the call!
It was such an awesome feeling sitting there knowing that if he called, it would be "all over baby." It was my first bracelet win in that kind of spot. My other three wins were all either all-in on the flop or pre-flop. It was such an adrenaline rush shipping my first gold bracelet of the summer, winning $273,000 in prize money and collecting close to $750,000 in side bets. It was an incredible feeling winning my first bracelet of the summer and my fouth ever lifetime. There was also the added bonus that winning would also put me in a great position to collect on a bunch of bets I'd made on winning two bracelets with a decent shot at three-bracelet wagers, too.
After winning the event, I registered the $10,000 Razz event and made Day 2 again with around average chips. It felt like deja vu on Day 2. I ran so hot, winning crucial pot after crucial pot to make the final table leading again. There were eight players left this time going into the final day, and I had the chip lead with 32% of the chips in play.
I was confident I was going to win my second bracelet in three days and become the first player ever to win back-to-back $10,000 championship events. The final table went according to plan until I ran into the man that would eventually end my dreams of back to back wins: Ray Dehkharghni.
We played a pretty intense heads up match for a few hours in which he got the best of me. I came up just short, finishing second place for around $160,000, leaving around $500,000 on the table plus the equity of the three-bracelet bet.
I was disappointed for literally a few minutes, and then I had no choice but to get back to the grind. Making these bracelet bets doesn't really give you much leeway to skip events. I was extremely exhausted after the match, and really just wanted to go to bed. However, I jumped in the $10,000 HORSE just before registration closed. I bagged above average chips with 66 players left going into Day 2. Today? I'm chip leader with 14 left!
I'm really excited my parents get into town tonight. They are here to film my Pokerography episode for Poker Central and sweat me in the HORSE.
I want to thank all my friends, family, and fans who have been watching, supporting, and rooting me on while I'm on this quest. It means the world to me!
I know I'm not finished. The task isn't done. There are still so many more big-buy in small-field events left.
Don't be surprised if you see me hoisting another bracelet. #BraceletHunting
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Jason Mercier is a member of Team PokerStars Pro