Has Greg Merson Gone Broke?
Greg Merson is American professional poker star best known for winning the WSOP 2012 Main Event, where he scooped an enviable $8,531,853. Merson started playing poker in 2003 at the amateur level whilst a student of the University of Maryland. After two and a half semesters he dropped out to pursue a professional career in the game. At first, unable to find success, Merson returned to education, attending community college. After a second attempt at professional play he found success as a specialist in the short-handed cash game. Prior to his World Series of Poker win, Merson struggled with both marijuana and cocaine addictions, which he has now overcome since the 2012 WSOP Main Event. He walked away with a total of four cashes, reached two final tables and earned himself not one, but two WSOP bracelets. Merson’s total live earnings amount to $10,950,834.
Outspoken Tournament Guru
“I was asked not to talk about Macau […] Get to China people. Get some gold.”
When speaking on the subject of the poker scene, Merson is an honest, likable good guy. He’s concerned about the harsh elements of the industry and the way that amateurs can become drawn in to the bright lights, starched shirts and Stetsons lifestyle only to face financial ruin at the hands of their so-called friends:
“I’ve seen guys who are really wealthy have their lives ruined because they just get sucked into this lifestyle where the pros are friendly with them but then just constantly [stack] them whenever they play poker.”
Determined to separate the wheat from the chaff on the grayer areas of poker morality, Merson is rebellious in the face of convention and fearless in his clear breakdown of the good and bad ideas of poker play for players of all levels. Standing tall in the face of others urging him not to mention the cash-cow that is Macau right now, Merson wants to share his success with others bold enough to go after it. Mainly, he’s talking about Macau. With a host of other professional poker stars flocking to China to land a slice of sweet, opportunity pie, it makes sense that Merson’s opening up about the emergent and now established poker scene out there.
Merson’s Top Five Tournament Cashes
– 1st place for $8,531,853 at the 2012 WSOP $10,000 World Championship – No-Limit Hold’em (Event #61)
– 1st place for $1,136,197 at the 2014 WSOP $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Six Handed Event
– 2nd place for $948,996 at the 2014 $25,000 + 500 PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em High Roller
– 167th place for $42,990 at the 2013 WSOP £10,000 World Championship –No Limit Hold’em Day (Event #62)
– 5th place for $70,280 at the 2012 WSOP $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em – Four-Handed (Event #28)
Acquiring his first finance-propelling win at the 2009 WSOP Main Event, he finished 639th out of 6,494 earning $21,365. He earned his first bracelet at the 2012 $10,000 Six-Handed Texas Hold’em, in competition with another 474 players. At the 2012 WSOP, Merson finished in the green (money over marijuana) in three Short-Handed No-Limit Hold’em events shortly before the Main Event. He earned his second bracelet at this time. With a total worth of just shy of $11,000,000 Merson went from tadpole to big fish in a matter of about two years. Given that his career’s only just beginning, that isn’t exactly a bad state of affairs for a twenty-something university drop out.
So is Greg Merson really broke?
Somehow, we doubt it. With his high-figure wins and knack for the short-hand game, Merson has a bright career ahead of him that should see his success as long as he wants to turn his hand to the tables. Likely, he’ll be focusing his efforts, like so many others, on Macau for the time being, popping up on the regular circuit every now and again to freshen up his game before returning his attentions once again to the Chinese.
With an all-round no-nonsense outlook on life, the game and the social politics of the poker world, Merson is an astute, formidable asset that many players would do well to treat with both caution and respect. Now blessed with a new start in life following bumpy beginnings, Merson deserves all his hard-earned success, and is projected to only further his ambitions and achievements as he matures into a more seasoned player.
Keep an eye on Greg Merson over the next few years, as there’s a strong suspicion that he’s set to snag more big wins, providing that he finds time away from the now bandwagon (mainly because of his openness on the subject) Macau circuit to attend WSOP and other Tournaments.
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