Biography While many poker players are described as having a ‘breakout year’, the term has never been more applicable than for Greg Merson’s 2012.
Originally from Laurel, Maryland, Merson began playing poker online after learning the game playing home-games with friends. After leaving high school Merson attended the University of Maryland, and spent much of his time there playing poker and focusing on improving his game rather than studying. He dropped out after two and a half semesters, believing he could make more money playing poker.
Merson developed primarily as a six-max high-stakes cash game player, though he has always shown ability in tournament poker as well, as he won a $200 tournament in Verona for $18,053 at the age of just 19. It was at the 2012 World Series of Poker that Merson came to prominence. He bubbled the final table of the $2,500 4-Handed NLHE event for $70,280, before taking home his first bracelet in the $10,000 6-Handed NLHE event for a $1,136,197 payday. However, this was just the tip of the iceberg for Merson as he went on to take down the WSOP 2012 Main Event.
Merson did so in spectacular style as well, being down to just 3 big blinds on day 5 of the tournament. A couple of quick double ups and Merson was back in contention, and played his way to the final table third in chips. Merson’s expertise in short-handed play helped him win his second bracelet as he took down the Main Event for a cool $8,531,853. These two bracelets helped Merson win the 2012 World Series of Poker Player of the Year award, narrowly pipping Phil Hellmuth.
Merson also experienced another deep run in the 2013 WSOP Main Event, as he finished 167th out of a field of over 6,000.