The Main Event, which begins this Saturday at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, may mark the beginning of the end for this year’s World Series of Poker, but even when it’s completed there will still be one title left to contend, that of Player of the Year.
We bring it up because, despite intense competition, it has been the stomping ground of Team Pro in recent years.
Back in 2013 the familiar figure of Daniel Negreanu won the competition having scored ten WSOP cashes around the world, starting in Australia, passing through Las Vegas and then onto France.
A closer look reveals why.
Negreanu won the $10K WSOP APAC that year for a little more than $1 million, and then in the summer narrowly missed out on a bracelet, finishing second in the 2-7 Triple Draw. He then capped off the year by winning the High Roller event at the WSOP Europe in Enghien-les-Bains, outside Paris.
A year later it was the turn of another Team Pro, George Danzer scoring ten cashes this time, with three particular highlights.
The first came in Las Vegas, where he ended his bracelet drought to win the $10K Seven Card Razz event. A little over a week later he did the same again in almost the same circumstances in the $10K Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo.
As if that wasn’t remarkable enough he added a third bracelet, this time in Melbourne, winning the 8-Game Mixed title down under (Danzer added a fourth bracelet this summer).
Now, two years later another team Pro looks increasingly likely to match the records of Negreanu and Danzer.
Jason Mercier is a man in a hurry, cramming in a year’s worth of success into the space of a few weeks – actually the space of one week.
Early in the Series Mercier won not one but two bracelets, and in between managed a runner-up finish. Such was his string of results that when he went three days without a cash finish we started to get worried.
The result of that effort makes Mercier the current leader in the 2016 WSOP Player of the Year stakes. What’s more his lead is substantial, several hundred points ahead of second place. And let’s not forget there technically is still plenty more to win before the Las Vegas summer comes to an end.
If he manages it Mercier will be continuing with what has become something of a Team Pro tradition.
Our coverage of the WSOP Main Event begins this Saturday on the PokerStars Blog. Click here to catch up on all the PokerStars stories from the summer so far.
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WSOP Photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.