A Look at the 2016 WSOP: Mercier Dominated, Hellmuth Didn’t, Bad Boys Showed Up

July 20th, 2016 | by Greg Shaun

As it does every year, the 2016 World Series of Poker seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye. The biggest poker tournament in the world had plenty of drama, scandal, victories, and disappointments. Let’s take a look at the summer that was.

Jason Mercier WSOp 2016

Stacked: Jason Mercier proved his mettle at this year’s World Series of Poker with two bracelet wins and a 2nd place finish. (Image: somuchpoker.com)

There were two major stories this summer: the return of Howard Lederer and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson to the Series for the first time since 2011’s Black Friday, and Jason Mercier’s crazy heater.

Many poker players at the Rio in Las Vegas rolled their eyes when the former Full Tilt Poker execs showed up to play (not together) for WSOP events this year. Ferguson received an unpleasant welcome when he first showed up in early June. And despite the media’s attempt to get him to speak publicly, he refused, saying, “I’m just here to play poker.”

Lederer, on the other hand, at least issued an apology for his actions leading up to Black Friday, and even accepted responsibility. That was the first time he has apologized publicly. Ferguson, however, still refuses to show any remorse to the poker community.

Lederer only played in a couple of events, but Ferguson entered many. He had a successful series, cashing 10 times, including a 4th place finish in Event #39, the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed championship. Both players busted on Day Two of the Main Event.

For the most part, Lederer and Ferguson avoided major confrontations from angry poker players. On a few occasions, they were confronted at the table by disgruntled former Full Tilt Poker customers, but managed to avoid getting any black eyes.

Marvelous Mercier

What a summer it was for Jason Mercier. Soon after fellow pro Doug Polk criticized his game on Twitter, the Floridian went on to win WSOP Player of the Year for his phenomenal track record at this year’s Series.

He went legendary status in mid-June when he pulled off arguably the most impressive five-day run in World Series of Poker history. From June 11 to June 15, the PokerStars pro won two events and finished runner-up in another.

Overall, he cashed 11 times at the 2016 WSOP and ran away with Player of the Year. Two other players, Benny Glaser and Ian Johns, also won multiple bracelets. But no one could match the overall performance of the very savvy Jason Mercier.

Hellish Summer for Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth holds the record for most career gold bracelets at the World Series  at 14, but he didn’t even come close to extending that record this year. It wasn’t a memorable summer for the Poker Brat.

He cashed in just three events and only finished at one final table (8th place finish in Event #48, the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo).

High Roller Holz

Fedor Holz burst on the poker scene just a few years ago. And at just 22 years old, he’s already won millions. His summer began with a 2nd place finish in the $300,000 buy-in Aria Super High Roller Bowl for $3.5 million.

He followed that up with another seven-figure score in WSOP Event #67, the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop. The German pro won the event, beating out 183 of the game’s top players. Holz, despite his young age, is considered by many as the top high stakes pro in the game today.

All in all, there was an enormous amount of talent at this year’s Series, yet none of them made it to the October Nine in the Main Event.

That’s show business.


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