Daily 3-Bet: Rafa Rises, Merson Bails, Poker's Senior Moment

Greg Merson
Merson: Got a better offer from Hellmuth?

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a 4 am wake-up, a sit-down shower and a teeming bowl of grape nuts to kickstart your afternoon poker news metabolism.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop a note in the comments and we'll take a look.

Today in the 3-Bet we find global tennis superstar Rafael Nadal preparing for his biggest poker challenge yet, Greg Merson abruptly changes course from Montreal to the Bay Area and the newly announced Senior Poker Tour may be poker's next big thing.

1) Rafa Readies for EPT Prague

The excitement was definitely palpable last year when PokerStars announced global tennis icon Rafael Nadal had signed on as an Ambassador.

Beyond the mainstream legitimacy the thought of actually sharing a piece of felt with Rafa one day sent poker fans into a bit of a tizzy.

Since then, though, beyond a few forays online while recovering from a knee injury, we haven't seen Nadal at all on the EPT circuit - a fact that's going to change next month at EPT Prague.

As part of the 10-day festival Nadal will be playing his first-ever live poker event (for charity) with an exclusive group of international pros. Only downside? It's invite-only, so if you were preparing a few questions to ask him about your backhand you're probably out of luck.

PokerStars has released a new video, however, offering some insight into how Nadal is preparing:


2) Merson Out of Premier League, In with Hellmuth

So, this kind of came out of nowhere.

We reported last week how stoked we were about 2012 WSOP champ Greg Merson being "confirmed" for this week's $125k Party Poker Premier League event in Montreal but before he could even play a hand our dreams have been dashed.

Not sure what happened but according to Merson Montreal is now out and the Bay Area is in:

Merson didn't give a reason for the change of heart, but also dropping out of the Premier League last minute were Tony G., Sam Trickett and Greg Mueller.

Perhaps they don't like smoked meat and beautiful women. The intriguing replacements, however, are Dan Colman, Sorel Mizzi, Jason Koon and Brian Rast.

It should still be a good show with some entertaining poker; check for live blog updates here starting today at 6 pm ET. Live updates from the Golden State Warriors game, likely with plentiful name-dropping, available from Hellmuth here.

3) Poker's Senior Moment Coming in 2014?

Tom McEvoy
Seniors will flex poker muscle in 2014.

Before you scoff at the news (albeit slightly old news) we're about to share here's a couple of numbers to consider:

WSOP Senior Event Entrees:

  • 2012: 4,128
  • 2013: 4,407

Those are numbers that make the newly announced Senior Poker Tour, coming this January, not as much of a stretch as it sounds at first. In fact Seniors might even be the "future" of poker considering how much our national demographic will shift in the next few years.

Driven by pros Susie Isaacs, Tom McEvoy, Linda Johnson, Mark Kroon, Jan Fisher and Marsha Waggoner the first SPT event is set for Jan 15-19 at the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica. Ms. An $1,100 SPT National Championship is also planned for the Golden Nugget this summer.

Once everyone gets past the scooter and shaking-hand-tell jokes it could very well be the hottest thing going in poker by then.

And at the rate epic tanking is taking over the regular live poker tournament scene, it might even be the fastest game in town. More info on the tour here.

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