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Daily 3-Bet: Super Maria Sunday, Northug Sochi Grind, Poker Photo Gold
The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a hearty breakfast, a double-decker bus packed with technicians and just the right wax for the current afternoon poker news snow conditions.
Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Feel free to drop a note in the comments and we'll gladly take a look.
Today in the 3-Bet we find Maria Ho's quiet dominance speaking loudly again, Norwegian X-Country skier Petter Northug literally and figuratively grinding away in Sochi and Jason Mercier and Antonio Esfandiari compete for most enjoyable poker photo of the week.
1) Maria Ho Takes Sunday 500 for $80k
We all know her from her more "visible" achievements in poker - last woman standing in the 2007 WSOP Main Event, a runner-up $500k finish at the 2011 WSOP, a turn on The Amazing Race.
But beyond the major headlines Maria Ho just quietly racks up big, impressive results live and online.
Last year she knocked off her first big live tourney win in the River Poker Series for a $101,000 payday and put up a second-place finish in the $2k West Coast Poker Championship in Vancouver shortly after for another $50k.
Yesterday she crushed the PokerStars Sunday 500 for $80k, beating out notable pros Nicholas Chouity, Jakob Carlsson, Martin Staszko, Max Weinberg and Shyam Srinivasan in the final 17 alone.
Make no mistake - she's every bit as good as the top players in the game and has to be a favorite to collect some WSOP gold this summer.
Currently grinding in Vancouver with boyfriend Noah Vaillancourt, watch for Ho to pop up on those Sunday leaderboards very frequently over the coming months.
2) Northug Down Online, Struggles in Sochi
He's one of the greatest X-Country skiers of all-time and the anchor of Norway's elite Men's relay team. But Petter Northug is not having an easy time of it so far in Sochi.
Northug has struggled to find his stride in the first week or so of competiton, posting disappointing results (at least for him) in both the Skiathlon and Men's Sprint.
Making matters worse over the weekend his relay team finished fourth and out of the medals while Northug's fiercest rival, Marcus Hellner, led the Swedes to the gold.
Rubbing salt in the wound? Northug's even down about $20k playing online at the Olympics so far, according to highstakesdb.com.
For the record his Norwegian overlords say they're fine with him playing poker online while at the Olympics, btw, as he did just fine with it in Vancouver in 2010.
Things could, of course, turn around for him in a snap as a nice winning session online (like he had Sunday for $10k) can erase any memories of a bad run. He also still has a couple of more XC events to make a go at a medal in.
On the upside, also: His country is about to legalize live poker tournaments, finally.
3) Mercier w/ Penguins, Gross with Grumpy Companion
We can't decide which picture we enjoy more - Jason Mercier hanging out on the beach with some penguins or Jeff Gross, snapped by pal Antonio Esfandiari, getting ready to settle in for the long haul home from the WPT Alpha8 event in South Africa with an irritated (and possibly gassy) seat companion.
You can really picture Esfandiari laughing the whole way home, can't you?