Merson, who we interviewed on break from Day 1a of the 2012 WSOPE Main Event, saw his grasp on Player of the Year evaporate when Antonio Esfandiari won his second gold bracelet of the year in the €1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event.
“I want to win but I may have to wait until October to do it,” he said. “Right now I have to get fourth or better and I expect that to happen.”
Esfandiari’s current lead on POY wouldn’t be possible without his record-setting $18 million haul at the WSOP Big One for One Drop this summer but there are many players who feel it should not have counted towards POY because there were only 48 entrants.
You can count Merson as one of the critics.
“I don’t think it should have counted but if he wins I won’t be bitter about it,” said Merson. “He still won a million-dollar tournament, another bracelet and made another final table. He’s a nice guy too.”
Merson is actually friends with Esfandiari but that just gives him one more incentive to win the Main Event.
“I’m obviously going to try and beat him and he’s going to be rooting against me in the commentary booth,” Merson said. “It should be good.”
Merson Gunning for $8.5 Million in ME Final Table
It’s been a whirlwind journey for Merson since making the October Nine back in late July.
“The media attention is all new to me,” he said. “All my friends have gotten it in the past but because I was a cash game player I kind of just hid behind a computer.”
He’s done countless interviews with newspapers near his hometown of Laurel, Maryland.
“I come from a conservative town where what I chose to do for a living is certainly outside the box,” he explained.
With the Main Event final table just one month away, Merson has been studying footage from contest.
“I’ve been watching myself more than my opponents,” said Merson. “I feel like I have enough relative information on their tells. I want to fix certain things that I do.”
Beyond that, it’s been the same old routine for Merson, which means a lot of cash games.
“I just love playing cash games,” he said. “I don’t really like tournaments at all. They are just really frustrating.”
Despite his normal distaste for tournaments, Merson will happily bring 28,725,000 chips to the Main Event final table on Oct. 29-30 for a shot at $8.5 million.
Greg’s father, Stan Merson, who also played the Main Event this year because of a satellite, will be particularly supportive at the final table.
“We actually swapped 2% in the Main Event,” he said. “I haven’t told anyone that.”
The 2012 WSOPE Main Event in Cannes, France, continues through October 5.