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Defending WSOP world champion Greg Merson was on hand today in Las Vegas along with Tournament Director Jack Effel and WSOP bigwig Ty Stewart to announce shuffle up and deal in the 2013 WSOP Main Event. Merson won $8 million when he defeated Jesse Sylvia heads-up last year and he was happy to wish this year's players good luck and put the cards in the air.
Host: Good afternoon and welcome to the 2013 World Series of Poker main event! So here we are guys, event number 62 of our 62 bracelet series. It has been an exciting summer thus far. Unbelievable champions have been crowned, countries have been represented from all over the world, the Rio has been packed. The Las Vegas summer heat has been on, but it has been a fantastic summer and that is to the thanks of you. So thank you very much. A nice round of applause for everyone here at the world series of poker this summer. Thank you so very much for a great summer so far.
Alright, I'm going to get everything started here with the rules and then we're going to have some special guests to kick things off today. So the main event, it's the event that everybody waits for every single year, it's the one event that if you never get a chance to play anything else, it's the one you want to play. It's the one that pays you 8 million dollars if you win it. It's the one if you win it you become the world champion. It's the one that if you win, it your face goes up on the Amazon Room. Your champion banner gets up and you automatically become an ambassador for the rest of your life. And your history will continue to go on for the remainder of the time that poker is being played around the world.
So if i could get things kicked off, I would like to bring up a very special colleague of mine. Please welcome the Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, Mr. Ty Stuart.
Stuart: Today, only thirty seven people have earned the right to call themselves the World Champion of Poker. The names are iconic: Moss, Brunson, Bunker, and Chan.
Last year, a young man from Maryland who rarely played live tournament poker, in fact, we added his name to that list.
He had only two total cashes on his W.S.P resume coming into last year, but dominated the back half of the series, cashing four times, and winning his first bracelet for a seven figure score before sitting down for this very main event tournament.
Mathematically, to win the World Series of Poker of the year, he would actually have to win the main event. Second place would not be good enough. And, of course, he did just that. On day two, he was down to just three big lines. But surprising no one who knew his resilience and personal toughness, he battled back to this moment. If we can lets roll the ESPN footage...
It was naturally an epic final table, including twelve and a half hours of live television on ESPN. The preemptive sports center went all the way until 6:00 in the morning, Wednesday morning.
In the year since his win, some things have changed and many things have not. He still lives outside the neon lights of Las Vegas. He still does his yoga. He's still passionate about the game and representing for all the grinders and up-and-comers out there. Of course, he's still wearing sport jerseys to the table. He has seen a little bit more of the world playing in Macau, Australia, and Europe. He's done a lot more interviews then he probably wanted to, and even got to throw out the first pitch at his beloved Baltimore Orioles game.
We at the World Series of Poker would like to thank him for handling the last year with such class. Winning for us is a lot on you. He handled it very well. I think all of us who watched that emotional scene saw just how much it meant to him not just financially, but at personal vindication of a chosen path and the realization of what can happen when you never give up on yourself. So to me, he embodies everything that this main event is about. The chance to make good on your dreams and the chance to be great. He certainly was great and still is. I'm very proud to introduce the defending world champion, Mr. Greg Merson.
Merson: So I don't really want to give a speech. I'm tired that every year I come to play there a speech that I have to say. Players good luck and dealers shuffle up the deal.