Valley Center, CA (December 18, 2013) -- The 2013 WSOP Circuit series at Harrah's Rincon was the tenth annual series held at this venue, which has hosted a Circuit series every year since its inception.  Lots of top pros turned out during this series, including Poker Hall of Famer Tom McEvoy, 'Cowboy' Kenna James, Bernard Lee, and November Niner Soi Nguyen.

"Poker is just a hobby," for Drew Merrick, however.  He taught himself to play the game by reading lots of books.  Dan Harrington's Hold'em books are some of his favorites.  He also likes Daniel Negreanu's 'small ball' approach, "but you have to have chips to play that style" he says.  The 35-year-old is self-employed and is married with two small children.  That doesn't leave a lot of time for poker, but he plays cash games and tournaments when he can.

Merrick won Event 1, $365 NLH, and Event 9, $580 NLH, in which he beat Tom McEvoy heads-up in an epic three-hour battle.  Each win earned him 50 points in the Casino Championship race.  In addition to the two wins, Merrick finished fifth in Event 6, the $365 Six-Handed NLH event. 

With two wins and a fifth-place finish, he earned 125 points and won the Casino Champion title.  That many points would put him in the top ten on the National Leaderboard, but he gets an automatic entry into the million dollar freeroll, so the points don't matter.  No Casino Champion at any venue this season has earned as many points as Merrick.

Merrick's three cashes totaled $37,030, which is not a bad haul for a week's work.  He owns his own business, Aquatech Rain Gutters.  He's married to Robyn and they have two young boys, Sonny and Max.  In addition to family and poker, he enjoys surfing, skating, and golfing.

The WSOP National Championship will take place at Caesars Atlantic City in Spring of 2014.  Automatic bids are awarded to the Main Event winner at each of the 22 Circuit stops as well as the top points earner at each venue, known as the Casino Champion. 

Top 10 point earners at Harrah's Rincon:

 

Name

Points

Rings

Cashed

Earnings

1

Drew Merrick

125

2

3

$37,039

2

Paul Cookson

62.5

0

2

$12,079

3

Erik Hansen

62.5

0

2

$9,424

4

Haiau 'Hyle' Han

57.5

0

3

$8,620

5

Mary Anne Madruga

55

0

2

$20,086

6

Alexandru Masek

55

1

2

$15,988

7

Valentin Vornicu

55

0

2

$11,028

8

Steven Firestone

50

0

1

$71,924

9

Jorge Walker

50

1

1

$29,302

10

Mark Alag

50

1

1

$12,555


Full standings available on WSOP.com.