Today is the third and final installment of this brief series of highlights from this year's WSOP. Here's what we've looked at so far:
Part I: Ryan Laplante makes a statement; Mike Cordell earns his first bracelet after family tragedy; Rep Porter Wins #3
Part II: Lisa Meredith final tables the Millionaire Maker; Benny Glaser wins two Omaha/8 bracelets; Mitchell Towner wins the Monster Stack.
In Part III, we look at some of the most accomplished players in the game today
Brian Rast Wins his Second Poker Players Championship
(Written by Blair Ames)
Brian Rast reinforced his status as one of the world’s best high-stakes tournament players at this year’s World Series of Poker. He topped a field of 91 players to win the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, becoming only the second player able to say they’ve won the prestigious event twice. Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi is the other, winning the event in 2010 and 2012.
Rast, a 34-year-old poker professional, collected $1,296,097 for winning the Poker Players Championship, his third WSOP gold bracelet, and will have his name etched on the Chip Reese Memorial trophy yet again.
Rast began the six-handed final table fourth in chips and was short-stacked for much of the final day of play before reaching heads up play against Justin Bonomo. Bonomo started with a 4-to-1 chip advantage and over the course of three hours, the pair battled back-and-forth with each spending time as chip lead. Play ended during a round of No-Limit Hold’em when Rast turned a full house, aces full of tens, and Bonomo rivered an ace-high straight.
Brian Rast won the Chip Reese Trophy for the second time
Rast, who previously won the Poker Players Championship in 2011, considers himself primarily a cash game player, but discussed what this victory meant to his standing in the poker world with in an interview with WSOP.com.
“I would be dishonest if I were to say that I haven’t thought about my place in the game,” Rast said. “I could have done a lot of things with my life when I was in my early 20s. I chose poker. And I do care. I don’t care what other people in the world think. But I care what other poker professionals think. I take poker seriously and where my legacy is and how my peers think of me is a measure of professional respect. What I was able to do today was really special.”
Rast’s victory in the PPC marked his fourth cash of the summer. He placed 28th in the tag team event, teaming up with Jeff Gross and Antonio Esfandiari; 8th in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship; and 53rd in the $3,000 6-handed No-Limit Hold’em event.
In addition to his Poker Players Championship titles, Rast won a bracelet in a $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event in 2011.
Adrian Mateos: 21 Year Old with Two Bracelets
(Written by Aleeyah Jadavji)
Adrian Mateos won his second career WSOP gold bracelet this summer. He won his first in the 2013 WSOP Europe Main Event. Now, at just 21 years old, he earned his second when won Event #33: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Summer Solstice for $409,171.
Mateos started the tournament off strong and bagged a respectable stack going into Day 2. From there, he never really looked back and coasted to the final table, eventually defeated Koray Aldemir heads up.
Then just last week, Mateos just finished in 11th place in the $111,111 One Drop High Roller for a whopping $310,550. He now has over $2 million in career WSOP earnings.
Adrian Mateos won the Summer Solstice Event for his second bracelet
Mateos began posting results in the poker world towards the end of 2012. With barely four years of competing amongst the top players, he has booked wins in Madrid, France, Monte Carlo, and Las Vegas. His love for the game is apparent, as he plays in tournaments ranging from small side events, to Main events, right through to Super High Rollers.
As of the time this article was written Mateos was still alive in the Main Event, and he is definitely a player to watch as he tries to collect his third bracelet.
Mercier's Magical Summer
(Written by Rob Kirschen)
Before the 2016 WSOP, Jason Mercier was already one of the brightest starts of poker world. He had three WSOP bracelets and over $16,000,000 in career tournament earnings, and has long been a fan favorite. But the past six weeks have truly cemented his status as one of the best in the game.
Jason Mercier after winning his fifth career bracelet
For about a week, Mercier seemed nearly invincible on the felt. His run started when he won the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship event. After that final table ended, Mercier waited only about an hour before jumping into the $10,000 razz championship. Two days later, he was once again at the final table. He nearly won back-to-back bracelets, but ended up bowing out in second place. Again, he didn’t wait long before jumping into another event. This time it was the $10,000 HORSE Championship. Another two days later, Mercier was at his third consecutive final table, and he soon won his second bracelet of the summer. He added to his haul by winning some highly publicized bracelet bets.
Over the course of the Series, Mercier cashed a total of 10 times. After his streak of 1-2-1 finishes, he now has five career WSOP bracelets, joining the ranks of players such as David Chiu, Allen Cunningham, Scotty Nguyen, Daniel Alaei, recent Poker Hall of Fame inductee John Juanda, and three-time WSOP Main Event champion Stu Ungar.
Yet the highlight of his WSOP likely occurred off the felt. Mercier’s girlfriend Natasha Barbour – herself an accomplished poker player – made the final table of the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event. She came close to earning her first bracelet, but ended up finishing in third place. As she left the table, she ended up with a different form of jewelry. Jason proposed, and the couple made their engagement official on the WSOP main stage, sharing the moment with the entire poker world.
Jason Mercier Proposes to Natasha Barbour