Los Angeles, California (14 Dec 2022) - When it comes to tournament poker, the adage “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” often comes to mind. After three days of play totaling 27 combined hours at the poker table, Andrew Merrick outlasted 251 other competitors to take home first place. When asked how it felt being the Bicycle Casino WSOP Circuit Main Event champion, the now three-time WSOP Circuit champion shared how good it was being back on the WSOP Circuit scene.
“It’s sinking in,” Merrick said. “I haven’t played a lot of events lately, I have just been working and having some life adjustments. I was happy to come in and make it back to a final table.”
Recounting his journey throughout the Circuit Main Event, Merrick shared just how good he felt throughout the three days of play. “I felt like a lot of things went my way, which is what you need to win a poker tournament,” Merrick said. “I played well, ran well, and it kind of just came together. I had a weird feeling about this tournament, everything just seemed to fall into place. It’s always great when it happens.”
With 40 players returning for Day 2 of the Bicycle Casino WSOP Circuit Main Event, swift eliminations early on had players and staff considering whether a third day of play would be required. While players made quick work of playing down to a final nine, the stiff competition at the final table made Day 3 inevitable.
Late into the evening of Day 2, upon the completion of Level 26 the tournament director called a stop to play with three players remaining. Merrick as well as fellow poker players Adam Miller and Hong Xing Wang ended play at 1 A.M. with plans to return 12 hours later and compete until a winner was declared. Despite tournament play ending, the day would not be over for Merrick, who still had to make the two hour drive back to his home in San Diego.
“I texted a bunch of my friends and said ‘I don’t want to stay here and I don’t want to drive home’” Merrick said with a chuckle. “Ultimately I decided I’d rather shower and sleep in my own bed. The drive wasn’t too bad, I listened to podcasts, music, talked with my girlfriend and just tried to enjoy the time.”
Making the trip back to San Diego and enjoying the comforts of home would prove worth it, as Merrick came into three-handed play ready to compete. Even with a setback early in day three in which Merrick lost a significant amount of chips to Wang, the eventual champion maintained his focus and composure.
“I got down early which was a little frustrating,” Merrick said. “I got ace-king in and he hit his flush draw on the river. I got it in and was thinking ‘alright time to knock out this short stack and play head’s-up’ but then he binked his flush and I was the short stack.”
Despite the setback, Merrick would leverage the premium hands he was dealt to eventually knock out third place finisher Adam Miller and face Wang head’s-up. Both players would start with nearly even stacks, but after taking down a few pots in succession, Merrick applied more and more pressure to Wang. Eventually, Merrick would find the right spot to force his opponent all-in and take down the tournament.
First to act head’s-up, Wang executed a raise for over three big blinds with a dwindling chip stack. Seeing an opportunity, Merrick raised his opponent all-in. Wang would contemplate for some time, before ultimately making the call with suited 10-7. Holding A-7 offsuit, Merrick’s hand would be good enough to award him the Circuit Main Event title.
When asked how he planned to celebrate his victory, Merrick shared he and his girlfriend would likely be making a trip.
“We will probably take a vacation and go have a good time somewhere,” Merrick said. “Hawaii is always a great spot to hit, would love to make it out there.”
Here are the official final table results from the Bicycle Casino WSOP Circuit Main Event:
1st Place - Andrew Merrick - $87,120
2nd Place - Hong Xing Wang - $53,870
3rd Place - Adam Miller - $38,505
4th Place - Win Nguyen - $28,010
5th Place - Andy Garcia - $20,740
6th Place - Michael Lo - $15,635
7th Place - Payman Arjang - $12,101
8th Place - Daniel Brown - $9,395
9th Place - David Carver - $7,495
With the completion of the Bicycle Casino WSOP Circuit Main Event, coverage of the series has officially concluded. On behalf of the WSOP Circuit Media team, have a happy and safe holiday season. The WSOP Circuit will resume next year, with coverage of the upcoming Choctaw WSOP Circuit Main Event beginning January 12th, 2023. Be sure to tune in to catch all of the action on the felt!