The sickest tournament runs of all time [Editorial]

The sickest tournament runs of all time [Editorial]

Friday, 3 June 2011

Erik Seidel is a boss. We know this because he has won a metric shitload of money this year with final tables and victories in $10,000 to $250,000 buy-in events pouring out of his posterior like nobody’s business. With over $5.5m earned this year he’s truly a tournament poker force to be reckoned with.

But a lot of people have been on crazy runs; Seidel’s is just more mental because of the staggering buy-ins of the events he’s won. Let’s face it, most of his winnings this year come from what are essentially multi-table Sit ‘n’ Goes with 27 to 50 players.

These guys, though. Seriously. This is how you go on a sick tournament run – and we didn’t even mention Yevgeniy Timoshenko’s 2009.

Phil Ivey’s 2002 and/or 2009 World Series of Poker

You could certainly argue either way as to whether Phil Ivey’s run in the 2002 World Series of Poker was greater than his 2009 achievements. The fields were smaller but the competition is now tougher, so I felt compelled to include them both.

Starting with the one that more than 80% of the readership remembers (your collective poker memories started circa 2003/4 I imagine), 2009 was the year that Phil Ivey got out of his cash game seat and said “fine, screw it, I’ll play some damn tournaments. But I better get a lot of bracelet bets.”

It was a good move. He kicked off his 2009 WSOP by winning the $2,500 NL 2-7 Draw event for just under $100k before three days later cashing in a $2,500 NL event for $18k and six days after that winning the $2,500 Stud 8/Omaha 8 event for $220k. One more cash, one more final table ($5,000 NL Shootout) and then he was ready for his fifth top twenty finish in the Main Event this decade. This time he went nearly all the way, made the November Nine, got the railbirds pitching a tent hardcore and finished seventh for $1.4m.

Ah, but 2002 – this was the year when Ivey stepped up first and said “hey guys, I’m pretty good at poker”. Coming off the back of a $72k score in a $1,000 event at the LA Poker Classic, Ivey started off his 2002 WSOP with an immediate final table in the $1,500 Omaha 8. Two days later he was sitting with all the chips in the $1,500 Stud event, $132k richer. Four days after that, another final table (8th in the $2,000 HORSE) and six days after that, another bracelet for the $2,500 Stud 8 event. He followed this up with his third bracelet of the year ($2,000 SHOE for $108k) and proceeded to finish 23rd in the Main Event.

Oh, also that year he made two WPT final tables for a total of $365k.

ElkY’s January to January run in 2008/9 and his 2008 WCOOP.

Former Starcraft champion Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier had certainly had success before January 2008 in that he had an EPT runner-up spot and several WSOP cashes under his belt before qualifying through PokerStars to the 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. At the start of that year he won the then-record event for $2,000,000. Nice.

In 2009 he returned to the Caribbean and made headlines for winning the $25,000 High Roller event for $625,000, going back-to-back at the Bahamas – albeit in different events. Between those two Caribbean scores, though, ElkY had several major final tables worth several hundred grand but most importantly? Only a World Poker Tour title at the Festa al Lago for a cool $1.41m.

Oh, and the month prior to that WPT win he played in the 2008 WCOOP on PokerStars. Ready for it? Runner-up to stevesbets in the $25k HU, winner of the $1k NL event and a fifth place in the $530 Triple Shootout for $20k. All told, ElkY earned over $3.5m between his PCA Main Event win and his PCA High Roller win. Not a bad year.

Jason Mercier: removing variance from tournament poker since 2008.

Jason Mercier made his first live tournament cash in April 2008 a good one, winning the EPT San Remo event for $1.37m. It’s difficult to believe that it’s been barely three years since no one in poker had heard of Jason Mercier because he’s been on a sick tournament run ever since then – and it shows no signs of ending any time soon.

After San Remo he had three cashes at the WSOP before having a damn good autumn, finishing sixth at EPT Barcelona and final tabling the WSOPE’s £5,000 PLO event and then going on to win the EPT High Roller event in London for over half a million quid.

February of 2009 saw him win both $1,500 PLO and $1,000 NL events at the LA Poker Classic before he took his first WSOP bracelet that year in the $1,500 PLO event for almost a quarter-million dollars. Four more cashes in that WSOP and he returned to Barcelona’s EPT events, coming second in a €1,000 NL tournament before final tabling the WSOPE Main Event and finishing fourth as well as taking down a £2,500 NL event at the EPT London for over £115k.

Going back stateside, he made two more big final tables in Vegas – at the Festa al Lago and Five Diamond Classic prelims – before winning the $5,000 HORSE event at the Five Diamond to round off 2009. He then won the $1,000 NL Southern Poker Championship in Biloxi before winning the $25,000 NAPT Bounty Shootout at Mohegan Sun in April of last year. So that’s two years with literally dozens of final tables and an EPT title and WSOP bracelet in there to boot.

It’s not like you can even say “well that’s all well and good but what’s he done since then?” This was only fourteen months ago and since then he’s defended his title in the NAPT Bounty Shootout, cashed six times in the 2010 WSOP and made three other major final tables.
You’re right, actually – he’s slacking.

Tags: Erik Seidel, Phil Ivey, Jason Mercier, Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, Matt Perry Editorial, WSOP