The regulated online poker market in Nevada has been up and running for 17 months now, but its leading operator, WSOP.com, is just now on the cusp of celebrating its one year anniversary. Launched September 19, 2013, the real money online poker site will be one year old on Friday – an event well worth commemorating in the eyes of the state’s top iGaming operator. To help celebrate, WSOP.com has done something they’ve never done before – they’ve signed their very first sponsored pro, and it just happens to be the 2012 WSOP Main Event Champion, Greg Merson.
Owned by the multinational Caesars Entertainment Corporation, WSOP.com has been looking for the right person to fill the role of brand ambassador for a while now. According to reports, the operator has been discussing a contract with Merson since as far back as July. Now, two months later, the official announcement has been made. Greg Merson will represent Nevada’s #1 online poker site.
Interestingly enough, Merson isn’t a resident of Nevada. According to his profile on Twitter, the 26 year old poker pro lives in Hoboken, New Jersey. It just so happens, however, that WSOP.com also operates the #2 online poker site in that state, appropriately known as ‘WSOP NJ’. So it’s a win-win situation for both parties.
Bill Rini, the Head of Online Poker for WSOP.com, gave his enthusiastic outlook on the last 364 days of operations. “It has been a year full of excitement, with plenty of lessons learned. Most importantly for the game’s long-term health, the technology and the regulations have worked as intended. We have established a solid foundation for this recently-regulated digital form of entertainment in the United States, and remain fully-committed and bullish on the long-term prospects of the business.”
As for the online poker site’s recent acquisition of an elite brand ambassador, Rini said, “Greg is a terrific ambassador for the game of poker. He loves the game, is passionate and opinionated about its future, and he will help us spread the word about our offerings and ensure the poker playing community has a respected, experienced voice to help shape WSOP.com moving forward.”
Merson got his start playing poker among friends in 2003 while attending the University of Maryland. He soon converted to online poker, and ended up dropping out of college after just two and a half semesters. It took some time before Merson really found his sea legs, finding his niche as a short-handed cash game specialist. Once he did, he was off to the races.
Online poker tournaments eventually favored the young poker pro as well. He accumulated more than $300k at PokerStars under the nickname “gregy20723”, and countless more from cash game play. He won a few live tournaments in 2007 and 2009, accumulating over $60k in combined winnings. He did quite well in 2010, pulling in near $90k that year alone, but only racked up about $10k in 2011. It wasn’t until 2012 that his career really took off, starting with a $1.1 million WSOP bracelet win in Event 57, and finishing up with a 2012 WSOP Main Event Championship Bracelet later that year for $8.5 million.