Posts Tagged ‘Gregg-Merkow’

Poker Pro’s Businesses Destroyed in Historic Dallas Fire

by , Mar 3, 2010 | 8:13 am

Longtime friend of Pokerati and poker pro Gregg Merkow took a rough beat early yesterday morning when fire engulfed two of his restaurants in Dallas. A four-alarm blaze destroyed The Hurricane Grill and the Greenville Bar & Grill, owned by Merkow, along with Mick’s bar and Terilli’s, the Italian restaurant where the fire reportedly started. It’s one of the most historic blocks of Dallas nightlife on Greenville Avenue — and thus citizens are concerned about saving what they can of the buildings even after they burnt virtually to the ground.

More on the fire and its aftermath here.

Because we care about poker players, and due diligence, we’d throw our friends under the bus in a second for a scandalous hedline + Google juice, we couldn’t help but ask whether or not perhaps he’d been running bad lately and this fire, started at a time when the structure was safely empty, might not have been a nefarious play for insurance dollars. Turns out that Merkow didn’t even have insurance on these legendary properties that may or may not have helped launch a poker career.

While non-poker people in Dallas debate how that could be (and who should ultimately be responsible), one of the players in his regular 10/25/50 NLH/PLO game explained, “It’s Merkow. He’s a gambler.”

Our sympathy for his loss … sucks, dude. Merkow speaks with the Associated Press shortly after the fire that had nothing to do with poker here:

WSOP Main Event: Field Size Speculation and Day 1 Choice EV

by , Jul 3, 2009 | 10:35 am

Today is the first day of the 2009 main event. I’m sticking to my guns and saying the field size will be anywhere from 3,000-12,000 and offering 10:1 odds on anything outside of that. Just made a wager on the over for 5,000 … easy. Anyone else wanna offer that line? Seriously, it’s such a wild guessing game, and yet in the end, why do I think it’s gonna be just a few hundred less or just a few hundred more than last year’s main event field of 6,844? People can get their money off of PokerStars, right?

Meanwhile, Team Pokerati final tableist Gregg Merkow won his main event seat last night … and now is trying to figure out the differences between Day 1A-1D:
via Facebook

Winner winner chicken dinner won my seat to the main event in mega sat. today but can’t decide what day to play fri,sat,sun or mon.

Good question. Though as Kevin points out the numbers will likely differ noticeably as the 96 hours that constitute Day 1 progress, is there really a difference in the types of fields you can expect on each day? One more donkey-filled than another, for example (and is that a good or bad thing, lol).

Choosing when to play, of course, is the first of many decisions that will be part of someone’s journey toward becoming the winner. But it may also be the least relevant and simply depend on the player and his or her life schedule.

World Series of Failure

No more Tom twitters until …

by , Jun 18, 2009 | 8:01 am

I feel kinda bad (not really) for crushing Tom’s soul. But I was hearing the same story from him as I’ve heard from at least a half-a-dozen other pros finding similar results: “I’m playing great! I’m making sick laydowns! My mental state is good! Just running bad. Cold cold cold. It’s getting frustrating. But I’m playing some of the best poker of my life! Jesus, [everyone else] is just getting lucky!”

Yeah. Uh-huh. That’s gotta be what it is … it’s clearly not possible that the deadest money on the table is someone who thinks they’re playing their A-game but isn’t compared to everyone else. In an effort to get a semi-retired Pokerati blogger and my best pro pal to consider shifting gears, I sent him the net-results rankings for everyone who has played in the 2009 WSOP under the Team Pokerati banner:

1. Gregg Merkow
2. Cliff Fisher
3. Robert Goldfarb
4. John Harris
5. Julie Schneider
6. Pat Poels
7. Shoegal
8. Tom Schneider

I then reminded him that the guy who picked him to be on his ESPN Fantasy Team (Gary Wise) is in dead last place. (Ha ha.)

You get the gist. The numbers don’t lie repeatedly. So while “playing some of the best poker of my life!” … not only is the DonkeyBomber something like 0-for-13 in cashing in tournaments, but also he hasn’t even made a Day 2. So before he finds himself trying to trade jewelry with Eskimo Clark for a satellite buy-in, he has decided to change his game says he will no longer be twittering until he bags chips for the first time in the 2009 WSOP. Good gameplan.

Click here to see the beginnings of a first-half WSOP fail regaled in increments of 140 characters or less. We’ll see if Tom returns with a vengeance or if his twitter account, along with his poker career, fades into oblivion.

(I Swear) I’m not a Cooler

by , Jun 11, 2009 | 12:19 am

The face of a Team Pokerati player about to lose all his chips, just in time for the cameras.

So Pat Poels (aka “Patch” Poels) heads over to the press box — a long walk from the Brasilia Room — to let me know he’s in the money in $3,000 HORSE and to get a new patch for his presumed run to the final table …

A few minutes later, I walk over that way to buy Benjo a drink to grab a picture of our latest Team Pokerati money player, and I stumbled onto a hand that looks to be getting big. Sure enough, they’re playing 7cs-hi-lo, and Poels is about to be all-in with the nut-flush and nut-low draw, and two cards to come. His opponent has trips … Pat goes blank-blank … and just like that he’s out — in 47th place, for a $5,277 payday.

Just coincidence, for sure … but it did remind me of patching up Gregg Merkow the other day. Without a doubt, it was a thrill on my end to have a player representin’ at a final table. And by all means, with 9 left, and him in 4th or 5th chip position, I think we all were thinkin’ … yeah, bracelet. Actually, when I went to give him his patch, another player at the table asked for one, too. I denied him, saying we don’t work that way — being a Pokerati preferred player is too big an honor to just give away willy-nilly. In the $2,500 NLH, that player went on to take 3rd place. Merkow …


Gregg Merkow busted out in 9th place, fewer than five minutes after posing for a picture with his new Team Pokerati patch.

UPDATE: @donkeybomber just busted out of his second tournament of the day — $10k 2-7 NL-1D. He’s still 0-fer, and has yet to go deep enough to display his ‘ati affiliation.

WSOPeople: Gabi’s My Girl!

+ Go Gregg Merkow, too!

by , Jun 7, 2009 | 1:43 pm

I’ve got a horse in the ladies event … Gabriela Hill, whom you can follow at @GabrielaHill. She’s not a Pokerati patch-wearer (yet) or anything, but I was the lone media representative to accept the very odd offer from her disgruntled former agent, @OliverTse.

Seriously, it was a strange prop bet offer … one deemed “unprofessional” by some, and made one other refer to Oliver as the Kim Jong Il of Poker. Though Oliver is Chinese, not Korean, the metaphor kinda sorta holds … because by all means he is sometimes an ostracized “player” in the industry, left to his own devices … and let’s face it: the guy would presumably love to get his hands on some nuclear weapons and wreak havoc on all who ever have tormented him since high school.

I’ll share with you more details of the wager itself as I learn to understand them. But basically – and these are the odds that just seemed too good to pass up on my end — if she’s still alive by the time I show up at the Rio, I’ll get my $10 back. If she makes it to the final table, I get $1,000. There are all sorts of other increased payment tiers along the way.

Though she probably doesn’t remember it, Gabriela Hill and I actually met last year — Oliver introduced us. At the time he told me (with extra emphasis on the rolled R’s) that she was a hot Latin American player. Good enough for me! This is her first ever WSOP bracelet event, apparently. Go Gabi Hill! You the girl!

(FYI, she has only like three followers on twitter, so click on over and become an “early adopter”.)

Meanwhile, as Gabriela’s working on building her stack in a way that makes Dan money! justifies her trip to another continent, we’ll also be following Gregg Merkow closely, as this longtime Pokerati fan — wielding a bankroll fueled at least in part by the high-roller contingent of Batfaces — has his best chance for a bracelet in as long as we can remember.

He’s the chip leader with 18 players left in $2,500 NLH. The short stack going in there, btw, is Phil Ivey … who hasn’t even showed up yet, but has already outlasted three players who started the day.

Click here to follow that action.

UPDATE: Merkow went out 9th. 🙁 We swear his donning a Pokerati patch and the subsequent cooler effect was purely coincidental.

UPDATE: Supposedly Gabi is out, too. 🙁 I hope you’re happy, Oliver!

(Way) Outside the WSOP – Day 12

by , | 7:54 am

A recap of the events from earlier this morning, trying something new to avoid the wall of text my morning reports have become:

Harb-oring a bracelet

Congratulations go out to Anthony Harb who took down the $2,000 NL Holdem event for $569,254 earlier this morning, outlasting Peter Rho and Jim Geary. All three players had cashed in earlier events in the WSOP as Harb and Rho cashed in the $1k NL Stimulus Special), while Geary finished 7th in the $1,500 OHL event.

Off to a Flying Finn-ish start

Onnittelu to the first Finn to win a WSOP bracelet, as Ville Wahlbeck, who had an earlier 3rd place finish in the $10,000 7 Card Stud World Championship bested David Chiu in heads-up play to take home the bracelet that eluded him earlier in the week, collecting nearly $500,000. He also moves into the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race with 160 points, ahead of Phil Ivey and Vitaly Lunkin’s 110 points.

Another Finn looking for some glory of his own will be Tommi Horkko, who is the chip leader (509,000) with 11 left when the $2,500 Limit Holdem 6-max event gets underway at 1pm today. Daniel Negreanu (470,000) is close behind in 2nd place. Barry Shulman, Brock Parker, Shawn Buchanan and Nikolay Losev are the more notable names remaining in the compact field.

NAFTA: $2,500 NL version

The $2,500 NL Holdem event will also return at 1pm today with 20 players returning to play down to a winner. It”ll be like the Ross Perot v Al Gore debate all over again as Texan Gregg Merkow starts play as the chip leader (932,000), with Mexico’s Angel Guillen (860,000) and Canada’s Bahador Ahmadi (800,000) are the top three stacks fighting it out in the name of free trade and poker supremacy. Other international invaders who’ll be trying to take the bracelet to their own trade zone includes the UK’s Roland de Wolfe (400,000) and Russia’s Kirill Gerasimov (390,000).

Brazilian waxing 5k NL holdem

Brazilian Clemencau Calixto, not to be confused with the New Mexico band Calexico, is the chip leader (186,300) at the end of day 1, as 164 players will return at 2pm. Frere Jacques Faraz Jaka is 3rd in chips at 172,200. Other notables who are in the top half of the field: defending champion Scott Seiver (118,600), Jimmy “Gobbo” Fricke (112,200), Isaac Baron (101,300), David Benefield (85,200), Gavin Griffin (69,100), Erik Seidel (65,900), and Dan Heimiller (56,200).

$1,500 7 Card Studs

From a field of 359, only 97 will make their way back into the Rio at 2pm to attempt to reach a final table. The day 1 chip leader is David Levi (49,600). Among those in the top 10: Dutch Boyd (47,700), Jeff Lisandro (40,700), Jason Mercier (35,000), and Eli Elezra (31,100). Other notables include: Sam Grizzle, Nick Frangos, Pokerati’s own Robert Goldfarb, and Barbara Enright.

Hey Ladies!

Today’s event at 12 noon is the $1,000 NL Holdem Ladies’ World Championship, which was won last year by professional Svetlana Gromenskova in a field of 1,190 to collect just over $220,000 in cash. It remains to be seen if any guys will attempt to enter the field like last year, but it’ll surely make a great photo op for someone bold enough to give it a try.

Omaha, 8? You better!

The 5pm event today will be the $10,000 Omaha 8 or Better World Championship which was won last year by David Benyamine in a field of 235 to add over $535,000 to his tournament stats.


$1,000 Ladies World Championship – 1,190 (take the over, saying 1,254)
$10,000 OHL World Championship – 247 (take the under, guessing 231)

Follow the updates at and Pokerati for the other stuff.

(Way) Outside the WSOP – (Day 31)

by , Jun 29, 2008 | 6:59 am

Finishing the action from last night, with the Sunday preview that’s not really a preview:

The HORSE final table is now set for 3pm to be under the really hot lights of the ESPN cameras. Here’s how this stacked lineup will be seated at that table:

Seat 1: Matt Glantz (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) — 1,445,000
Seat 2: Huck Seed (Las Vegas, Nevada) — 1,200,000
Seat 3: Patrick Bueno (Paris, France) — 695,000
Seat 4: Lyle Berman (Minneapolis, Minnesota) — 1,430,000
Seat 5: Scotty Nguyen (Las Vegas, Nevada) — 3,535,000
Seat 6: Barry Greenstein (Rancho Palos Verdes, California) — 1,955,000
Seat 7: Michael DeMichele (Las Vegas, Nevada) — 905,000
Seat 8: Erick Lindgren (Las Vegas, Nevada) — 3,680,000

The other final table for today the $2,000 NL Holdem event, will be held in some corner of the Amazon room at 3pm, but here’s what that final table will look like:

Seat 1: Dan Rome 650,000
Seat 2: Ryan D’Angelo 520,000
Seat 3: Marco Johnson 2,135,000
Seat 4: Kirill Gerasimov 1,145,000
Seat 5: Robert Brewer 1,050,000
Seat 6: Gabe Costner 1,475,000
Seat 7: Alan Cutter 535,000
Seat 8: Alexandre Gomes 1,075,000
Seat 9: Sverre Sundbo 685,000

The $5,000 NL Holdem 6-handed final table finally ended after 6 hours of heads up play when Joe Commisso finally eliminated Richard Lyndaker to take down the bracelet and just over $911,000. Commisso had to be wondering if he’d ever win after having Lyndaker dominated 7-1 on 3 separate occasions, only for Lyndaker to claw back into contention and take the chip lead. Between the two of them there was almost a dozen all in confrontations where the smaller stack would win, which turned out to be a one in 600-something possibility.

Other tournament action on the next page:

(Way) Outside the WSOP (Day 5 Evening Update)

by , Jun 3, 2008 | 6:32 pm

What’s happening around the WSOP while I consider a new career.

In event #2, the $1,500 NL, the final 18 staggered their way back to the Rio to reach the ESPN final table. So far they’ve made their way down to 10, which is where ESPN’s coverage may start. They’re currently on break for dinner/ESPN interviews, here’s the chip counts for the final table, which will restart shortly after 7pm:

Seat 1 – Jeff Wiedenhoeft 880,000
Seat 2 – David Bach 675,000
Seat 3 – Aaron Coulthard 1,510,000
Seat 4 – Mike Ngo 1,375,000
Seat 5 – Joe Rutledge 785,000
Seat 6 – Melvin Jones 1,280,000
Seat 7 – Theo Tran 1,420,000
Seat 8 – Chris Ferguson 1,235,000
Seat 9 – James Akenhead 1,995,000
Seat 10 – Grant Hinkle 680,000

Meanwhile, the $1,500 PL Holdem event is down to their final 2 tables with Brandon Schaefer, David Singer, Joe Tehan and Phillip Yeh still in action. Gregg Merkow was one of the very recently busted, out in 19th for $5,547. Play for them ends when they reach their final 9, this group will definitely be more rested for their ESPN final table.

Today’s new tournaments, after the jump:

(Way) Outside the WSOP (Day 5 – $1,500 NL finishes (maybe), $1,500 PL Holdem + $5k Mixed Holdem Day 2, $1k NL/rebuys + $1,500 O8 Start)

by , | 6:18 am

What’s happening around the WSOP while the world’s #1 Limit Holdem player is waiting for you.

It’s almost 6:00am and play finished at 18 in the $1,500 NL event. They’ll be coming back at 1:30pm today to eventually get to a final table, broadcast for ESPN. Theo Tran appears to be the chip leader, while Chris Ferguson, Minh Nguyen, David Bach, and Perry Friedman are still in the mix.

Two new events go underway today, but expect more attention being paid to the $1,000 NL holdem w/rebuys event, starting at 12 noon. The two NL w/rebuys events averaged a combined 3,000 entries/rebuys, expect more of the same today. Daniel Negreanu has not had a good Series so far, expect him to be rebuying heavily today. For the non-holdem fan, the $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or better tournament will start at 5:00pm.

What happened yesterday:

WPT World Champ: Real Contenders Please Step Forward

by , Apr 22, 2008 | 11:34 am

Ed. Note: This post woulda been much more relevant and timely had it gone up yesterday, when it was written.

Despite slightly lower numbers, the WPT World Championship will still likely end up being one of the five biggest tournaments in the Milky Way this year … and Day 2 has just gotten underway. Pokerati would love to beyotch about not having access to the makeshift WPT TV studio at Bellagio to do our brand of non-chip coverage, but we’ve been invited to a WPT Party tonight with free food and booze, so we’re obviously all good with the status quo.

421 of 545 starting players remain … A few names that I’ll be paying attention to for various reasons, and where they stand in relation to their starting 50k chipstack include Carlos Mortenson (defending champ – 172,075), Tom Schneider (25,400), Clonie Gowen (93,975), Gregg Merkow (40,075), Nenad Medic (12,425), Rodeen Talebi (18,000), Ray Henson (89,550), and David Sklansky (41,050).

Click below to see how the whole pro-studded field shaped up as of noon-Pacific today, and click here to follow the action throughout Day 2.


Cash Game Report: Boo-yah vs. Hoo-haw

by , Jan 16, 2008 | 11:19 pm

Just got word over the poker satellite that Gregg Merkow and Jamie Gold are currently engaged in some high stakes action — $50/$100 NLH with a $200 straddle. I can only presume in Tunica, where there’s a WSOP Circuit main event and a big WPT event going right next to each other. Don’t know who’s got what kinda stacks in front of them, but you know who we’re rooting for … 2008 baby, it feels good to run good!

Oklahoma Poker Is OK

by , Aug 24, 2007 | 4:12 pm

THACKERVILLE, Okla.–Some chip counts from the Red River Roundup, Day 2-Day 1:

TBR – 10k
Gregg Merkow – 20k
Webber Kang – 3500
Robert “Sanbob” Sanchez – 3k
Jerry Randack – 2500

UPDATE: Webber is out. Now playing 5/10 nlh.

Spot-check of license plates on my walk from the parking lot:

Texas – 92
Oklahoma – 9
Kansas – 1

In the cash room:

Omaha games running – 2/5 and 5/10 PLO
Full 5/10 NLH tables – 4
Number of players in the smoke room playing for their very first time – 2
Amount one of these players is up playing 4/8 – $840

Eskimo Clark collapses at the table

by , Jun 12, 2007 | 3:18 am

LAS VEGAS–Paul “Eskimo” Clark was playing in the $2,000 7-stud Hi Lo event today … Dallas pro Gregg Merkow was at his table, and it was two chips for Eskimo to call. He threw in one, and then sorta froze. After some seconds lapsed, players started trying to recapture his attention, letting him know he needed to throw another chip in the pot. That didn’t happen, and soon the other players at the table were helping him to the ground, where he lay as the tournament was stopped and medical help was summoned.

So not to be crass — because of course we hope he is recovering, as surely plenty of players who have fronted him do, too — but what happens to a player’s chips in this situation? Clark had about 4,275 when the apparent stroke happened. So when it was clear he would not be back anytime soon, floor staff removed his original 4,000 chips from play, and then anted off the remaining 275, so the table would not be at a disadvantage. Word is that the WSOP also refunded his buy-in.

Merkow’s Closes

by , Apr 5, 2007 | 2:14 pm

One of my favorite restaurants in Dallas — Merkow’s — has closed. It will apparently re-open as the Greenville Bar & Grill. Bummer. I kinda dug the casual upscale culinary thing, especially when done by a guy with a very Vegasy palette.

Dear Dan,

I want to start by thanking you for your patronage and would like to inform you that Merkow’s has officially closed and will be reopening soon as Greenville Bar and Grill.

In the mean time, Chef Barry will be moving over to Hurricane Grill. We look forward to seeing you soon.


Greg Merkow

I hear ya, Merk. But I thought your name was spelled with two g’s at the end, yo?

Re: Go Merkow’s Poker!

by , Jan 16, 2007 | 6:59 pm

A little Pokerati behind-the-scenes …

My distinguished internet radio colleague, “Wolfman” Karridy, tipping us off to the developing Gregg Merkow-Tunica love story:

From: Karridy Askenasy
Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 11:55 AM
To: danm
Subject: RE: Merkow

Same event he won last year. Tunica’s Main event. Maybe I’m wrong… I really thought you’d know more about this than me. I’d hate to slip, but I think he’s onto something huge.

From: dan michalski
Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 11:43 AM
To: ‘Karridy Askenasy’
Subject: RE: Merkow

Which event? Is this the same event he won last year or something like that, or did he win won last week?