Phil Hellmuth Matching Jason Mercier's 2016 Run, Takes Over WSOP POTY Race
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The top 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) storyline continues to be Phil Hellmuth and his dominant performance. Following Wednesday's runner-up finish in Event #36: $10,000 Dealer's Choice Championship, the 16-time bracelet winner may have just matched Jason Mercier in 2016 for the greatest two-week run in WSOP history.
With his second-place finish, the Wisconsin native earned 491.18 WSOP Player of the Year points, bringing him to 2,598.59 for the series. That bumps him to the top of the standings, ahead of Anthony Zinno, who is sitting on 2,186.30. Jake Schwartz, who finished runner-up to Hellmuth in Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw and one spot behind the "Poker Brat" in $10k Dealer's Choice, is in third place with 1,808.93 points.
Phil Hellmuth on a Heater for the Ages
Over the past two weeks, Hellmuth has posted first, second, fourth, and fifth place finishes, all in non-hold'em events. He earned his 16th career bracelet on Sunday, extending his own record. Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Ivey are all tied for second place with 10. Erik Seidel was at the final table of Event #38: $50,000 High Roller with a chance to join the exclusive club of double-digit bracelet winners, but he came up a bit short.
Phil Hellmuth WSOP Cashes the Past 14 Days
|9||$10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better Championship||5th||$80,894|
|19||$10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship||4th||$54,730|
|31||$1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw||1st||$84,951|
|36||$10,0000 Dealer's Choice Championship||2nd||$153,493|
Hellmuth has $374,068 in cashes the past two weeks. Earlier in the series, he earned a sixth-place finish in Event #2: $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. for $95,329 as well as 18th in Event #7: $1,500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed for $4,429. The Palo Alto, California resident already has five final table appearances during the first half of the 2021 WSOP, one of the most impressive accomplishments in series history.
Jason Mercier at the 2016 WSOP
If any player has ever gone on a more impressive two-week run at the WSOP, it was Mercier in 2016. The PokerStars pro at the time won two bracelets within four days, and also posted a runner-up finish in between those wins. On top of that, he booked eighth and 11th place finishes during that same June 2016 stretch.
Jason Mercier WSOP Cashes 6/11/16-6/25/16
|16||$10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship||1st||$273,335|
|20||$10,000 Razz Championship||2nd||$168,936|
|24||$10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship||1st||$422,874|
|32||$10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship||8th||$39,269|
|36||$2,500 Mixed Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo||11th||$10,586|
Mercier would go on to cash in 11 total events during the 2016 WSOP and win the Player of the Year award. Prior to the start of the WSOP, Vanessa Selbst made one of the most memorable and crazy bracelet bets in history. She laid 180:1 odds on a $10,000 wager that Mercier couldn't win three bracelets that summer.
Apparently, Selbst may have had a bit too much to drink when she made the bet, but had to sweat it out as Mercier racked up bracelets and final table appearances during the series.
With a potential $1.8 million loss staring her straight in the face and Mercier closing in on a third bracelet, Selbst would eventually buy out of the bet. Mercier never did win that third title, but far too much was at stake for Selbst to take the risk. Both players have since mostly retired from the game, although they pop up at various tournament stops from time to time.
Other Memorable WSOP Runs
Hellmuth and Mercier aren't the only ones to go on crazy two-week heaters at the WSOP. In fact, there's one other player who is crushing it this year.
Anthony Zinno has two titles to go along with 11th and 12th place finishes the past two weeks, his cashes totaling $428,824 over that period. He's currently second in the Player of the Year standings behind Hellmuth.
Daniel Negreanu won POTY in 2004 thanks in large part to a two-week stretch in which he posted first, third, seventh, and ninth place finishes. Jeff Lisandro shipped two bracelets over a 14-day stretch in 2009, the year he won POTY, and also added two min-cashes during that heater.
Numerous other players during the 52-year history of the WSOP have posted memorable two-week runs. Hellmuth's in the middle of one right now, and it appears there's no stopping the 16-time bracelet winner these days.