When Greg Merson won his first WSOP bracelet and then followed it up with a seat at the WSOP main event final table, it seemed to the uninitiated like it had come out of nowhere. Merson, a short-handed cash game specialist, had been dominating poker tables for years though, and the lack of exposure was due in large part to those tables being of the non-tournament, online variety.
Merson's example is prudent here because it's easily comparable to Tony Gregg's. Gregg, too, is an online specialist, a cash game player known well to professionals but not to the public. He's also Merson's roommate. He's also Merson's backer, and like Merson, he's suddenly dominating tournaments. The latest example? The World Poker Tour's Parx Open Poker Classic, at the Parx Casino in Pennsylvania.
A field of 500 entries put up the $3,500 entry fee and it was Gregg who emerged the victor to the tune of $417,127.
"It feels amazing," said Gregg to the WPT. "I've played so many live tournaments and I've come close a bunch of times and just come up short. I've always wanted that feeling of actually winning because it just feels so much better than getting second or any other place. The money is always nice, but the title is good too, knowing that you beat everyone."
Parx poker ambassador Matt Glantz was thrilled with the event and the true talent at the six-handed final table.
"There were four top pros at the final table," said Matt Glantz, who served as a commentator for the event's live feed. "Tony Gregg, who won it, Stephen Reynolds, Chris Lee and Larry Sharp. ... It was mostly professionals, and really top professionals. Chris and Tony are two of the best players in all of poker, especially cash games. It was great table."
Glantz, a top pro himself, remarked on the caliber of play at the final table, which was fast and aggressive leading to heads-up play. Once there, Gregg and Reynolds both changed gears, going into a mutually passive mode that saw heads-up play last over 100 hands. "Heads-up ... lasted for a while," said Glantz with a smile. "I think they each had a lot of respect for one another's games."
This was the first live event of any kind filmed at the Parx Casino. Glantz was particularly pleased with the atmosphere at the final table, saying "It was the most friendly, talkative final table I've seen in a long time. The players were happy to be there. Jovial, joking around ... a light-hearted mood, it was good for TV. Good for poker. It's the way it should be, actually. I was really happy to see that. The players were really happy. They had a great time here."
For Gregg, the win marked the fourth time this year he's cashed in the six figures. A final table at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and a fourth-place finish at the WSOP are the highlights of a year in which he's now totaled over $1 million in tournament winnings.
Here are the final table results from the $3,500 WPT Parx Open Poker Classic:
1. Tony Gregg ($416,127)
2. Stephen Reynolds ($244,877)
3. Chris Lee ($158,450)
4. Larry Sharp ($108,034)
5. Chris Vandeursen ($76,824)
6. Andre Nyffeler ($61,619)
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