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Top 5 Poker Stories of 2012

1. Merson Banks the Main

The 2012 World Series of Poker (WSOP) proved a particularly good one for poker pro Greg Merson. In late October, Merson won the WSOP Main Event claiming the infamous winner’s bracelet and a generous $8,531,853 first prize. He entered the final table third in chips, and had claimed the lead to start three-handed play alongside Jesse Sylvia and Jacob Balsiger. It took a tiresome 264 hands before Merson was crowned the winner, with Sylvia finishing in second and Balsiger in third.

This win marked Merson’s second bracelet win of the year; he earlier claimed a victory in the $10,000 no-limit hold’em six max event, one of the last events of the summer. There he bested a field of 474 to claim $1,136,197. The combination of this and another three WSOP cashes was enough to make Merson the 2012 WSOP Player of the Year.

2. Dan Smith’s Fabulous Run

Dan Smith gained a huge amount of respect and money for his performances throughout the year. His results were absolutely staggering. While Dan has clearly been a regular on the tournament scene for many years, he took a huge leap into the limelight in 2012 when he managed to increase his career earnings sixfold!! He began by winning the 2012 Aussie Millions $100,000 challenge. He managed to take down some of the biggest names in poker, including Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Jason Mercier and Daniel Negreanu to net over $1 million. This clearly kick started his year and give him a nice playing budget for the year. He then went on to cash in 5 events at the 43rd Annual World Series of Poker and 10 events on the European Poker Tour (EPT), which included five first places finishes. Dan managed to amass winnings of $2,046,558 from the EPT alone! todayspokernews.com is one site, which will be following the EPT and Dan Smith’s progress closely in 2013 to see if he can come close to matching his amazing performances of 2012, which will be extremely difficult.

3. Antonio Esfandiari Wins More Than $18 Million

Plenty of records were broken as a result of the $1 million buy-in "Big One for One Drop" at the 2012 World Series of Poker. The tournament attracted 48 players, most of whom were either poker pros, most of whom were backed or wealthy business men who generally covered the buy-ins themselves. For each entry that was made, £111,111 was paid to the One Drop Foundation charity; the founder of the charity, Guy Laliberté managed to finish fifth in the tournament.

It was Antonio Esfandiari who championed the tournament and managed to win the bracelet and a very impressive $18,346,673 first prize. Sam Trickett who finished in second place managed to bag himself a not-so-shabby $10,112,001 and David Einhorn picked up $4,352,000 for taking third position.

Despite splitting his winnings with his backers, the win helped boost Esfandiari to the top of the All-Time Money List and he ended 2012 with over $23.7 million in winnings.

4. PokerStars Announce Deal to Buy Full Tilt Poker

For Full Tilt poker players, 2012 was a year covered with uncertainty. At one point it appeared that players would never again see their funds that were currently held within the Full Tilt site.

That was until July 31st when PokerStars showed their interest in acquiring Full Tilt Poker and later struck up a deal with the DOJ.

PokerStars paid out a substantial amount of $334 million to every individual player that was owed their funds. This amount was paid to all the non-US players whereas the DOJ agreed to pay out the required money to all US-based players involved at a later date.

Full Tilt was officially back in operation on November 6th for all eligible where online poker was legal in their respective countries.

5. Marvin Rettenmaier Becomes the First Ever Player to Win Back-To-Back WPT Titles

The German Pro Marvin Rettenmaier had been a big name in the poker circuit for a while before potentially his biggest series of achievements to date arrived – pulling off a never done before, back-to-back WPT title wins.

The first title win came at the 2012WPT $25,000 championship where he was able to see off fierce competition from the likes of Steve O’Dwyer, Nick Schulman and Philippe Ktorza.

Rettenmaier then took his efforts to the WPT Merit Cyprus Classic where he was fielded against another list of tough opponents consisting of, Chris Moorman and the Mizrachi brothers. He was able to hold his nerves and claim victory, being awarded $287,784 and becoming the first player in poker history to win two consecutive WPT titles.

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