After qualifying in the 11th hour, Ryan Messick sinks into WSOP Final Event

Ryan Messick

Within two hours of his first victory World Series of Poker wristband at an online event in Pennsylvania July 18, Ryan Messick was heading to the airport after booking a last minute flight to Las Vegas.

By winning the $500 buy-in tournament, announced as the “Summer Economist,” Messick became one of the last players to qualify for the WSOP Tournament of Championsa million dollar freeroll exclusive to the 88 bracelet winners and hundreds of Circuit ring winners of the 2022 WSOP Circuit season.

“I won at 2:35 a.m., drank a glass of champagne, booked a flight, packed a bag, was at the airport at 4:30 a.m.,” Messick recalled.

Playing without sleep after flying across the country, Messick managed to run deep into the WSOP Final Event and finished in third place for $100,000 — close to winning her second bracelet in less than 72 hours.

PokerNews chatted with the Pennsylvanian shortly after his July 20 elimination from his thrilling run that culminated in a career-best six-figure score.

Been saved

Prior to playing the online event that earned him his first bracelet, Messick was in Vegas trying to make the Main Event, but was unsuccessful.

“Actually, I had been running badly for a long time,” he said. “The trip did not go well.”

But Messick soon found success again in Pennsylvania and finished second in a $777 event on July 16 to take home $12,679. The next day, Messick played the Summer Saver and found himself making another run for his first bracelet. And that’s when he remembered the Tournament of Champions.

“Saturday, I forgot about this (tournament). On Sunday, when there were only seven people left, I thought: ‘Oh wait, there’s this Tournament of Champions,'” Messick said.

With the help of social media and the omniscient Kevin “Kevmath” MathersMessick confirmed that winning the online tournament would earn him a spot in the WSOP freeroll event.

Lo and behold, Messick won the online event for $24,300 and his first bracelet. But there was little time for the party and Messick drove to the airport with his girlfriend, who had booked their flights during the final table.

WSOP PA Online $500 Summer Saver Final Table Results

1 Ryan Messick $24,300
2 Michael McNeil $14,175
3 Elias Garney $8,100
4 Joshua Zerbe $6,300
5 Dillon Ott $5,400
6 Zachary Grüneberg $4,500
seven Scott Kahler $3,420
8 Jonathan Erhart $2,160
9 Nilesh Thakker $1,530

Restless at Bally’s

Messick took off from Pennsylvania at 6 a.m. Eastern time and landed in Las Vegas at 9 a.m. local time. After checking into the hotel, Messick “tried to sleep” before the Tournament of Champions “but couldn’t for (more than) half an hour”.

“So I played Day 1 without sleeping,” he said. “I was legitimately struggling to hold my head up physically at the end of the day. I was on my feet for 34 or 35 hours, or something like that.”

Ryan Messick
Ryan Messick

Messick’s fatigue nearly got the better of him when he took a nap during Day 1’s dinner break and slept through a chorus of alarms.

“I set seven or eight alarms on my phone, I set the alarm on the television in the bedroom, I asked (my girlfriend) to call me, I slept through all of this” , he recalls. “I missed about eight calls from her. And eventually she convinced the hotel to let her into my room and saved me, and I only missed eight minutes (of the tournament). I’m ran back and managed to pocket a decent stack, then get some sleep that night.

After getting through Day 1, Messick was able to continue to run well on Day 2 and pocketed a solid 33 big blinds with only 16 players remaining.

“It’s just been crazy the last few days,” he said.

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Short cut of the second bracelet

As Day 3’s 16-man field dwindled to an unofficial final table of ten played inside the Mothership, Messick was still alive.

One by one, Mezzick’s competitors at the final table were eliminated, including recent bracelet winners Gianluca Speranza (9th – $15,000), Yuliyan Kolev (7th – $27,500) and Robert Cowen (4th – $75,000).

Tournament of Champions final table
Tournament of Champions final table

After reaching the three handed game, Messick opened a small stack from the small blind with four aces and was called by the chip leader. Benjamin Kaup in the big blind with king-ten. Messick was in the lead until the board gave his opponent two pair to end Mezzick’s impressive run to win his second bracelet in three days. Kaupp won the event for her first bracelet and $250,000.

When PokerNews spoke with Messick on Day 3, he was leaving the nearly empty Bally’s Event Center with his girlfriend as the final hands of the latest WSOP event were played out. He said the plan was to “celebrate a bit… (and) get some food”.

“I’m going to enjoy it a bit and go home,” he said. “(I’m) looking forward to the next World Series, I’ll probably be here for the whole game and see how it goes.”

For more coverage of this summer’s tournament action, visit the PokerNews WSOP Portal.