UMD dropout wins more than $1 million in World Series of Poker

Photo courtesy of

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original post incorrectly stated how much Merson won. The post has been updated. 

I sent a routine request last Friday, a Facebook message asking for an interview with a former Terp.

Laurel native Greg Merson dropped out of this university when he was 19 but just more than a week ago, he raked in more than $1 million by besting a field of 474 to win the six-handed no-limit hold’em tournament at the 2012 World Series of Poker.

He agreed on Saturday to talk about his accomplishment. But not yet, the 24-year-old wrote. He was still sort of busy.

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Keeping up with the Konspiracies: UFO on the Capitol Beltway

Image via Twitter

Last night, some otherworldly things happened on the beltway just outside of our beloved College Park. Twitter exploded after a flatbed truck was seen hauling a UFO-like figure down I-495, escorted by police.

The government (psshh) was quick to cover up the incident, saying that the UFO was actually a Northrop Grumman X-47B aircraft, one that does not need to be operated by a human. Can we be sure to trust the word of a few military spokesman though? I’ve come up with a few of my own solutions.

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One Diamondback reporter’s day as a county firefighter

As we pushed the hose and nozzle closer to the fire using muscles I had no idea existed, it became clear Capt. Steve Gallagher and the other instructors weren’t joking when they told me to tuck all of my hair into my turnout hood so it wouldn’t catch fire.

“We don’t want you writing about how we ruined your hair,” they said.

The Prince George’s County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association IAFF Local 1619, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department and the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute hosted the second annual Fire Ops 101 training Friday. The departments invited state and county officials and media personnel to learn how to become a firefighter for the day at the MFRI station in College Park.

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Freshman is DOTS’ 3 millionth rider, wins year’s worth of textbooks

It was a scene out of a Publishers Clearing House commercial at the bus stop in front of Stamp Student Union yesterday afternoon.

For those of you who haven’t seen a PCH commercial, they usually involve the PCH Prize Patrol driving a van up to houses in an undisclosed neighborhood and surprising a lucky person with an obscenely large check and balloons, while Lizzie McGuire’s favorite songs play in the background.

Replace “Prize Patrol” with “DOTS staff,” “driving a van” with “walking” and “house” with “Shuttle-UM bus,” and you have the Department of Transportation Services’ 3 millionth rider celebration, complete with background music.

Freshman psychology major Demi Kleeman was on her way to her Wednesday poetry class when the bus she was riding rolled up to the curb outside Stamp, where 25 DOTS staff members had been waiting for more than an hour for the Shuttle-UM rider meter to hit 3 million.

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Campus Complainer: Bunker down for graduation

Hop into my bunker, seniors. The doomsday countdown has begun. This week puts us at four weeks left of classes and when we hit the weekend, we’ll be exactly one month away from graduation. I’ve already started stocking up on cans of beans, bottles of water and boxes of .45-caliber ammo.

Wait, what’s that? Life doesn’t end after graduation? When you step off stage, you don’t plummet into a pit of doom and despair? That’s a relief.

However, with my time at Maryland winding down, I’m going to have to trudge through a few obstacles. Obstacles that might prevent me from walking across the stage at graduation. Seniors, if you encounter these problems, handle them with care as they might lead to your untimely demise.

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Campus Complainer: Art Attack and meter maids

For this week’s installment of Campus Complainer, I had some wrath reserved for the whiners polluting the Art Attack Facebook event. Now that I’ve got bigger fish to fry, I’ll keep it brief. Quit your bellyaching over B.oB. You don’t like him? I’ve got a simple solution for you: Get hammered before. Drink a bunch of beers and BOOM! Then you won’t care who’s on stage. You’d probably dance to Dr. Z singing Nickelback all night anyways. Problem solved.

On to the real issue at hand: the city of College Park. Most of the time, I’m a big fan of College Park, but yesterday my tides turned.

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Keeping up with the Kandidates: Ron Paulooza

Students await Ron Paul's arrival yesterday outside Ritchie Coliseum. TJ Root/For The Diamondback

The shirt I purchased for $15 had paid off. Not only was I in Ritchie Coliseum to see Ron Paul, but I was in the third row. If I had a good enough shot I could probably spit on Paul from where I was sitting.

The place was packed. People were looking around and waving their hands to get the attention of others that they knew. It took until 6:43 p.m. for people to start chanting. One guy, donning a brown Ron Paul sweater, was running up and down the center aisle leading the cheers.

He yelled, “Ron Paul revolution,” for the crowd to respond, “Legalize the Constitution.”

He screamed “President,” for the crowd to respond, “Paul.”

He began a lingering, simple chant, “End the Fed,” (referencing Paul’s belief that the Federal Reserve has to go).

The crowd was getting wild. They were stomping on the bleachers as if they were waiting for a kickoff in a football game. I could see Paul behind the glass doors in the back of Ritchie. First a student came out to introduce him.

I recognized this student. It was the tan, black-haired fellow who had gotten me to sign the petition to bring Ron Paul to campus who I wrote about in my first post. It was then I realized the petition I signed brought me to that moment right there. Everything had come full circle.

After the student thanked everyone who helped bring Paul to campus, he introduced the man himself. The crowd stood and roared, not even giving Paul a chance to speak.

Finally he said his first words, “Sounds to me like freedom is popular in Maryland.” The crowd roared again.

Paul referenced that this university had one of the highest, if not the highest most signatures to bring him to campus. The revolution had come to College Park.

Then Paul went about his platform. He trashed mandates, said that nobody on “the hill” reads the Constitution, criticized selective service and he referenced America’s “way too many unwinnable, undeclared wars.”

He spoke of hypocrisy — that America was being an aggressive nation in order to spread kindness.

It was the most serious I had ever seen him when he asked, “Why don’t we just mind our own business?” The crowd stood and went crazy. At that moment I got chills.

Using the collapse of the Soviet Union as an example, Paul put forth the notion that more can be achieved in peace than in war. He also talked about how the country should begin trading with Cuba.

The crowd was responsive the whole time: cheering when he made a stern point, booing when he made a reference to something that the crowd disliked and laughing when he cracked a joke. Eventually the audience broke into an “End the Fed” chant.

Paul responded, “That will be one of the first things on my agenda.”

The crowd went nuts, and Paul went into why he dislikes the Federal Reserve. He also talked about how he would repeal the Patriot Act with a bill that he would call the Restore the 4th Amendment Act.

Although the crowd loved him, for me, time dragged on as he spoke.

Finally, at 7:55, he mentioned delegates — the main reason his campaign has any hope. The crowd erupted in chants of “President Paul.” This was just about the end of his speech.

He stepped down from his podium and I participated in a rush to the front. I had my memo book out for an autograph, my camera out for a picture and my hand out for a shake. I wanted to cap my night of journalistic work with the man’s blessing.

All for naught, though, as he stopped shaking hands and signing things when he was about five people away from me. I did not leave Ritchie disappointed though. I saw the revolution first hand. I was on the trail.

Juan Cervantes is a junior history major and student blogger for The Diamondback