Mike Watson has one of the most loaded résumés in tournament poker:
More than $8 million in total tournament tournament cashes. A World Poker Tour win in the $15,400 Bellagio Cup IV Main Event in 2008. A total of 32 cashes at the World Series of Poker worth a little over $1 million. A hair under $3 million in online tournaments under the moniker “SirWatts,” including multiple major series wins and two weekly $1K wins.
You might notice something missing from that though: a WSOP bracelet. The Canadian has been close multiple times but has yet to break through.
“It would definitely be an accomplishment, get the monkey off the back so to speak,” Watson said. “I don't think I care about winning a bracelet as much as a lot of people do, but it's been frustrating at times, a lot of runner-up finishes.”
Watson has finished second in bracelet events three times.
In 2011, he played in a $3,200 Shootout at WSOP Europe and nearly beat out a tough final table that included the likes of Max Silver, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Steve O'Dwyer, Emil Patel, Taylor Paur, and James Dempsey. He fell to Tristan Wade heads up, however, earning $150,319.
Last summer, he ran deep in Event #58: $1,500 Mixed Max No-Limit Hold'em. That final table had Jeff Gross, Brandon Cantu, and Mark Herm. After Jared Jaffee bested him heads up, Watson had to settle for $246,068. Later in the year, at WSOP Asia Pacific, Watson finished second to Sam Higgs in a $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event for $68,914.
Watson is already back to his final tabling ways at this year's WSOP, having come in sixth in Event #12: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed for $56,835.
Asked if so many deep runs without a bracelet begins to weigh on the mind, Watson said he doesn't worry too much about it.
“What are you going to do?” he said. “You just keep going out and playing the best you can and hope it works out.”
Watson has again found himself within sniffing distance of that elusive bracelet, as he took a stack of 750,000 into the dinner break of Event #24: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. with limits coming back at 30,000/60,000 and 11 players remaining.
Another final-table appearance would mark his first big mixed-game final table. Though he said his mixed-game skills aren't quite as sharp as his no-limit hold'em abilities, he remains confident and says he enjoys the format.
“I have a good stack and I like my chances,” he said. “I couldn't think of anyone off the top of my head who has more of a right to the top player without a bracelet spot than me.”
That's a title he hopes to be relinquishing soon if all goes well as this tournament winds down.