Two-time Grammy winner Tony Mercedes in the Super Seniors money on 61st birthday

Anthony Johnson (Tony Mercedes) and Arthur Schiavo
Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: June 28, 2023 03:58 PDT

The ongoing $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship at the 2023 WSOP has plenty of familiar faces, and quite a few newer ones as well. One of the newest is a famed music figure, two-time Grammy winner Tony Mercedes, who's made the money and continues fighting upward in the ongoing Super Seniors.

Mercedes took a few moments away from the table on Wednesday to chat with PokerOrg about his newfound love for the game. Mercedes (above on left, shown with fellow Super Seniors participant Arthur Schiavo) took up the game about a decade ago at the urging of his wife, Tamara, who also loves the game.

His entertainment background is impressive. Mercedes has won two publisher's Grammys, for Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" and for TLC’s "No Scrubs". Records he’s been involved with have sold about 125 million copies to date, including six Billboard #1 hits. In the past couple of years, he's also pivoted into film and television production, including an upcoming holiday film starring Cuba Gooding Jr. called "Athena Saves Christmas".

Mercedes still has time for poker, and he's been playing occasional WSOP events since 2015. His pending payday in the Super Seniors will be his fifth regular cash, along with one Circuit cash to date. All six of his previous cashes have come in Seniors or Super Seniors event, and when asked about that, he quipped, “I’m here at the WSOP in the Super Seniors with a bunch of guys with oxygen tanks and scooters."

"C’mon, now!" shouts one of the other players at the table, upon hearing that.

Mercedes doesn't look close to 61, of course, and he described playing with the other Super Seniors as "a great birthday gift for me." And he's had success at the WSOP tables. "I’ve never won a big one but I’m playing well," he noted. "This year, in the Seniors, I busted #159 out of almost 8,200 players.

"It’s been a really good experience and I’ve had a lot of fun…. They’ve made me feel very welcome here and I appreciate it. It’s been a really good vibe. No matter how far I go in this tournament, it’s been a really great experience. It’s a great birthday gift for me."

Mercedes then returned to the action. At last check, he had a stack of about 160,000 in chips, which puts him in the upper half of the field with less than 300 players remaining.