Jason Mercier jumped out to a massive chip lead on Day 1 of this tournament and never had to look back. Buoyed by a rail full of friends, the 22-year old Floridian took down his first WSOP bracelet this afternoon, a shiny addition to a mantle that is already home to two EPT trophies.
Mercier was calm and in control for the duration of the final table. While some of his opponents ended up spewing off chips when they grew short-stacked, Mercier remained patient and battled back. When heads-up play commenced, Mercier took control about 30 minutes into the match, his experience and skill truly shining through.
Kudos are also due to Steven "PiKappRaider" Burkholder, who turned in a runner-up performance despite his own self-admitted status as a PLO novice.
Congratulations to Jason Mercier, one of the good guys of poker, on his bracelet-winning performance. Drinks are on him tonight!
Jason Mercier limped in on the button and Steven Burkholder made it an additional 48,000 to go from the big blind. Mercier called and they saw a flop of .
Burkholder led out for 110,000, Mercier raised to 285,000, Burkholder re-potted, Mercier moved all in and Burkholder called.
Both players held a jack for trips, but Burkholder had Mercier out-kicked. The however, hit the turn, making Mercier a full house, which he celebrated with the smallest of fist-pumps. The river was the and it was all over.
Jason Mercier is our champion, taking down his first WSOP bracelet and $237,415. Burkholder earned $146,748 for his runner-up finish.
Jason Mercier limped in on the button and Steven Burkholder checked his option. The flop was and Burkholder check-called Mercier's 32,000 bet. Both players checked the on the turn. The river was the and Burkholder check-called another 90,000 from Mercier.
Mercier turned up for the wheel and Burkholder mucked. Mercier now has a nearly 2-1 chip lead with 2,372,000 to Burkholder's 1,270,000.
Jason Mercier raised to 60,000 on the button and Steven Burkholder called from the big blind. Both players checked the flop. The turn fell the and Burkholder checked to Mercier, who bet 85,000. Burkholder came in with a raise to 215,000 and Mercier called. The river was the and Burkholder bet 400,000. Mercier made the call.
Mercier turned up for tens full of aces and Burkholder mucked. He's down to 1.35 million while Mercier is up to nearly 2.3 million.
Steven Burkholder opened for 60,000 from the button and Jason Mercier called from the big blind. The flop was and Mercier check-called a 75,000 bet from Burkholder. Both players checked the on the turn. When the river fell the , Mercier made his move, betting a hefty 215,000. Burkholder couldn't pull the trigger and he folded, conceding the pot to Mercier.
The two are still very close in chips, with Burkholder up about 150,000 on Mercier.
Both armed with massive stacks relative to the blinds, Mercier and Burkholder are thus far playing a rather careful, deliberate match, neither player willing to get too out of line yet. Here's a look at the last five hands they played.
1. Burkholder gave Mercier a walk in the big blind.
2. Mercier raised to 55,000 on the button and Burkholder called. Burkholder checked the flop and Mercier bet 80,000. Burkholder called. Both players checked the on the turn. The river was the and Burkholder led out for 130,000. Mercier folded.
3. Burkholder limped in on the button, Mercier made a pot-sized raise and Burkholder folded.
4. Mercier opened for a pot-sized raise from the button and picked up the blinds.
5. Burkholder made it 55,000 to go from the button and Mercier called. Mercier check-folded to Burkholder's bet on the flop.
Though Steven Burkholder carved out a decent lead against Jason Mercier in the first few hands of heads-up play, their chip counts have evened back out and returned to nearly where they started, Burkholder with 1.9 million and Mercier just short of 1.7 million.
Steven Burkholder raised to 60,000 from the button and Jason Mercier called from the big blind. The flop came down . Mercier checked, Burkholder bet 90,000 and Mercier raised to 280,000. Burkholder came back over the top with a re-pot and Mercier folded.