After two days and a couple of timely double-ups, EPT San Remo champion Jason Mercier came out atop the 85-player field at the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour London £1 Million Showdown. Mercier made it through a field stacked with superstars as household names such as Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen and WSOP Europe Main Event Champion John Juanda all put up £20,000 for their shots at the massive prize pool.
As Day 2 kicked off, it was David Benyamine leading the field with the chip stacks for the 14 remaining players looking like this:
David Benyamine - 295,900
Alexander Roumeliotis - 229,400
Jason Mercier - 161,200
Scotty Nguyen - 159,100
Masaaki Kagawa - 159,000
John Juanda - 138,900
Michael Watson - 118,000
Peter Jetten - 105,100
Isabelle Mercier - 99,200
Isaac Haxton - 83,200
Dennis Phillips - 73,200
Ghassan Bitar - 58,700
Andrew Feldman - 33,000
Jani Sointula - 6,500
Micro-stacked Jani Sointula put the last of his chips in on the first hand of the day with . Andrew Feldman called with , and Sointula was dominated. Feldman avoided the likely chop when the board came , and Sointula was eliminated. However, Feldman didn't add enough to his stack by busting Sointula to avoid a similar fate, and he headed to the rail soon afterwards in 13th.
After Ghassan Bitar busted in 12th place at the hands of Isaac Haxton and Alexander Roumeliotis headed home in 11th place courtesy of John Juanda, the remaining ten players were the money bubble. Dennis Phillips was the unfortunate bubble boy, missing his chance at another final table to go with the one he'll play in November in Las Vegas. Phillips moved all in preflop with , and Isaac Haxton moved all in over the top to isolate with . Haxton got his wish as everyone else folded, and the board ran out to send Phillips home on the bubble.
Isabelle Mercier became the first person to cash in the event when she busted in ninth place (£51,000). She moved all in under the gun with A-J, but Michael Watson found behind her and moved all in over the top. Everyone else got out of the way, and the two saw a flop of . Mercier was in the same place after the flop as she was before it – looking for a jack. The on the turn left her drawing dead, and the meaningless fell on the river as Mercier headed to the payout line.
David Benyamine started action with the chip lead, but fell on rough times this day. Michael Watson open-shoved from the button, and Benyamine called from a blind with . Watson tabled , and Benyamine needed a lot of help from the deck. The flop brought a straight draw and the on the turn added two more outs, but the on the river left Benyamine busted in eighth place (£69,000).
Benyamine's elimination meant that there were no European players left in the EPT event, and when Masaaki Kagawa busted in seventh place (£86,000) it was guaranteed that a North American player would win the event. Kagawa raised preflop with , and again it was Michael Watson playing the aggressor as he re-raised. Kagawa moved all in over the top, and Watson called. Watson once again tabled a dominating hand, this time . The board came down , and Kagawa was done.
Isaac Haxton raised preflop, and thought for a moment before shoving all in over the top of John Juanda's re-raise with . Juanda didn't hesitate before calling with , and picked up a set on the flop. The on the turn left Haxton drawing dead, and as the hit the river, he picked up £103,000 for sixth place.
Scotty Nguyen became Juanda's next victim when he moved all in over the top of Juanda's preflop raise with . Juanda called with , and the flop of left Nguyen in the lead but Juanda drawing very live. The turn helped Nguyen a bit, but the river made Juanda's flush and sent the former world champion home in fifth (£137,000) at the hands of the newest world champion.
Jason Mercier took out Peter Jetten in fourth place when he won a huge coin flip with pocket deuces against Jetten's . Mercier moved all in over the top of Jetten's preflop raise, and Jetten called to see a flop of . The turn made Mercier's full house, but left Jetten with outs to a bigger boat. The wasn't one of those outs, and Jetten collected £189,000 for his work.
Michael Watson certainly played his share of big hands at the final table, and after a lengthy period of three-handed jockeying, got it all in for the last time against John Juanda. Juanda raised preflop with , and Watson moved all in over the top with . Juanda made the easy call, and the board ran out . As Watson collected his £241,000 for third place, John Juanda strengthened his chip lead and prepared to try for his second major tournament win in one week.
The chip stacks at the start of heads-up play looked like this:
John Juanda — 1,185,000
Jason Mercier — 536,000
But Juanda's margin was short-lived, as Mercier doubled through Juanda on the very first hand. Mercier raised preflop with , and Juanda re-raised all in. After thinking for a moment, Mercier said "I'm either flipping or I have two live cards" and made the call. Juanda tabled , and the flop came down . Juanda held the lead after the flop, but Mercier had live cards and an inside straight draw. The turn was no help, but the river gave Mercier the double-up and the chip lead.
It only took a short while for Mercier to put his newfound big stack to use, and he finished by flopping perfect to bust the tough Juanda. In the final hand, Juanda raised preflop, Mercier moved all in, and Juanda thought for a moment before calling with . Mercier showed , and proceeded to flop the nut straight on a board of . Juanda was drawing dead to running helper cards, and the on the turn sealed his fate. The on the river was irrelevant as Juanda, the runner-up, added £327,000 to his winnings from earlier in the week.
Jason Mercier added another EPT trophy to his mantel and £516,000 to his bankroll as he defeated John Juanda heads-up at the PokerStars.com EPT London £1 Million Showdown.