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Aaron Mermelstein Defeats Eugene Todd To Win 2015 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open

Aaron Mermelstein

The 2015 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open $3 Million Guaranteed Championship Event wrapped up on Friday night at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ. Topping the 989-entry field to win an impressive $712,305 was Philadelphia, PA's Aaron Mermelstein.

Not only did Mermelstein have to fight through a massive field to win the title, but he had to battle tough final table competitors such as former WPT champion Shawn Cunix and longtime poker pro Eugene Todd.

WPT Borgata Final Table Payouts

1Aaron Mermelstein$712,305
2Eugene Todd$419,467
3Randy Pfeifer$253,263
4Shawn Cunix$212,108
5Esther Taylor-Brady$174,118
6Justin Liberto$140,878

The action kicked off Friday afternoon, and according to the WPT live updates team, it took 14 hands for the first elimination to occur. Falling first was Justin Liberto, and he earned $140,878 after his {K-Clubs}{Q-Clubs} couldn't improve against the {A-Hearts}{K-Spades} for Mermelstein.

Fifth place on the payout sheet belonged to Esther Taylor-Brady, and she earned a career-best $174,118 when she fell on the 37th hand of the final table. This time, it was Cunix doing the deed, as his {K-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds} held up against Taylor-Brady's {9-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}.

The final four players battled for an extended period of time before Cunix's run for a second WPT title came to an end on the 120th hand of the final table. His {A-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds} was dominating Todd's {A-Diamonds}{J-Spades}, but Todd came from behind thanks to a jack on the flop and Cunix was gone. He earned $212,108.

Randy Pfeifer was next to go in third place, hitting the rail on the 153rd hand of the final table thanks to Mermelstein and his pocket kings. Pfeifer was in a world of hurt when the money went in and he could only muster two under cards with the {Q-Clubs}{10-Spades}, and the {A-Diamonds}{A-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{10-Diamonds} board finished him off.

At the start of heads-up play, Mermelstein held nearly three times the chips Todd did, with stacks of 21.75 million to 7.925 million. Under 30 hands were played between the two, and it all came to a close on the 181st hand of the final table.

With the blinds up to 250,000/500,000/75,000 in Level 37 of the tournament, Todd limped in from the button, and Mermelstein raised to 1.6 million. Todd called, having pulled back to much closer to even with Mermelstein, and the flop came out {Q-Clubs}{J-Spades}{7-Clubs}. Mermelstein led with a bet of 2.7 million, and Todd raised all in for slightly over 12 million. Mermelstein called with the {A-Spades}{Q-Spades} for top pair, top kicker, and a backdoor flush draw to be well ahead of Todd's {Q-Hearts}{8-Hearts}.

The {3-Diamonds} kept Mermelstein in the lead on the turn and left Todd needing an eight on the river to double up. The {A-Hearts} did give someone two pair, but it gave it to Mermelstein and the tournament was over. With that, Todd earned $419,467 in second-place prize money, but it was Mermelstein capturing the title and top prize of $712,305.

Mermelstein also earned a $15,400 entry to the season-ending WPT World Championship event that will be eld at Borgata, a pair of Monster headphones, and a shiny Hublot King Power Unico Titanium watch.

*Photo and data courtesy of the World Poker Tour.

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