Early Monday morning, Jason Mercier was primed to win his second bracelet of the summer. In Event #54: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship – a tournament that attracted 387 players and created a prize pool of $3,637,800 — he began heads-up play with a slight chip lead over Denmark's Alexander Petersen, a player few knew much about.
With nary a World Series of Poker cash to his name, there had to be more to the man donned in black with a drink in hand. After all, who has the skill and bankroll to play in such an talented field and to go toe to toe with Mercier? As it turned out, Petersen is no slouch at PLO; in fact, the 28-year-old is one of online poker's best, albeit under the name "AlexKP" on PokerStars.
"I've been a pro player online for 10 or 11 years now, Omaha for the past seven," Petersen explained. "The reason why I haven't cashed at the WSOP yet is because I see it as a break. You grind all year long, and then when you get to Vegas you just [want to] get drunk."
That explained both the drink and his reason for being in the tournament. It also helped make sense of how he was able to best Mercier, whose first two bracelets were in the variant they were contesting.
Early on in their match, Petersen managed to score a double after raising to 300,000 from the button and Mercier called to see a flop of . Mercier checked, Petersen bet 300,000, and Mercier potted. Petersen made the call and then snap-called off his remaining stack when Mercier shoved the turn.
Petersen had flopped the nuts, but he was not out of the woods as Mercier held a flush draw. Fortunately for Petersen, the blanked on the river to give him the double. He'd go on to eliminate Mercier shortly thereafter.
"Online it's going very good and has for many years," Petersen admitted. "Many people will say the $900K is a big cash, but in Denmark you have to pay like 55% tax, so I actually got second [laughs]."
Before becoming a poker pro Petersen had taught himself to code HTML and made his living off designing homepages. He then ventured into business school, which is where he learned to play poker. To say he's moved up in stakes over the last decade would be an understatement.
"This year I've played a decent amount of $2/$5 Zoom," said Petersen. "My usual stake is like $10/$20 and up. My biggest winning and losing months are half a million dollars, so I've had very swingy months. I've played all the good guys like Ike Haxton, Ben 'Bttech86' Tollerene, and Ben 'Sauce123' Sulsky. I've had big swings, but this is definitely my biggest payday. I'm very happy with this."
Winning the PLO Championship begged the question, would Petersen take a shot in Monday's $25,000 PLO High Roller?
"I wired money to play the $10K and $25K PLO, and obviously the Main Event, but since the $25K is tomorrow and I plan on getting extremely drunk, I'll try to talk with the cage and see if I can unregister," Petersen admitted candidly.
Final Table Results
|1||Alexander Petersen||Aarhus, Denmark||$927,655|
|2||Jason Mercier||Davie, FL||$572,989|
|3||Dan Smith||Las Vegas, NV||$369,564|
|4||Simon Trumper||Nottingham, UK||$267,778|
|5||Mohsin Virani||El Dorado, AR||$196,877|
|6||Sven Reichardt||Hamburg, Germany||$146,857|
|7||Davidi Kitai||Brussels, Belgium||$111,134|
|8||Shaun Deeb||Las Vegas, NV||$85,306|
|9||Hasan Habib||Downey, CA||$66,426|