The ascension of Aaron Mermelstein, who was recently profiled in a PokerNews feature titled Aaron Mermelstein Battles Whirlwind of Adversity En Route To Becoming a WPT Champ, continues as he just etched his name on the World Poker Tour Champions' Cup for the second time.
For most players, shipping a WPT Main Event is the pinnacle of poker success. Mermelstein, who won the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open back in January, has now reached that summit twice in one calendar year after taking down the $3,500 WPT Maryland Live! For $250,222. That sum includes a $15,400 seat into the season-ending WPT Championship. He topped a field of 337 runners, including an official final table headlined by former WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson.
The tournament was the first WPT Main Event at Maryland Live!
Final Table Results
Of the 337 runners, 35 would be paid, and Andy Spears (32nd), Corey Hochman (31st), three-time WPT champ Anthony Zinno (30th), Mike Wang (25th), and Jamie Kerstetter (13th) were among the notables eliminated in the money as the tournament wound down on Day 3. With seven players left, Joe Cashen busted in seventh to bubble the TV final table and wrap things up for the day.
Merson had the accolades and the chips, entering the final table as the chip leader with 109 big blinds while Mermelstein, his nearest competitor, had 76. According to updates from the event, Ken Holmes had the shortest stack and he busted almost immediately when he shoved from the small blind on Hand #10 with the only for Andjelko Andrejevic to wake up with the and snap him off.
Mermelstein then made his big move five-handed when he won a blind battle with Merson, opening to 100,000 in the small blind at Level 26 (20,000/40,000/5,000) and check-calling 350,000 and then 675,000 as the board rolled out . Merson checked back the river and couldn't beat , ceding the lead to Mermelstein as the latter moved into pole position with 6.8 million.
Another blind battle saw Tom Wang send Cate Hall packing in fifth as she shoved from small with the and it was Wang's turn to wake up with eights. The snowmen held and Hall collected $58,589 for her performance.
Hand #87 saw Merson's bid to add a WPT title to his pair of bracelets end. The small blind proved to be the sweet spot again for Mermelstein as Merson shoved over his turn bet on a board of with the , well behind Mermelstein's jacks. The river was a to eliminate the Maryland native.
Andrejevic went out just two hands later when he shoved for 19 big blinds from the small blind and Wang held two queens in the big, fading Andrejevic's on the runout.
The heads-up match began with Mermelstein ahead more than 3:1, and he dispatched Wang in just 20 hands, winning a race when his held unimproved against his opponent's . Wang had to settle for second place and a $164,765 consolation prize.
Mermelstein claimed the second-biggest score of his career by a country mile and joined the elite club of two-time WPT champions. He's having a year to remember in 2015 with more than $1 million in cashes and still has three months to add to his tally. To learn more about Mermelstein, click here.
*Lead photo courtesy of the WPT.