After four hours and nearly 100 hands of heads-up play, with both players doubling up when down on chips, Anthony Merulla defeated David Paredes to win the $3 Million Guaranteed World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship. The New York City native pocketed $842,379 for the big win, so his career earnings of $530,658 will more than double with the win.
"I thought David was the best player at the final table and it wasn't close," Merulla said to Mike Sexton after the tournament. "I thought I played well and hit some cards at the right time."
It never hurts to have some luck at one of the biggest final tables of your career, and that's exactly what happened for Merulla when he got all in with queens and found himself facing the kings of Farid Jattin and the tens of Jared Jaffee early in the final table. He managed to river a diamond flush to survive. Interestingly, it was the second time in the tournament he won a three-way all in with queens when an opponent had a bigger pair. Surely, Merulla will have a soft spot in his heart for wired queens from now on.
After Jattin's eliminated, Vladislav Mezheritsky bowed out just a few hands later when he lost a race to Paredes.
Two hands after that, Jaffee, who Sexton had tabbed as the favorite coming into the final table, exited in third when Merulla called his shove with ace-eight and held against king-jack.
It looked like the final table was going to end in record time, but three-handed play rolled on for a bit between Merulla, Paredes, and Anthony Maio. After about 60 hands, Maio got it all in with an overpair and a flush draw, but Merulla had turned the nut flush and had him drawing dead.
That resulted in a long heads-up match due to the players sitting on exceptionally deep stacks (for this stage of a tournament) of around 100 big blinds each. Both players had chance to put the other away, but each was well behind when they got it in with more chips and couldn't catch up. Finally, Merulla shipped the tournament when he flopped two pair and held against the top pair of his opponent.
Thanks for tuning in to PokerNews for our coverage of this WPT tournament.