Jason Mercier won his first live poker tournament title in over two years by taking down the 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $50,000 no-limit hold’em high roller event. Mercier and his wife Natasha had their first child, Marco, in late 2017, and Mercier told Card Player at the 2019 World Series of Poker that he had played less than 50 hours of poker since last summer. Despite being a little out of practice, Mercier managed to outlast a field of 41 entries in this high stakes event, dominating the final table in just 82 hands to win $715,860.
The score brought Mercier’s career earnings to $19.4 million. In addition to the money, Mercier also earned 510 Card Player Player of the Year points. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, which means he only climbed inside the top 1,000 in the POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.
The SHRPO tournament blog reported that Mercier began the final day with more than half of the chips in play. His stack of 132 big blinds was almost five times larger than the next biggest stack of 28 big blinds, which belonged to Giuseppe Iadisernia.
Mercier scored his first elimination of the day, calling Albert Daher’s all-in with A-10. Daher held K-Q, and was unable to improve on a nine-high runout. Daher earned $79,540 for his seventh-place showing, while Mercier chipped up even further.
On the very next hand Sam Sweilem got all-in with 54 on a 942 flop. Iadisernia called with A5 for a flush draw and a gutshot, and promptly turned a flush with the 8. Sweilem was drawing dead. The Q turn made his elimination in sixth place ($109,370) official.
Manig Loeser was left on fumes after losing an all-in to fellow short stack Franklin Fok. Loser got his last chips in on the next hand with K9 against the A8 of Mercier. The board ran out 8524Q and Mercier’s pair of eights was enough to send Loeser packing in fifth place ($139,195).
Franklin Fok continued his rise up the leaderboard by doubling up through Iadisernia, and then by eliminating him in fourth place with A-Q to Iadisernia’s A-9. The Tallahassee, Florida resident earned $198,850 for his impressive run in this event.
Thomas Boivin managed to double up through Mercier twice, but he couldn’t win his third all-in showdown in a row. He got his last chips in with 108 from the small blind, only to receive a call from the KQ of Fok in the big blind. Neither player improved and Boivin was knocked out in third place ($288,330).
Mercier took nearly a 7-to-1 chip lead into heads-up play against Fok. The final showdown lasted only nine hands. After the final deal, Fok got dealt AJ on the button and limped in for 25,000. Mercier looked down at 55 and shoved. Fok called for his last 515,000 and the board ran out 106238 and Mercier’s pair of fives were enough to earn him the pot and the title. Fok was awarded $457,355 as the runner-up.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded in this event:
Winner photo via SHRPO’s Twitter account.