Chalk up another one for Jason Mercier.
The $18 million man added $794,600 to his lofty career tally with a win in the 116-entry Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $25,500 High Roller. It's the second win for Mercier in a $25K here at SHR, after he shipped one in August 2015 for $517,187.
"The field was pretty tough," the expecting father said to SHR staff. "The final table was nine pros, basically."
Official Final Table Results
The tournament far exceeded its $1 million guarantee with a prize pool of $2,855,000. The tournament would pay 16 places, so almost half of the 29 players who made Day 2 would go home empty-handed. Charlie Carrel, Dietrich Fast, Paul Volpe and Stephen Chidwick were among that unlucky group.
Meanwhile, Ari Engel ran hot against Bryn Kenney, making two sets — one against Kenney's own smaller set — to move to the top of the leaderboard on the bubble, according to the live updates.
Mercier got there with ace-ten against Rainer Kempe's queens to get things into the money. Erik Seidel, Sean Winter and start-of-day leader Jonathan Little were a few of those who cashed but fell before the unofficial final table of nine.
Engel still held the chip lead with 2.2 million heading to the unofficial final table, but his stack, which had barely budged since the bubble, now represented under 40 big blinds, meaning it was a tightly packed grouping overall.
Justin Bonomo squeaked in with just five big blinds but quickly ran it up. He held with against Olivier Busquet's and then again with pocket eights against Engel's pocket sixes, leaving Engel very short.
Engel got the last of it in from the big blind, and Mercier busted both Engel and a short-stacked Kenney in the same hand to reduce the field to six.
Sam Soverel lost a race to Loni Harwood and then had his felled by Bonomo's to go out next.
Mercier then picked up queens and opened for a raise, quickly calling when Busquet jammed in just over 25 big blinds with tens. No ten arrived to save Busquet.
Anthony Spinella shoved over a Bonomo raise with fours and couldn't overcome Bonomo's tens, ending his run in fourth.
Then, the hand of the tournament went down. Harwood shoved all in from the button for 20 big blinds. Mercier did likewise for about 30 in the small blind, and Bonomo peeked down at his cards and put everyone at risk with a chance to win the tournament.
After a dead flop hit the felt, a arrived on the turn, a devastating development for Mercier, who was set to have Harwood ladder past him for a roughly $200,000 money jump. The river, though, was a .
All of a sudden, Mercier hadn't just laddered, he had grabbed the chip lead.
"I was just rooting for no king," Mercier said. "The king cost me $200K and the ten basically won me $400,000. It was a nice little three-out, two-out."
Indeed, Mercier made trips for a nice pot early in heads-up play and then reduced Bonomo to just over 25 big blinds.
That's the stack Bonomo jammed in when Mercier opened, and Mercier quickly called with . Bonomo needed help with and found the opposite from the community cards as Mercier turned him dead with a flush.
Photo courtesy of Seminole Hard Rock