JASON MERCIER WINS $10K HORSE CHAMPIONSHIP, COLLECTS FIFTH GOLD BRACELET

June 17, 2016 - 05:23:25 PM EST  | 

JASON MERCIER WINS $10K HORSE CHAMPIONSHIP, COLLECTS FIFTH GOLD BRACELET

JASON MERCIER WINS $10K H.O.R.S.E. CHAMPIONSHIP

South Florida poker pro collects $422,874 top prize in Event #24

Mercier now with five WSOP gold bracelets

Poker world focused on possibility of Mercier winning 2016 WSOP trifecta

An astounding week for Mercier – 1st, 1st, and 2nd

Australian James Obst finishes as runner up

Erik Seidel cashes, now has 95 career WSOP in-the-money finishes – ranks 2nd all time

 
MEET THE LATEST WSOP GOLD BRACELET CHAMPION

Name:  Jason Mercier
Birthplace:  Ft. Lauderdale, FL (USA)
Age:  29
Current Residence:   Hollywood, FL (USA)
Marital Status:  Single
Children:  None
Profession:  Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes:  50
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances:  18
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament):  5
Best Previous WSOP Finish:  1st (2009, 2011, 2015, 2016)
Total WSOP Earnings:  $4,456,952
Personal Facts:  Mercier now has five WSOP wins, 2 WCOOP titles, and 1 EPT victory

 

Winner Quote:

This feels amazing.  Especially after all that’s happened this week.  I’m so exhausted.  But I also feel so much energy right now.”

 

Jason Mercier is on the poker heater of a lifetime.

The 29-year-old South Florida poker star won the $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. Championship, which was played over three long days and nights and just concluded on the ESPN main stage at the Rio in Las Vegas at around 3:30 am, while the blurry-eyed poker world reacted with shock and awe.

Mercier collected $422,874 in prize money. He is also rumored to have won quite a bit in side action by betting on his own success, which could conceivably make this part of a much bigger financial windfall.

Indeed, much of the talk swirling around Day 3 action focused on the remarkable run Mercier is experiencing at this year’s WSOP, and specifically just this past week.  He’d already posted first and second-place finishes and was the chip leader much of the way in yet another $10K buy-in event stacked with heavyweights.

During the middle of the final day, however, Mercier looked to be close to elimination a number of times.  But on each occasion, the veteran tournament pro bounced back and jumped back into contention.  He then became embattled in a bitter fight in the heads-up battle what see-sawed back and forth for nearly two hours. 

No stage of the tournament was bigger for Mercier than when he was down by about a 7 to 1 margin, and just a hand away from going bust, which would have been devastating given the possibility of finishing runner-up in a championship-level event for a second time within a four-day span with so much on the line.  However, demonstrating a gutsiness that was perhaps unseen previously, Mercier carefully plotted his strategy and slowly clawed away at his opponent’s advantage.

The moment of triumph came when Mercier was dealt 5-3 off-suit and scooped the final pot of the tournament to wild cheers from the partisan crowd by making an ace-to-five straight against James Obst of Australia, who finished as the runner up.

The joy of winning was made even sweeter by Mercier’s father being present. It was the first time he’s witnessed his son win a gold bracelet in person.  Mercier is expected to be presented with his fifth career gold bracelet by his father onstage at the Rio in a ceremony to be held on Sunday, June 19th.

When asked to explain what he might be doing different now than before that’s clearly put him on a different level, Mercier was candid about the swings of the game.

“I can’t explain it.  Before this (year’s WSOP), I bricked like 30 tournaments in a row.  I forgot how many it’s been.  I also bricked the first nine WSOP events,” Mercier said.  “Oh, but then I finished first, second, and first.  That kinda’ makes up for it.”

Mercier now has 50 cashes in series events, along with 18 final table appearances, and a whopping $4,456,952 in prize money won, just in WSOP tournaments.  It's scary to say, but he’s not finished yet.  It remains to be seen if Mercier can break the elite ranks of the three-win club in a single year, which is definitely a possibility on the horizon with the WSOP not yet having reached the midway point.

“I got to get to the final table first, but there are so many big tournaments left that have big field sizes,” Mercier said.  “They will have small fields that I think I will have an edge in.  I haven’t even played a PLO event: I will have a great chance in those.  There will be a lot of buzz and hopefully my friends will be around and I’ll get to take it down.

Only 24 players in poker history have won five or more WSOP titles.  The FIVE CLUB includes notable legends including Berry Johnston, Scotty Nguyen, Stu Ungar, and others.

This historic tourney attracted 171 entrants which created a prize pool totaling $1,607,400.  But all they’ll be talking about when this event goes down in the history books is the ascendancy of Mercier to the top of the poker world, who is arguably the best tournament player in the game at the moment.

Aside from the winner, here’s a brief report of the other top finishers who made the final table:

Second Place:  James Obst, from Adelaide, Australia finished as the runner up.  By collecting $261,354 this marked his biggest cash score at the WSOP.  He now has 10 in-the-money finishes and five final table appearances.  Obst came within a hand or two of winning a gold bracelet in this event and will certainly be a player to watch closely in the events and years to come.

Third Place:  Nick Schulman, from New York City is a two-time gold bracelet winner – victorious in 2009 and 2012 for winning the same event, which was Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball.  He became short-stacked during the later stages of this more recent event and couldn’t put a dent in the stacks of the two players who finished above him.  Nonetheless, Schulman added another $183,779 in winnings to go along with more than $2.1 million in previous earnings at the series.  This was his 29th time to cash, dating back to 2006 during the heart of the poker boom.

Fourth Place:  Adam Friedman, from Cahanna, OH a gold bracelet winner in 2012 ($5K Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split) collected his biggest prize at the WSOP since that win by finished in fourth place.  He earned $131,519.  This marked his 16th time to cash at the series, and pushed him over the $1 million mark in career earnings.

Fifth Place:  Mikhail Semin, from Moscow, Russia ended up finishing fifth.  Remarkably, this was his third final table appearance at this year’s series – cumulating in two 5ths and a 7th.  This was yet another impressive performance, worth $95,817 to the Russian who is clearly in the running for the “Player of the Year” race given his point totals.  Semin also cashed five times as last year’s series.

Sixth Place:  Jesse Martin, from Shrewsbury, MA took sixth place.  The gold bracelet winner at the 2013 WSOP ($10K Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball) has now cashed 46 times dating all the way back to 2004.  He’s also collected more than $1.6 in WSOP earnings after adding $71,089 to his resume for this finish.

Seventh Place:  Yuval Bronshtein, a former WSOP gold ring winner, made his ninth WSOP cash, but he’s yet to win a gold bracelet.  This was also the 34th career cash for the poker pro who splits time between the U.S. and Israel.  Bronshtein collected $53,729, which now puts him over $1 million in WSOP earnings.

Eighth Place:  Bryn Kenney, a gold bracelet winner (2014 Ten-Game Mix, Six-Handed) posted his 31st cash at the series and first in-the-money finish this year.  Kenney, who now has more than $1.6 million in career earnings at the annual Las Vegas summer classic, pocketed $41,383.

This was the 24th gold bracelet event on this year’s schedule.  This leaves 45 still to go in what promises to be the biggest and most exciting WSOP ever, made all the more thrilling by the rising star that is Jason Mercier.


OTHER NOTABLE IN-THE MONEY FINISHERS: 

John Monnette, a two-time gold bracelet winner (2011, 2012), posted his third top-ten finish at this year’s series by bubbling the official final table and finishing ninth.

Randy Ohel, a gold bracelet winner (2012) finished in 10th place.

Viacheslav Zhukov, a two-time gold bracelet winner (2011, 2012) from Russia, finished in 12th place.

Tom Koral, from Skokie, IL cashed for the 45th time in a WSOP event with this deep run (15th place).  However, he has yet to win a gold bracelet.

Jason Somerville, a gold bracelet winner (2011), finished in 16th place.

Owais Ahmed, a gold bracelet winner (2011), finished in 17th place.

Daniel Alaei, a five-time gold bracelet winner (2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015), finished in 18th place.

David Benyamine, a gold bracelet winner (2008) finished in 19th place.

Roland Israelashvili cashed for the 56th time in a WSOP event – including six in-the-money finishes this year.  However, he has yet to win a gold bracelet, despite having won four WSOP Circuit gold rings.

Ian Johns, a two-time gold bracelet winner (2006, 2016), finished in 21st place.

Eric Seidel, an eight-time gold bracelet winner (1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007), finished in 24th place.  This marked his 95th career WSOP in-the-money finish, which ranks second all time.

Chris Ferguson, a five-time gold bracelet winner (2000, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2003) and the 2000 world poker champion, finished in 26th place.  This marked his fifth cash at this year’s series.


FUN FACTS:

The first major H.O.R.S.E. tournament was held at the 2003 WSOP.  Organizers decided to add two new events to the schedule.  One was called “HORSE,” and the other was called “SHOE.”  The amalgamation of mixed games fit perfectly into the former host casino’s name, which was – Binion’s Horseshoe (sometimes just called “the Shoe” for short).

 

EVENT DIRECT LINKS:

For this event’s official final results (listing all players who finished in-the-money), please visit:
http://www.wsop.com/tournaments/results.asp?grid=1232&tid=14924

For Jason Mercier’s official player profile page, please visit:
http://www.wsop.com/players/playerprofile.asp?playerID=42898

For the live reporting logs for this event, please visit:
http://www.wsop.com/tournaments/updates.asp?grid=1232&tid=14924

To access licensed images from this all other 2016 WSOP gold bracelet events, please visit:
www.pokerphotoarchive.com

For the live stream archive of this event, please visit:
http://www.wsop.com/videos/?vcat=2
(Note: Will appear 48 hours after event concludes)


 
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Nolan Dalla – WSOP.com Senior Writer


About the author: Nolan Dalla's work is found all over WSOP.com, as he is the Senior Writer for poker's longest-running poker series and has contributed to the site since 2005.

He is also the longtime Media Director of the World Series of Poker. He's become the lone link from poker's modern age back to the old days when the WSOP was played at Binion's Horseshoe – where Dalla served as the casino's Director of Public Relations.
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