Photo Caption:  Jesse Sylvia is shown playing among the final three on Tuesday night in the Main Event Final Championship.  He ended up as the second-place finisher, collecting a whopping $5,295,145 in prize money (Photo by Joe Giron)

There's an old saying that goes, “No one remembers who finishes second.”

If ever there was an exception, it may very well have happened here early this morning when 26-year-old Jesse Sylvia put up the fight of his poker life en route to a thrilling, but ultimately less than satisfying runner up finish in the 2012 world poker championship.

Sylvia, from the iconic small-town paradise of Martha's Vineyard (Massachusetts), arrived at the final table in the enviable position of early chip leader.  During the first of two final playing days, Sylvia slipped back into second place, but still remained very much within striking distance of his main rival, eventual winner and new World Champion Greg Merson.

The three-way match to reach heads-up play between Sylvia and Merson – what many observers predicted would be the ultimate showdown – took considerably longer than expected.  The two finalists returned with another player, 21-year-old Jake Balsiger who proved to be a far more tenacious adversary than many were expecting.  In fact, whittling down the finale from three players to two took a record 11 hours and nearly 250 hands.

Once Balsiger was eliminated, that left Merson with about a 2 to 1 chip lead over Sylvia.  The showdown lasted only about half an hour.

The final hand was dealt out at 5:45 am some 18 hours after the final table began (spread out over two days).  Merson ended up making a king-high no-pair hand verus Sylvia, who finished with queen-high.  While the disappointment of coming in second shall linger with Sylvia for some time, he will undoubtedly look back on his 2012 WSOP Main Event experience with fondness and pride.

He ended up as the final player to bust out of this year's World Championship, which paid $5,295,145 in prize money.