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November 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm #26296Arpit JainKeymaster
As a former drug addict, Greg Merson says his passion for poker saved his life.
That same passion has empowered him to become the game’s world champion.
On Wednesday morning, Merson won the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The 24-year-old from Laurel, Md., bested a field of 6,598 to collect the top prize of $8,531,853 and the coveted WSOP Main Event bracelet.
Merson won an epic marathon final table that lasted 398 hands, the longest ever at the World Series of Poker. Three-handed play alone lasted 197 hands and more than 11 hours.
Merson defeated Jesse Sylvia heads-up to win the title. Sylvia, 26, took home $5,295,149 for his runner-up result.
With the win, Merson became the first player since Chris Ferguson in 2000 to win a preliminary WSOP bracelet and the Main Event in the same year. His two bracelets in 2012 also pushed him past Phil Hellmuth as the 2012 WSOP Player of the Year.
After the elimination of six players at the final table Monday night, Merson returned to the Penn & Teller Theater Tuesday evening to compete for the title against Sylvia and Jake Balsiger. HereÂ’s a look at the chip counts when the action resumed:
Seat Player Country Age Chip Count
2 Jacob Balsiger USA 21 46,875,000
5 Greg Merson USA 24 88,350,000
6 Jesse Sylvia USA 26 62,750,000
Merson’s incredible story is one of perseverance and determination. Earlier this year, Merson was recovering from a drug relapse that occurred after his career was stripped away from him on Black Friday. Months later, after refocusing his efforts on poker, he won his first bracelet in WSOP Event #57, the $10,000 six-handed no-limit hold’em event for $1.1 million.
Now nearly 11 months clean, Merson has joined the likes of Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Stu Ungar, and Hellmuth himself in the elite class of World Series of Poker Main Event champions.
Here’s a look at the final table results from the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event final table:
Place Player Prize
1st Greg Merson $8,531,853
2nd Jesse Sylvia $5,295,149
3rd Jake Balsiger $3,799,073
4th Russell Thomas $2,851,537
5th Jeremy Ausmus $2,155,313
6th Andras Koroknai $1,640,902
7th Michael Esposito $1,258,040
8th Rob Salaburu $971,360
9th Steve Gee $754,798
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