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Poker Hand of the Week: Jason Mercier vs. Loni Harwood and Justin Bonomo

Let Us Know How You Would Have Played The Hand


Give us your opinion in the comments section below for your chance at winning a six-month Card Player magazine digital subscription.

Ask any group of poker players how you played your hand and they’ll come up with dozens of different opinions. That’s just the nature of the game.

Each week, Card Player will select a hand from the high-stakes, big buy-in poker world, break it down and show that there’s more than one way to get the job done.

The Hand

The $25,000 buy-in high roller event at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown drew a field of 116 entries, creating a total prize pool of $2.9 million.

Sitting on the short stack, three-handed with 20 big blinds, Loni Harwood opted to shove on the button. Jason Mercier not only called the 1,600,000 bet, but moved all-in himself for a total of 2,345,000.

Justin Bonomo had both players easily covered and made a quick call from the big blind with pocket queens. Mercier held pocket tens, and Harwood was left drawing to one overcard with KHeart SuitJClub Suit.

According to the Card Player Poker Odds Calculator, Bonomo was a 57 percent favorite to win the tournament. Unfortunately for him, the board ran out 3Club Suit2Diamond Suit2Heart SuitKClub Suit10Diamond Suit to give Mercier the pot and eliminate Harwood in third place.

The Questions

Was Harwood too deep to open with an all-in raise? How much would you open for with K-J on the button? What range of hands would you shove with in this spot? Is there any merit to Mercier flat calling, or even folding to the all-in? What’s the worst hand that Mercier would reshove with?

The Aftermath

Jason MercierHarwood must have gone through a roller coaster of emotions after hitting the king on the turn and looking good to triple up, while suddenly seeing her hopes dashed on the river. She pocketed $348,000 for her third-place finish.

After the KClub Suit hit the turn, Mercier was left with less than a 5 percent chance of staying alive in the tournament, needing one of the two case tens in the deck. The 10Diamond Suit came through, moving him from the rail to the heads-up chip lead.

The 10Diamond Suit was an awful card for Bonomo, because he would have at least scored a knockout of Mercier and a small side pot had his queens held. Instead, he started heads-up play down 15 big blinds.

When the blinds went up, Mercier opened a bigger lead and ultimately took down the title when his ADiamond SuitQDiamond Suit held up against Bonomo’s AClub Suit2Diamond Suit.

Bonomo earned $556,800 for his runner-up showing, while Mercier claimed the title and the $794,600 first-place prize.

What would you have done and why? Let us know in the comments section below and try not to be results oriented. The best answer will receive a six-month Card Player magazine digital subscription.