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EPT: Jason Mercier Wins EPT London £1 Million Showdown

Mercier Tops an Impressive Final Table and Defeats John Juanda Heads Up


Jason MercierThe top poker players in the world, including Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, and Team PokerStars pros Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein were among the field of 85 players who signed up for the £20,000 PokerStars EPT London £1 Million Showdown at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino on London’s West end. This high-roller no-limit hold’em event featured table after table loaded with professional players from Europe and the United States, and those players played 11 levels of poker on the first day of play on Sunday, Oct. 5, while the final table of the EPT London main event played on the EPT Live stage adjacent to the tournament field. When day 1 came to an end, Michael Martin had emerged victorious in the main event on that stage, and these 14 players remained in the high-roller event:

David Benyamine: 295,900
Alexander Roumeliotis: 229,400
Jason Mercier: 161,200
Scotty Nguyen: 159,100
Masaaki Kagawa: 159,000
John Juanda: 138,900
Michael Watson: 118,000
Peter Jetten: 105,100
Isabelle Mercier: 99,200 (Team PokerStars Pro)
Isaac Haxton: 83,200
Dennis Phillips: 73,200
Ghassan Bitar: 58,700
Andrew Feldman: 33,000
Jani Sointula: 6,500

It then took two hours for this field of 14 players to reach a final table of nine players. Here is how the final table looked when things got started:

Seat 1: Peter Jetten — 347,000
Seat 2: Michael Watson — 104,000
Seat 3: Isaac Haxton — 193,000
Seat 4: Isabelle Mercier — 86,000
Seat 5: David Benyamine — 175,000
Seat 6: Scotty Nguyen — 68,000
Seat 7: Jason Mercier — 204,000
Seat 8: Masaaki Kagawa — 142,000
Seat 9: John Juanda — 302,000

Team PokerStars Pro member Isabelle Mercier was the first to fall at the final table when her A-J was dominated preflop by the A-K of Michael Watson, and she was followed to the rail by the chip leader at the start of the day, David Benyamine. The day had been unkind to the Frenchman, who lives in Las Vegas, and once again it was Watson who dealt the final blow. Watson held pocket aces against Benyamine’s K-J, and they held up to oust Benyamine in eighth place. After Masaaki Kagawa busted in seventh place, the event was a battle exclusively between Cananda and the USA that featured four Internet young guns — Watson, Jason Mercier, Peter Jetten, and Isaac Haxton — against two of poker’s most well-known tournament stars — John Juanda and Scotty Nguyen.

The old guard struck first, when Juanda held pocket aces in a battle with Haxton’s pocket eights to send Haxton out in sixth place. Next, Juanda and Nguyen battled each other in an exciting hand. Nguyen was all in preflop with A 10, and Juanda held K 9. The board was dealt J 7 6 A J and Nguyen was sent home in fifth place. Mercier won an interesting coin flip against Jetten a little bit later. His pocket twos made a full house on a board of A Q 2 A K against Jetten’s A J, and Jetten was out in fourth. Juanda disposed of Watson in third place after a prolonged three-handed battle, and things were down to heads-up. Here were the chip counts:

John JuandaJohn Juanda: 1,185,000
Jason Mercier: 536,000

Mercier was at a disadvantage at the start, but he doubled up on the very first hand of heads-up play to equalize the match. Mercier’s Q J faced off against Juanda’s A 2, and the board ran off 10 8 7 5 J to keep Mercier alive and even up the chip stacks. On the final hand, Juanda raised preflop, and Mercier moved all in. Mercier was behind with K Q in the hole to Juanda’s A J, but he flopped the nut straight on a board of J 10 9 5 3 to win the EPT London £1 Million Showdown for the second major title of his career (Mercier won EPT San Remo during season 4).

Mercier has been on a hot streak as of late, making final tables at the EPT (sixth place at EPT Barcelona) and World Series of Poker Europe (eighth place in event No. 3 — £5,000 pot-limit Omaha). Mercier is now one of the leading cash winners in tournament poker this year, with $2,639,031 to his name in 2008. Juanda just missed his second major win during his trip to Europe with the runner-up finish, after he won the main event at the WSOP Europe earlier this week.

This final table had major implications in the Card Player Player of the Year (POY) race, as well. Mercier was awarded 648 POY points, to give him 3,504 total on the year, which currently puts him in eighth place on the leader board. Juanda took home 540 POY points to grow his 2008 total to 3,432 total, good for 11th place overall. Benyamine added 108 POY points to bring his total to 4,376, helping him to hold steady in third place.

Here are the final-table results:

1: Jason Mercier (USA) — £516,000
2: John Juanda (USA) — £327,000
3: Michael Watson (Canada) — £241,000
4: Peter Jetten (Canada) — £189,000
5: Scotty Nguyen (USA) — £137,500
6: Isaac Haxton (USA) — £103,000
7: Masaaki Kagawa (Japan) — £86,000
8: David Benyamine (France) — £59,000
9: Team PokerStars Pro Isabelle Mercier (Canada) — £51,000