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Jason Mercier Wins the 2010 NAPT Mohegan Sun Title

On the night of April 13th, 2010, Tuesday, saw the conclusion of the 2010 NAPT Mohegan Sun $25,000 High Roller Bounty Shootout. A formidable group of thirty-five poker players payed the large buy-in to make this event possible on Monday, but only six of them returned to play it out for the $350,000 1st place cash prize.

The players in the final table are: Sam Stein-150,000(three bounties), Jason Mercier-150,000(three bounties), Matt Glantz-150,000(two bounties), Shawn Buchanan-150,000(four bounties), Faraz Jaka-150,000(three bounties) and Luis Vasquez-125,000(four bounties).

Luis Vasquez started the day at a slight disadvantage in total chips. His 1st round table was the only table with five players instead of six players, so he brought a fewer amount of chips to the final table. When Vasquez was asked beforehand about what he though about the decision, he said that it is no big deal since he is used to starting with lesser amount of chips. He said that he is used to starting from the bottom. Starting off with a fewer amount of chips may not have been a problem with Vasquez but the cameras proved to be his undoing.

He was bluffed off trip jacks from the start of the game and it cost him a considerable amount of chips. Matt Glantz raised to three thousand from the middle part before the poker action moved over to Faraz Jaka. He re-raised to 8,000. Vasquez made a call from the small blind and Glantz folded, leaving Jaka and Vasquez heads up in the flop. The flop came down Q(hearts) J(diamonds) 5(diamonds) and Vasquez decided to check. Jaka also decided to check behind.

The turn revealed a J(spades) on the board and Vasquez staked 11,000. Jaka called before the river revealed a 6(clubs). Vasquez staked 19,000. Jaka raised, making it 81,000. Vasquez seemed confused by Jaka's raise and enventually folded his A(hearts) J(hearts).

Jaka showed only the 3(clubs), meaning that there is no other way that he could beat the trip jacks of Vasquez. About two levels later, Vasquez hit the rail when lost a heads-up batte with his top pair against the top pair of Jaka's. With his chip stack gone, Vasquez said that the TV cameras and the bright lights made the difference.

But he said that he will be ready next time. The next participant to hit the rail was Shawn Buchanan. He got involved with Jason Mercier and after a flop revealed Q(clubs) 10(hearts) 4(clubs), the two players found all the cash in the middle. Buchanan was at big risk and holding the Q(hearts) 10(clubs), Mercier had a flush draw with his K(clubs) 3(clubs).

The turn card was the nine spades and kept Buchanan in contention, but the river revealed 9(clubs) to reward Mercier with a flush and send Buchanan to the rail in 5th place. Glantz was the next one to go home and Mercier sent him to the rail as well. The pair received pocket pairs and all the money were placed in the preflop.

The only hurdle for Glantz and his pocket 10's were that he ran into Mercier's queens. After a board of A(clubs) 8(diamonds) 5(spades) 9(diamonds) 5(diamonds), Glantz was out and Mercier solidified his overall chip lead. It was not long before the next player was sent out, Jaka went out in 3rd place and left Sam Stein in the heads-up showdown with Mercier.

Jaka's luck gave out when he took his A(diamonds) K(clubs) against the A(spades) 7(diamonds) of Mercier. Although Jaka got his money going against Mercier, someone forgot to tell him how good Mercier runs. The only Team PokerStars Pro to make the final table place a seven on the flop to come from behind. From there, the match was set with Mercier going against Sam Stein.

The two were almost even in total chips when the heads-up showdown started with Mercier holding 468,300 against Stein's 406,700. Mercier pulled in the front first when he made a good call with 4th pair to answer Stein's bluff, and for the first couple of card hands, it look like he was going to run all the way to the finish line. But Stein held tough and fought back to gain the chip lead after doubling Mercier with a straight.

The pair battled it out until dinner break, which saw Mercier with a total of 449,000 chips and Stein with a total of 426,000 chips. Stein started to pull away after break and it looked like Mercier left his skills back at dinner. Then, a series of favorable river cards turned the tide around. 1st, Mercier was saved on the river to divide a card hand and stay in contention. He got all-in with A(diamonds) 8(clubs) against Stein's A(clubs) 9(hearts).

The board ran out A(spades) 6(diamonds) 2(hearts) 2(diamonds) K(hearts) and the players divide the chips. Next, Mercier went all in with K(clubs) 10(diamonds) against the A(clubs) Q(clubs) of Stein. The board featured A(hearts) J(diamonds) 2(spades) 5(spades) Q(spades) and another river card helped Mercier stayed alive.

This time, he was able to double and not just divide the pot. Then the largest pot of the game all but sealed the match. Stein and Mercier got all the money in the preflop with Mercier possessing two threes against the A(diamonds) J(diamonds). Stein placed a better pair when it came J(diamonds) 6(spades) 2(spades), but the turn and the river ran with the 4(hearts) and 5(hearts) to give Mercier a straight.

Although Mercier did not make a full house, it is fitting that he won the biggest pot of the poker tournament with pocket threes. Stein was left with just 13,999 chips after that card hand. He was able to double twice, but could not last for more than a few card hands. He fell short but did take home $75,000 for his efforts.


04/29/2010, Thursday
Sherry Barlow

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