Jason Mercier was once associated with the hashtag #whenwillitend, a reference to the nearly endless tournament success he has seemed to enjoy throughout his young career.
But at this year’s World Series of Poker, the same hashtag could have been used to ask when Mercier would finally break out of a losing streak that had seen him bust on the first day of every event he had entered.
But Mercier turned things around in a big way on Wednesday.
That’s when he claimed the $5,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event, earning his third career WSOP gold bracelet in the process.
For the victory, Mercier collected a prize of $633,357. But most importantly, it put an end to any doubts about his performance that may have been forming in his mind.
“It feels great. I was really down on myself,” Mercier told WSOP.com. “I was getting beat up in cash, busting every tournament. This is the first tournament I made Day 2 of. It feels really good just to go deep, make the final table, and to win is just the cherry on top.”
Surprisingly, this also marked Mercier’s first bracelet in a Hold’em event. His previous victories, which came in 2009 and 2011, were both in Pot Limit Omaha.
The six-handed format of this tournament attracted plenty of professionals, meaning that despite the relatively large 550-player field, this was still a tough tournament to navigate.
Things only got tougher in the late stages, as players like Jennifer Tilly and Tuan Le made deep runs, while Jorryt van Hoof made it all the way to the final table.
Mike Gorodinsky came close to winning a bracelet for the second time this year, having previously finished second to Phil Hellmuth in the $10,000 Razz Championship. But he ultimately went out in third, leaving Mercier and Simon Deadman to play heads-up for the title.
Mercier entered heads-up play with only the slightest of chip leads, and the blinds were still low enough to provide plenty of play.
But despite Deadman once grabbing the chip lead, Mercier quickly turned things around, and Mercier finished him off about an hour into their battle when his pocket sixes held against Deadman’s KQ suited.
The Monster Stack has become one of the biggest annual events of the WSOP, and this year’s version of the tournament was no exception. The $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament drew a field of 7,192 players, enough to guarantee that the winner would take home the biggest prize awarded so far this year at the World Series.
Out of that enormous field came perhaps the most unlikely of winners. Perry Shiao emerged victorious, winning $1,286,942 in what was not only his first ever bracelet win, but his first career cash at the WSOP.
A poker dealer from Florida, Shaio had actually only played a single WSOP event before this one: the Millionaire Maker a week earlier. In fact, he never would have come to the WSOP at all, except for having cashed in a tournament back in Florida just before the World Series began.
“I came out here to chase the dream,” Shaio told WSOP.com.
But Shaio’s victory may not have been the most memorable event at the Monster Stack final table. That honor likely belongs to Brazil’s Caio Toledog, who proposed to his girlfriend after being eliminated in eighth place.
Toledog walked over to the spectator seating, pulled out a diamond ring, and made the proposal, to which his future wife Fernanda said “yes.”