The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown kicked off a $25,000 High Roller Tuesday and drew the largest field the property has seen for a high buy-in event. There were 116 entries, Day 2 returned 29 players and after nine hours Jason Mercier took down the event for $794,600.

“I was in the car on the way over yesterday and Natasha told me, ‘You know, you haven’t really won anything in a while in No Limit Hold’em, maybe you should start listening to me on how to play hands because I’m more profitable than you are,’” Mercier said. “I said some mean things back and took it as motivation to win this tournament.”

“I tried telling her I won this tournament 18 months ago, but she said, ‘Yeah, that’s a long time ago,’” Mercier continued. “I probably have dusted off a lot since then, so this makes it better.”

“Anytime you can hit a big score it feels really good and puts you in a good mindset moving forwards,” he said. “I’ve got a pretty intense schedule coming up…so I’m really looking forward to that. I’m going hard for three months and hopefully winning some money, then relax and wait for my baby boy to come.”

The field juiced the prize pool to $2.9 million for the final 16 players. The bubble looming over the $25,000 High Roller event registered a $55,100 swing. On the bubble, 2016 Super High Roller Bowl winner Rainer Kempe three-bet shoved after Mercier opened and the South Florida father-to-be called with As Tc. Kempe tabled pocket queens, Mercier spiked an ace on the turn and Kempe was the final player eliminated without a payout.

The final table came together just before the dinner break with the average stack relatively shallow:

Seat 1: Jason Mercier – 1,010,000
Seat 2: Jeff Gross – 950,000
Seat 3: Ari Engel – 2,215,000
Seat 4: Justin Bonomo – 310,000
Seat 5: Sam Soverel – 2,175,000
Seat 6: Loni Harwood – 880,000
Seat 7: Olivier Busquet – 1,700,000
Seat 8: Anthony Spinella – 1,560,000
Seat 9: Bryn Kenney – 840,000

Falling short of the final table were Jake Schindler in 10th, Jonathan Little in 12th, Sean Winter in 14th and Erik Seidel in 15th place.

Gross was the first player knocked of the final table after he moved in holding pocket tens and found calls from Mercier and Harwood – both holding pocket jacks. The board ran rags and Gross’ chips were chopped up.

Five minutes later another three-way pot developed, this time Mercier held the best hand preflop with Ah 7h. Bryn Kenney was all in holding Qh Td after dipping below 20 big blind and Ari Engel moved all in with less chips holding Td 8d. Mercier hit an ace on the flop, knocked out both players and Kenney got the higher finish with a larger stack.

Soverel fell to Bonomo after a preflop showdown where Soverel held Ac Jh and Bonomo with Kd Qs. Two kings hit the flop and Soverel packed up his belongings before the river card hit the felt.

Busquet’s stack had dwindled down about ten big blinds before he doubled through Harwood in a battle of the blinds. A few hands later Mercier opened, Busquet three-bet shipped holding pocket tens and Mercier woke up in the big blind with queens. The board ran jack-high and Busquet was eliminated.

Harwood, the lone female and SHRP team member, busted in third in a hand tailormade for TV. All three players moved in preflop with Bonomo holding the lead and the best hand with pocket queens. Harwood shoved with Kh Jc and Mercier was in with pocket tens.

The flop came 3c 2d 2h, the was the Kc – giving Harwood the best hand and a chance to triple up. Then the river came Td, shipping the massive pot Mercier and setting up heads-up match with Bonomo.

The stacks were close with Mercier holding 6.4 million to Bonomo’s 5.1 million. Mercier took control of the match in hand where he made trips holding six four offsuit. A few minutes later Bonomo moved in preflop with Ac 2d and Merceri snap-called with Ad Qd. 
The board gave Mercier three diamonds, making a nut-flush and giving Bonomo another second-place finish.

Final Table Payouts

1. Jason Mercier – $794,600
2. Justin Bonomo – $556,800
3. Loni Harwood – $348,000
4. Anthony Spinella – $240,700
5. Olivier Busquet – $153,700
6. Sam Soverel – $113,100
7. Bryn Kenney – $92,800
8. Ari Engel – $78,300
9. Jeff Gross – $75,400