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Event #5 Pot Limit Omaha

Day 1
Buy-in: $1,500
Players: 809
Prize pool: $1,104,285 going to the top 81

For a change of pace, Event #5 Pot Limit Omaha now has an add-on feature to it. The way it worked is all players will receive 1500 chips to start with. If they lose those chips, they will be replace in piles of 1500 up until the 3rd level for a grand total of 4500 chips. Should a player not need chip replacement, they will be given to he or she anyway increasing their stack that much more during the 3rd level. Aren't you glad you came to see us for updates on the WSOP! Some faces at the tables were Chau Giang, Layne Flack, Allen Cunningham, Mike Sexton, Brandon Cantu, Ted Lawson, Robert Williamson III , Ester Taylor, Amarillo Slim, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Jeff Madsen, Josh Arieh, Scott Clements, Chris Ferguson, Humberto Brenes and Gavin Griffin. Here is the payout schedule of the final table:
  1. $237,415
  2. $146,748
  3. $96,128
  4. $66,544
  5. $48,533
  6. $37,192
  7. $29,882
  8. $25,122
  9. $22,053
Unfortunately the luxury of extra chips wasn't enough to save some. One of the first out was Daniel Negreanu who lost out to a set of 3's held by his opponent. He was joined by Sorel Mizzi, Jimmy Fricke, David "Devilfish" Ulliot, Bill Gazes, Marcel Luske, James Mackey, Yevgeniv Timoshenko, Clonie Gowan, David "Chino" Rheem, Cliff Josephy, Ivan Demidov and Burt Boutin. Jeff Madsen also went to the rail after the full house he made on the turn was beaten by a bigger full house his opponent made on the river! After the first four levels, the field had fallen to 360 players. But the carnage continued until there were 81 players left meaning that Day 2 will see all participants leaving with some cash. Here are the top 9 with chip counts:
  1. Jason Mercier -- 227,300
  2. Matt Humphrey -- 162,200
  3. Jae Chang -- 133,000
  4. Matthew Greenwood -- 112,800
  5. Alex Michaels -- 110,700
  6. Jonathon Tare -- 102,800
  7. Eric Froehlich -- 100,400
  8. Jose Tavares -- 100,100
  9. Matt Giannetti -- 97,700

Day 2

Play was delayed for an hour due to space limitations with Events #7 and #8 starting today. Action resumed with just a few minutes left in level 10 with blinds at 600/1200, 1200 call or make it with 2400/4200. When things got underway at 3:00 PM, the eliminations commenced! Robert Mizrachi had his pair of Queens punished by the two pair (K's and 9's) of Jesse Rios. Others who followed the call of the busted siren were Tom Chambers, Jonathan Jaffe, Steven Rothstein, Matt Stout, Shannon Shorr, Alexander Kostritsyn, Alexander Kravchenko and Jan Von Halle. Steve Burkholder became the chip leader for 15 minutes after making quad Aces and taking down two other players at the same time.

After dinner break, there were 27 players left with large chip stacks. Matt Giannetti was a beneficiary of the big money as his elimination of Brian Alioa with a full house (A's/2's) shot him over the 530K mark. The bust of Jae Chang by Kevin Iacofano put him over 675,000, eventually paving his way to become chip leader for Day 3.

Others who made the money today were Samir Khoueis from the UK (29th place for $5,797), Kirill Gerasimov from Russia (22nd spot for $7,012), Philippe Marbleu of France (20th position for $7,012) and Alex Jalali from Germany (15th position for $11,583). Here are the final table players with chip counts:

  1. Kevin Iacofano -- 770,000
  2. Jonathan Tare -- 639,000
  3. Van An Tran -- 435,000
  4. Jason Mercier -- 384,400
  5. Victa Park -- 341,000
  6. Dario Alioto -- 315,000
  7. Matt Giannetti -- 311,000
  8. Steven Burkholder -- 263,000
  9. Chris Biondino -- 182,000

Day 3 Final Table

Here are some champion highlights from the WSOP:

The 2009 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha champion is Jason Mercier. Mercier is a 22-year-old professional poker player. Prior to joining the pro poker circuit, Mercier worked for a year coaching high school basketball.

Mercier has enjoyed an astounding 14-month run. He cashed for the first time ever in a major poker tournament in April 2008. Since then, he has won five tournaments -- including two European Poker Tour championships and a WSOP gold bracelet. He already has accumulated $3,069,194 in career earnings, at age 22. His first tournament victory at San Remo (European Poker Tour) still stands as the shortest final table in EPT history. His victory in this event clocked in at five hours, a relatively quick finale given the starting distribution of chips and tough lineup at the final table. Note: Mercier is not related to tournament pro Isabelle Mercier, from Quebec (Canada).

Action continued at level 18 with blinds at $5000/$10,000, call at $10,000 or make it at $20,000 to $35,000. An hour into play, Victa Park busted in 9th place from the two pair (K's and Q's) of Matthew Giannetti. Twenty minutes later An Tran left the event in 8th place when his set of 2's was overcome by the set of 5's belonging to Steven Burkholder. A pair of Queens was enough to send Dario Alioto to the sidelines in 7th place, courtesy of Kevin Iacofano. Then it was Jonathan Tare who went to the rail after seeing the set of Jacks that were property of Jason Mercier for a 6th place finish. Two hands later, Mercier made another two pair (9's and 8's) to take out Chris Biondino in 5th. Mercier claimed another victim when a 10 high straight bounced Matthew Giannetti to the rail in 4th. The poker gods then said Kevin Iacofano would be next to go in 3rd place, losing to the set of Queens belonging to Burkholder.

Interestingly enough there was not a lot of difference in stack size for the heads up. Jason Mercier had 1,650,000 and Burkholder shouldered 1,992,000 on his side of the table. Chips went back and forth for about 17 hands when both players pushed to the middle after seeing a flop of J J 6. Burkholder showed A A J 7 and Mercier had Q J 8 2. Turn card was a Queen giving Mercier the full house and the river card was a King. So with a tiny fist pump move, (they are giving penalties for excessive celebrating this year), Jason Mercier continues his streak of great luck and receives a WSOP gold bracelet for his efforts.

Jason Mercier

  1. Jason Mercier -- $237,415
  2. Steven Burkholder -- $146,748
  3. Kevin Iacofano -- $96,128
  4. Matthew Giannetti -- $66,544
  5. Chris Biondino -- $48,533
  6. Jonathan Tare -- $37,192
  7. Dario Alioto -- $29,882
  8. Van An Tran -- $25,122
  9. Victa Park -- $22,053