The final table of the European Poker Tour London Â£1 Million Showdown boasted some big poker names, such as John Juanda and Scotty Nguyen. In the end, though, it would be none of the big names capturing the tournament. The winner would be Jason Mercier, who while not unknown, is not as famous as some of his final tablemates.
At the beginning of final table play the chip stacks stood thus:
Peter Jetten: 347,000
John Juanda: 302,000
Jason Mercier: 204,000
Isaac Haxton: 193,000
David Benyamine: 175,000
Masaaki Kagawa: 142,000
Michael Watson: 104,000
Isabelle Mercier: 86,000
Scotty Nguyen: 68,000
Team Poker Stars Member Isabelle Mercier as the first to leave, doing so when she took her A-J up against the dominating A-K of Michael Watson. The A-K held up and Isabelle Mercier was eliminated in ninth place, collecting Â£51,000.
Watsonâ€™s healthier stack would take a big hit, and he would get all his money in preflop when he picked up pocket aces. David Benyamine called, and was actually the shorter stack, putting himself at risk with his K-J. No help came for Benyamine on the board and he exited in eighth place, richer by Â£59,000.
Watson continued his role as the terminator when he eliminated the Japanese player, Masaaki Kagawa. Kagawa reraised all-in with A-Q, but again Watson was holding a dominating hand of A-K. Again the dominating hand held up and again Michael Watson was victorious in knocking out another player. Masaaki Kagawaâ€™s seventh place finish was rewarded with Â£86,000.
Isaac Haxton picked up pocket eights and reraised John Juanda all-in. Juanda instantly called with his pocket aces and Isaac Haxton was in serious trouble as he needed one of the two remaining eights or four cards for a straight. Four cards for a flush would not help as the eights and aces were the same suits. Juanda picked up an ace on the flop and Haxton would not pick up the statistical long shot of quad eights. Isaac Haxton collected Â£103,000 for finishing in sixth place.
Scotty Nguyen had played extremely well to survive after entering the final table as a severe short stack, but his time would end when he clashed with John Juanda. Nguyen moved all-in preflop with [Ac][10s] and Juanda made the call with [Kh][9h]. Three hearts would fall on the board to give Juanda a flush and the pot. Scotty Nguyenâ€™s fifth place finish earned a payday of Â£157,500.
Peter Jetten would fall in fourth place when he called all-in on Jason Mercierâ€™s all-in raise. Jetten turned over A-J and found himself in a coin flip as Mercier showed pocket deuces. Jetten made a pair of aces on the flop of [Ad][Qh][2c] but it also brought a deuce to give Mercier a set. The [Ad] fell on the turn to give Mercier the full house and Jetten needed either the case ace or a queen to survive. Instead the [Kc] landed on the river and Peter Jetten was gone in fourth place, having earned Â£189,000.
In three-handed play Michael Watson had clawed back to a dangerous chip stack and made a bold move when he moved all-in with A-7. The bold move would backfire as Juanda was willing to risk a large portion of his stack with A-K. The five cards of the board landed on the felt and not a seven was to be seen, sending Michael Watson to the exits in third place with Â£241,000.
John Juanda started heads-up play with just over a 2:1 chip lead but the lead would reverse itself on the very first hand as Jason Mercier doubled up to switch the chip stacks around. The tournament would end when Jason Mercier moved his 1.2 million plus chip stack in and Juanda called all-in with his [As][Jc] not wanting Mercier to continue pushing him around with the frequent all-in raises. Mercier showed [Kc][Qd] and the flop would bring down [Js][10h][9s] to give Mercier the nut straight. The [5s] on the turn officially ended Juandaâ€™s chances of a miracle comeback and the tournament was over.
John Juanda collected Â£327,000 for his runner-up performance at the EPT London Â£1 Million Showdown while Jason Mercier captured the victorâ€™s prize of Â£516,000.
You can also read about the exciting conclusion to the EPT London Main Event right here.