Merson went into final table play on Tuesday night with 88.4 million in chips. Sylvia came in with 62.8 million and 46.9 million for Balsiger.
The winning hand for Merson was a suited queen-jack. He went head-to-head with Jesse Sylvia on the final hand — Sylvia held a king high. For his efforts in the World Series of Poker, Merson was named the ‘WSOP Player of the Year.’
For his second-place effort, Sylvia earned just south of $5.3 million, while 21-year-old Jake Balsiger earned $3.8 million for his third-place finish.
Balsiger is a senior political science major at Arizona State. He was eliminated by the eventual winner, Merson, and has vowed to finish college despite the huge payday.
“I have some homework due tomorrow, my Supreme Court class,” Balsiger said after being eliminated from the final table. “I didn’t do it last week because I was in a final table simulation, so my professor’s probably not the happiest with me.”
It was a long, grueling tournament that finally concluded and made it worth the wait for Greg Merson. While poker can lead to mental fatigue, the $8.53 million will surely ease him out of any possible funk.