8:50pm: Double-double! Jason Mercier repeats as NAPT Mohegan Sun Bounty Shootout champion
During the dinner break, several of us speculated as to the real, concrete, mathematical odds of not one, but TWO champions repeating here at Mohegan Sun. Whatever they were (help us, math people), Jason Mercier has defied them, winning the NAPT Mohegan Sun Bounty Shootout for the second consecutive year.
After calling an 8,000 pre-flop raise from Katchalov, Mercier check-raised all-in on a 9♣8♣7♠ flop. Katchalov called, finding himself ahead with 7♥8♠ for two pair while Mercier turned over 9♠T♦ for top pair and a straight draw.
Mercier missed his outs on the turn when the 3♠ fell, but the T♥ on the river made him a better two pair, tens and nines, sealing up yet another remarkable repeat win here in Connecticut.
Mercier's BSO haul totaled $246,600-- the $142,600 winner-take-all prize, $40,000 for winning his first-round table, $14,000 for the seven $2,000 Day 1 bounties he claimed (six knockouts plus his own bounty), $30,000 in final table bounties (also including his own $10,000 bounty), and the $20,000 bonus for winning the most bounties. For his runner-up finish, Katchalov collected $66,000.
In the time it took to type this post, I've been informed those odds are 27,000 to 1. And that this is Mercier's tenth live tournament win in only three years. My God.
We'll have a full wrap-up shortly. --KB
8.35pm: Trip aces
The early, small-ball, heads up encounters have tended to favour Eugene Katchalov. He flopped trip aces in one of the early hands and got Mercier to call him all the way to the river, but it was a relatively small pot.
The two of them--seasoned campaigners both--are deep-stacked and in no hurry to get this over with. This could end up being a long and fascinating heads-up battle. -- HS
8:26pm: Heads-up play begins
Jason Mercier and Eugene Katchalov are back in their seats to decide who walks away with the title. --BW
LEVEL UP. BLINDS 2,000-4,000-500
7.10pm: Dinner time
Ahead of the heads-up duel, we're now going for a one-hour dinner break. Join us the other side of 8.10pm.
7:03pm: Katchalov eliminates Pesek; Gates freaks everybody out
Michael Pesek open-shoved for around 69,000 and Eugene Katchalov made the call. Pesek held A♣6♣. Katchalov had A♥5♥.
Just about that time, VIP Player Host Garry Gates wandered up and said, "Five a diamonds. Third card on the right."
The dealer laid out A♠Q♣5♦.
While we were busy freaking out over Gates' prediction, the dealer out out the turn and river 7♣, and K♦. Pesekwas gone with his $68,000 in earnings from yesterday.
Jason Mercier (269,600) and Eugene Katchalov (180,400) are now on dinner break. We'll be back in an hour. --BW
6:34pm: Mercier eliminates Jaffe, locks up at least a tie in bounty race
Following Eugene Katchalov's 6,000 opening raise, Jonathan Jaffe moved all-in for 71,500, Jason Mercier moved all-in behind him, and Katchalov folded. Mercier had him covered, leaving Jaffe's tournament life at risk.
Jaffe found no help on the K♠8♠6♥8♦5♠ board and was eliminated in fourth place. His cash haul totaled $52,000 from his preliminary table win, the $2,000 bounty he collected in the first round, and the $10,000 bounty he earned today for eliminating Micah Raskin.
With this KO, Jason Mercier will at least tie the bounty race with seven total. (If Eugene Katchalov knocks out everyone else, he too would have seven.) Don't forget, the winner of the bounty race gets a $20,000 bonus as well as a free entry to the next Bounty Shootout, wherever it may be.
Mercier now also has the chip lead with about 180,000 as we move into three-handed play.--KB
LEVEL UP. BLINDS 1,500-3,000-400
6:13pm: Jaffe drops back-to-back pots
Jonathan Jaffe opened for 4,800 and Eugene Katchalov was the lone caller. Both players checked the Q♦6♣K♦ flop. Katchalov led out for 7,600 when the J♦ fell on the turn, Jaffe coming along with a call. The river was the K♣, but Jaffe could not continue, folding to Katchalov's 10,400 bet.
Jaffe raised the next hand, opening again for 4,800. Jason Mercier made the call and they saw a Q♦Q♣7♥ flop. Mercier checked and Jaffe checked behind. Mercier did the same when the 2♥ came on the turn and Jaffe took a stab at the pot, betting 6,600. Mercier called and they checked down the 7♣ on the river. Mercier showed king-jack and it was good.
Between the two hands, Jaffe shed about 24,000 chips and is down to around 70,000. --KB
6:00pm: Pesek sends Von Kriegenbergh packing
Michael Pesek came in for a raise to 5,300. Taylor von Kriegenbergh pushed in his last few blinds. Pesek made the call with A♦J♣. Von Kriegenbergh needed help with K♦J♦.
He didn't get it. The board ran out 7♠6♠9♦6♣Q♥, and Von Kriegenbergh was eliminated. He earned a total of $42,000 for winning his first flight table and one preliminary round bounty.
After coming into the day with only one bounty, Pesek now has four sitting in front of him. Jason Mercier still leads the bounty race with six. --BW
5:51pm: One two-outer deserves another
At last, a bit of drama!
Jason Mercier led off the action with a raise to 4,800, Taylor von Kriegenbergh moved all-in for 59,400 and Eugene Katchalov called from the big blind. Mercier folded and the cards went on their backs.
Von Kriegenbergh 5♦5♣
The flop fell an innocuous 9♣7♦3♥, but the 5♥ fell from the heavens on the turn, sending Von Kriegenbergh's railbirds into an apoplectic fit of ecstasy. Their celebration, however, was short-lived as Katchalov spiked the A♦ on the river to double up, leaving Von Kriegenbergh on less than 15,000 in chips.
"Did that really just happen?" one of the aforementioned railbirds mumbled aloud. --KB
LEVEL UP. BLINDS 1,200-2,400-4,00
5:43pm: Jaffe doubles through Von Kriegenbergh Taylor von Kriegenbergh raised to 5,100 and got a call from Jonathan Jaffe in the blinds. Both players checked the K♣Q♥5♥ flop to the 7♥ turn. Jaffe elf out for 6,400 and Von Kriegenbergh called. When the 8♠ came on the river, Jaffe moved all in for 45,500. Von Kriegenbergh took his time but eventually made the call to see Jaffe's K♥4♥ flush. --BW
5:35pm: A few words from Eugene Katchalov
Our video blogging team caught up with Eugene Katchalov at the break. Here's what he had to say. --BW
5:27pm: Von Kriegenbergh quads up, doubles up
Jonathan Jaffe came in for a raise and got the call from Taylor von Kriegenbergh. On a flop of T♦9♦9♣, Von Kriegenbergh led out for 6,500. Jaffe raised him to 14,800. Von Kriegenbergh moved all-in and Jaffe called.
Von Kriegenbergh: J♣9♠
The 9♥ came on the turn and have Von Kriegenbergh the double. --BW
5:21pm: Mercier doubles through Jaffe
On a flop of 3♥7♥A♦, Mercier moved all-in for around 40,000 and Jonathan Jaffe called. The hands:
The 5♦ came on the turn, and the 9♥ on the river. Mercier doubled up and is now back in contention to repeat. --BW
5:17pm: Pesek gets Guinther
Following an opening raise to 4,800 from Michael Pesek, Jimmie Guinther moved his short stack all-in and Pesek quickly called.
The 9♥6♥6♦ flop favored Pesek and although Guinther picked up a slew of outs on the turn when the 7♣ fell, the river was the 3♦, sealing his elimination in sixth place. Guinther's winnings totaled $36,000 from his first-round win plus the two bounties he collected in the process.
We're down to five. --KB
5:14pm: Guinther doubles, needs to do so several times more
Jason Mercier open-shoved for 47,200 with K♥7♠, and play folded around to the couple of blinds in Jimmie Guinther's stack. Guinther squeezed his J♣4♣ and got his last chip in the middle. The board ran out 2♦9♠4♦Q♣T♠ and Guinther doubled...which still doesn't mean much. --BW
Here are the counts as we start level seven.
Taylor Von Kriegenbergh - 59,000
Michael Pesek - 99,125
Eugene Katchalov - 76,600
Jimmie Guinther - 5,700
Jonathan Jaffe - 160,875
Jason Mercier - 47,800
LEVEL UP. BLINDS 1,000-2,000-300 IN LEVEL 7
Players will take a 15-minute break.
4:42pm: Scott Blackman eliminated in three-way all-in
Jimmie Guinther raised to 3,600, Scott Blackman three-bet to 29,400, and Michael Pesek moved all-in for 31,225 from the big blind. Both opponents called, Guinther having both Blackman and Pesek called.
Although Guinther hit top pair on the 9♥7♥3♠ flop and remained safe when the J♠ hit the turn, Pesek scooped both the main and side pots with the K♥ on the river to triple his stack to 99,000. Guinther was left with only 5,700 and Blackman exited in seventh place, earning a total of $36,000 for his first-round win along with three $2,000 bounties. --KB
4.25pm: End of the road for Raskin
Micah Raskin is our eighth placed finisher, coming out on the wrong side of a pair against pair pre-flop shove-fest. Jonathan Jaffe opened the pot, making it 3,600 to go. Raskin raised to 13,600 and then Jaffe shoved, covering Raskin.
Raskin called for all his chips and for the first time at this Bounty Shootout final, we saw two big hands.
"We got this far, we ain't gonna quit now!" shouted Dwyte Pilgrim, supporting Raskin. But his confidence turned to despair on a flop of 9♣K♥J♣. The 5♠ turned and the 4♣ rivered, which meant it was all over for Raskin.
He earned $40,000 for winning his heat and a further $4,000 for two first-round bounties. But that's the end of the road for Raskin. -- HS
4:20pm: Mercier ahead! Mercier behind! Mercier wins!/
On the hand immediately following his loss to Jonathan Jaffe, Jason Mercier open-shoved for 24,600. Play folded to Michael Pesek in the big blind. He thought for several minutes before calling with J♠9♦.
Mercier had K♣9♣, which was all well and good until the flop came J♥qh]6♠. The turn, 3♣, was no help. That left Mercier with only a few options, one of which, the T♦ hit on the river to double him up to around his starting stack.
Color commentary's Dwyte Pilgrim asked all who would listen, "You think Jason's gonna miss six outs? You think Jason is gonna miss that? Not in this decade!" --BW
4:15pm: Jonathan Jaffe doubles through Jason Mercier
Eugene Katchalov opened for 3,800 and Jonathan Jaffe reraised to 6,000 in the cutoff before Jason Mercier made a cold four-bet to 11,700 on the button. Katchalov folded, Jaffe moved all-in for 43,500 and Mercier called.
Mercier 9♥ 9d]
Mercier's nines held on the T♦T♥3♥ flop, but Jaffe hit top pair on the turn when the J♦ fell. The river was the A♣ and Jaffe moved up to second in chips with 90,000, leaving Mercier on only 25,000. --KB
LEVEL UP. BLINDS 800-1,600-200
3:56pm: Katchalov flops nuts, Sweeney just flops
Eugene Katchalov came in for a raise to 2,400 and Joe Sweeney called out of the blinds. When the flop fell K♦5♦9♦, Sweeny moved all in for 28,300. He picked the wrong time to do that. Katchalov had flopped the nuts with A♦2♦. Sweeney was dead to runners and stayed that way. Joe Sweeney still made a total of $50,000, $40,000 of which he earned for winning his heat, and $10,000 for five first-round bounties. --BW
3:46pm: Jonathan Jaffe doubles through Micah Raskin
Micah Raskin opened for a 2,700 raise, Jonathan Jaffe three-bet all in for 17,200 and Raskin quickly called.
The board ran out 4♠6♦T♣6♠J♠, Jaffe's ace-king holding up to double his stack to 38,000. --KB
3:36pm: Five pots, two showdowns
There was little notable action or significant chip movement in the last five hands, but just to give you a slice of life from our vantage point on media row, here's a look at how they played out.
1. Jimmie Guinther raised to 2,900, Jason Mercier three-bet to 7,650 and Guinther folded.
2. Michael Pesek opened for 2,900, Eugene Katchalov called, Scott Blackman called, and Joe Sweeney called. The action checked around to Blackman on the T♦6♥3♣ flop and he bet 5,000, enough to chase away all three opponents.
3. Eugene Katchalov made it 2,700 to go and Joe Sweeney was the lone caller. Both players checked the Q♠9♦T♦ flop as well as the 5♣ on the turn. The river was the 8♠ and Sweeney led out for 6,000. Katchalov called and turned over A♣J♦ for a jack-high straight, besting Sweeney's A♠7♠.
4. Jimmie Guinther opened for 3,000 and both Taylor von Kriegenbergh and Joe Sweeney came along. The action checked around on the T♦4♣3♥ flop. The turn was the 8♥ and Guinther led out for 6,500. Von Kreigenbergh called and Sweeney folded. Both players checked the J♥ on the river. Guinther showed the winner with J♣T♣ for two pair and took it down.
5. Jonathan Jaffe raised to 2,800, Jason Mercier reraised to 6,600 and Jaffe folded. --KB
3:23pm: Jason Mercier knows how to play poker
We'll be honest. We watched the taping of this particular segment. It offered Jason Mercier a pop quiz on poker math, etc. The fact that we knew the answers to the questions meant one thing: this was like Jason Mercier showing up for final exams in a kindergarten class. Nonetheless...here it is. --BW
Plenty of players were surprised by the steepness of the structure in the opening heats, where they started with a 25,000 stack and played 30 minute levels. But this 50,000 stack and 40-minute levels has offered much more opportunity for measured play. Another way of putting it: we're still nine handed entering level five.
BLINDS UP. PLAYING 600-1,200-200 IN LEVEL FIVE
3.10pm: From the cutting room floor
Taylor von Kriegenbergh raised to 1,600 from mid-position and attracted Eugene Katchalov, in the small blind, to a flop. It came 4♦8♥2♥. Check, check. The 8♠ turned and Katchalov checked again, encouraging a 3,000 bet from Von Kriegenbergh. Katchalov folded.
My guess is that that one won't make the TV edit. -- HS
2:58pm: Of course he had...the six of diamonds
Taylor von Kriegenbergh raised it to 1,600 and got calls from Scott Blackman and Jonathan Jaffe. On a flop of 3♠8♥Q♠. Jaffe led out of the blinds for 2,600 and Von Kriegenbergh raised him to 5,800. Blackman mucked his hand, and Jaffe did the same. Just for fun, Von Kriegenbergh showed the 6♦. --BW
2.45pm: Mercier moving
Jason Mercier, sixth in chips at the break, has quickly set about moving up the leaderboard, winning a pot against Joe Sweeney. Mercier opened to 1,600 and Sweeney, a couple of seats to his left, called. The flop came 2♣7♠J♠ and Mercier bet 2,450. Sweeney called that too, taking them to a 4♦ turn.
Sweeney was finally shaken off by a bet of 5,600 from Mercier. --HS
2:36pm: Action resumes
Although the first few levels lacked what we might normally define as action, under the loosest of definitions of the word, we're back in it. --BW
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 400-800-100
2:25pm: First break chip counts
Eugene Katchalov 69,350
Taylor von Kriegenbergh 69,000
Micah Raskin 65,675
Joe Sweeney 63,450
Michael Pesek 53,325
Jason Mercier 41,400
Jimmie Guinther 34,525
Scott Blackman 28,875
Jonathan Jaffe 24,400
2:15pm: Players take a 15-minute break
2:02pm: Blackman folds to Raskin's four-bet
After opening for a 1,500 raise, Scott Blackman got two callers in Micah Raskin and Eugene Katchalov before all hell broke loose on the 9♠9♥6♣ flop. Katchalov checked, Blackman bet 2,200, Raskin raised to 6,000, and after Katchalov got out of the way, Blackman came back over the top for 12,000. It wasn't enough for Raskin who four-bet to 25,000 straight and after a long tank, Blackman surrendered. --KB
2pm: Blind on blind
Joe Sweeney and Micah Raskin have renewed their acquaintance in the blinds, and this time Joe Sweeney took a small pot. Sweeney raised to 1,200 from the small blind and Raskin called from the big.
They both checked the J♦4♣9♣ flop, and then Sweeney check-called Raskin's 2,200 bet on the T♥ turn. The river was 5♥, which they both checked, and Sweeney's T♣7♠ was good. Raskin mucked.
It's still very quiet here. -- HS
Jonathan Jaffe surrendered a good chunk of his stack in back-to-back hands where he was forced out of the pot after three-betting preflop. In the first, Micah Raskin opened for 1,500 and Jaffe reraised to 4,000, only to be met with a four-bet to 12,000. Jaffe folded and Raskin took it down. On the next deal Eugene Katchalov got things started with a 1,500 raise and again Jaffe three-bet to 4,000. This time Taylor von Kriegenbergh was the spoiler, cold four-betting to 10,500, a move that folded out both his opponents.
Undeterred, Jaffe opened the next pot and took it down without a fight. --KB
LEVEL UP. PLAYING 300-600-75 IN LEVEL 3
1.35pm: Level over
In common with the heats, the early levels haven't seen any eliminations from the final table. However the steep structure meant that players started flying out the door from about level three onwards. I'm predicting at least one elimination in the coming 40-minute level.
1:25pm: Katchalov raises out Jaffe's dark bet
Joe Sweeney led off the action with a raise to 1,200 and Eugene Katchalov called before Jonathan Jaffe put in a three-bet to 3,800. Both players called. Jaffe led out for 4,800 on the J♣5♣2♥ flop, Sweeney folded and Katchalov made the call.
Jaffe bet 7,000 in the dark before the 9♣ fell on the turn, a move that was met with a raise to 20,000 by Katchalov. Jaffe tanked for several minutes before conceding the pot. --KB
1pm: Maybe he is that good
On Tuesday night, as Joe Sweeney was stacking up five bounties and winning his heat, a friend and supporter arrived to the rail and said (with a good degree of admiration): "You must have got some help from the man upstairs because you ain't that good."
Sweeney, an amateur player, had just beaten a table stacked with some of the best professional poker talent in the game and had not looked at all out of place.
That same friend is back today to support Sweeney at the final table, and he was the most vocal in his admiration for this recent hand too.
Sweeney made a standard opening raise pre-flop and then called Micah Raskin's three bet. "No one's pushing us around Joe!" shouted Sweeney's supporter. So it proved.
The flop came 6♦4♠8♥ and Raskin bet 4,000. Sweeney raised to 13,000 and Raskin called. Both players checked the 4♦ turn, but then when Sweeney led for 15,000 on the T♣ river, Raskin folded.
Big--and deserved--cheers from Sweeney's rail. -- HS
LEVEL UP. PLAYING 200-400-50 IN LEVEL TWO
12:51pm: Raskin the early chip leader
Micah Raskin just moved into the chip lead after taking down two consecutive pots. In the first, he opened for 600, earning calls from Eugene Katchalov and Jimmie Guinther. Guinther checked to the raiser on the T♣9♦3♥ flop and Raskin bet 1,200. Katchalov called and Guinther folded. The turn came the 7♠ and Raskin slowed down and checked, leaving the door open for Katchalov to bet 3,000. Raskin called and the K♣ hit the river. Raskin turned around and led out for 6,000, a bet too rich for Katchalov as he pursed his lips and folded.
On the next hand, Raskin and Guinther went heads-up to a 7♣7♦2♥ flop. Guinther led out for 800, Raskin raised to 2,500 and Guinther gave it up as Raskin moved up to 60,000 in chips. --KB
This week is all about repeats, and superstition's Joe Giron has just noticed that Jason Mercier, looking to repeat his Bounty Shootout triumph of last year, is today occupying the nine seat, the same chair that Vanessa Selbst occupied yesterday as she completed her back-to-back main event triumph. Oooooh. What could it mean? -- HS
12:41pm: Von Kriegenbergh does a little advertising
Opening his fourth pot out of five, Eugene Katchalov made it 600 to go, Jason Mercier called from the cutoff and Taylor von Kriegenbergh three-bet to 2,000 on the button. Katchalov folded and Mercier called. The flop fell K♥5♣5♦ and Mercier check-called von Kriegenbergh's 4,100 bet. However, when the turn fell the 6♠, Mercier couldn't continue, folding to von Kriegenbergh's 8,000 bet.
Von Kriegenbergh showed the bluff, showing the 2♣4♣ as he raked in the pot. --KB
12.35pm: Raskin involved
Michah Raskin, who always likes to be involved, has been playing true to form in the early stages today. After Jason Mercier raised to 400 from late position, Joe Sweeney called in the small blind. Raskin, in the big blind, raised to 1,800 and the squeeze got rid of Mercier. Sweeney called.
The flop was 3♣J♥2♦ and after Sweeney checked, Raskin bet 2,100 which was enough to take it down. -- HS
Eugene Katchalov opened his third pot in a row with a raise to 600, Jason Mercier looking him up from the small blind. Mercier checked over to Katchalov on the 6♥8♥6♦ flop, then raised his fellow Team Pro's 800 continuation bet to 1,600. Katchalov called and both players checked down the A♦ on the turn and the Q♠ on the river.
Mercier showed pocket fives and they were good. --KB
12:27pm: Early analysis
For a quick pre-game chat between a nice-looking woman and bloated old man, check out the video below. --BW
12:20pm: Jaffe scores first blood
Taylor von Kriegenbergh came in for a raise and set the stage for a three-bet to 1,900 form Joe Sweeney. Jonathan Jaffe was having none of that and made it 4,200 to play. Von Kriegenbergh got out of the way, but Sweeney called. On a flop of J♠3♥9♥, Sweeney checked and Jaffe bet 5,800. Sweeney got out of the way, and Jaffe picked up the first pot of the day. --BW
12:15pm: Away we go
Cards are in the air with blinds starting at 100-200-25. Levels are 40 minutes long and players start with 50,000 in chips. Here's what they all look like. --KB
11.45am: Mercier also leads bounty race
In addition to the first prize of $142,600 for winning this tournament, there are also a number of other ways players can pick up additional money.
Each table winner has already taken either $36,000 or $40,000 for besting their eight- or nine-handed opening tables, and they will have also taken $2,000 for every player they have eliminated.
The value of the bounties now increases. They are worth $10,000 each. At the end of the entire tournament, the player who has picked up the most bounties will also get a bonus $20,000 in cash, plus a buy in into the next NAPT Bounty Shooutout.
Currently leading that charge is, you guessed it, Jason Mercier. He has six bounties from his opening heat. Joe Sweeney picked up five and the closest others, Katchalov and Blackman, have three.
It's still possible for everyone to win that race, however.-- HS
11.40am: Mercier aims to emulate Selbst
At almost any other tournament in world poker, Jason Mercier's achievement of making the final table 12 months after he won the same event would be enough to have commentators purring. The problem for Mercier, who will sit down today at the final of the $10,000 NAPT Bounty Shootout final and attempt to defend his own crown, is named Vanessa Selbst.
Last night, Selbst completed a remarkable back-to-back triumph in NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Events. Today, anything less than back-to-back victories for Mercier will somehow feel like a disappointment, even though his is also already a spectacular achievement.
Mercier railed Selbst to triumph yesterday. Today Selbst is back in class at law school, so Mercier will have to go it alone. He will also have to beat a field including his Team PokerStars Pro colleague Eugene Katchalov, as well as seven other players who emerged victorious from a stacked field of talent on Tuesday.
The full line up, in seat order, is:
1. TAYLOR VON KRIEGENBERGH
2. JOE SWEENEY
3. MICAH RASKIN
4. MICHAEL PESEK
5. EUGENE KATCHALOV
6. JIMMIE GUINTHER
7. SCOTT BLACKMAN
8. JONATHAN JAFFE
9. JASON MERCIER
Play is due to begin at noon.
Reporting team: Kristin Bihr, Howard Swains and Brad Willis. Photography: Joe Giron.