Aaron Mermelstein Wins Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown High Roller

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Aaron Mermelstein beat out a tough final table to win the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown High Roller.

Busting out of a World Poker Tour event usually means a miserable end to one’s poker trip. Aaron Mermelstein was having none of that. After busting in 53rd place in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown on Tuesday, Mermelstein jumped into the $25,000 High Roller event and the Pennsylvania poker player beat a final table that included the reigning GPI Player of the Year, a former WSOP Main Event champ and a WSOP Europe Main Event champ to pick up the second biggest score of his career.

Ben Yu didn’t come to the final table with the shortest stack, but with just six big blinds to work with, the three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner didn’t have a lot of decisions to make. On the first hand of play, he moved all in for 295,000 with 4h4s only to have James Calderaro called with TcTs. The AcAdAs flop left Yu drawing to perfect-perfect running fours. The Qs turn gave him outs to a chop but the Jd river sealed his fate with a ninth place finish.

Just a few minutes later, Brandon Adams ended up on the wrong side of an unavoidable preflop all in situation. Adams and Joe McKeehen got all the money in with Adams holding AhKd and McKeehen well ahead with AcAs. The ace-high flop gave McKeehen top set and left Adams drawing dead through the turn and river on his way to an eighth place finish.

The player who did start the final table with the shortest stack, Alan Schein, laddered up two spots inside of the first 10 minutes before finally busting. Calderaro raised to 110,000 with JcTc and Schein moved all in for 435,000 with As9s. Calderaro called and then stayed ahead through the 7s5s2c flop. The Kc turn was also safe but the Jd river give Calderaro a pair to win the pot and eliminate Schein in seventh.

Niall Farrell raised to 100,000 from the button holding AsQh before Mermelstein moved all in from the big blind with 9h9s. Farrell called all in and moved ahead on the Qd8s5s flop. The 7d turn gave Mermelstein a gutshot which the 6c river completed to give Farrell a sixth place result.

McKeehen, who started the final table with the chip lead, got into a hand with Shannon Shorr that resulted in Shorr’s departure. On a flop of Qs9s6d, McKeehen bet 160,000 only to have Shorr check-raise all in for a little over 1,000,000. McKeehen called and turned over AdQh which put him ahead of Shorr’s QdTd holding. Shorr was unable to improve after the As turn and Jh river and was out in fifth.

The former WSOP Main Event champ wasn’t done there. McKeehen raised to 150,000 from UTG with AhKs and Calderaro moved all in for 425,000 from the small blind with Ad5c and McKeehen called. The board ran out Qc7d6d3d2s to send Shorr home with a fourth place finish.

Unfortunately for McKeehen, the next hour wasn’t as kind to him and he wound up busting in third. Mermelstein raised to 175,000 from the button, McKeehen moved all in from the small blind for 1,555,000. Foxen moved all in from the big blind and Mermelstein folded. McKeehen tabled KsQc and was in rough shape after Foxen turned over AcAh. The KhTh3cJs5h wasn’t good enough to save McKeehen from elimination.

Heads up play started with Mermelstein holding 55% of the chips in play. Over the next hour, Mermelstein never surrendered the chip lead and eventually found a spot to pick off Foxen. From the button, Foxen raised to 350,000 and Mermelstein called. The flop came Tc9h4c and Mermelstein check-raised all in and Foxen called and then got bad news after Mermelstein turned over ThTs for top set while Foxen showed JsTd for top pair and a runner-runner straight draw. The Ac turn crushed any hope Foxen had, giving Mermelstein the title and a $618,955 payday.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Aaron Mermelstein – $618,955
  2. Alex Foxen – $545,000
  3. Joe McKeehen – $305,665
  4. James Calderaro – $210,295
  5. Shannon Shorr – $136,935
  6. Niall Farrell – $100,255
  7. Alan Schein – $83,140
  8. Brandon Adams – $70,915
  9. Ben Yu – $68,470