Merson wins World Series of Poker Championship

Greg Merson of Laurel, Md., 24, is the 2012 champion of the World Series of Poker’s Main Event, earning $8,531,853.

Merson was crowned after almost 12 hours of play Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning at Rio’s Penn & Teller Theater.

The victory came at 5:35 a.m. today after 16 hands of heads-up play between Merson and Jesse Sylvia, who splits his time between Las Vegas and Martha’s Vineyard. Sylvia earned $5,295,249.

Merson, who entered play Tuesday as the chip leader, won with a king-high. He entered heads-up action with a significant chip lead.

It took almost 11 hours and some 250 hands of three-handed no limit hold’em poker, to eliminate the third place finisher. Jake Balsiger of Tempe, Ariz. earned $3,799,073. The bust out took place at 4:45 a.m.

The 2012 $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Championship, began in July with a total of 6,598 entrants. The event's total prize pool was $62,031,385, with more than $27 million going to the final nine players. A total of 666 entrants cashed in the event.