Four years ago the poker world watched as Jesse Sylvia and Greg Merson fought it out in the heads up of the World Series of Poker main event (see previous report), with Sylvia narrowly defeated but taking home a second placing pay check for $5,292,889.
Since then the poker pro has enjoyed a few more top five finishes, but on Friday he hit the big money again in the $3,500 buy-in NLHE main event of the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City, claiming the first prize of $821,811.
When the final table formed Sylvia had the shortest chip stack, with Farid Jattin holding most of the chips on the table and a significant lead on his closest opponent.
Unfortunately for Jattin, the vagaries of the game caught up with him and he suffered the hero-to-zero experience of being the first to exit the final table.
By the time the action reached the three handed stage, Sylvia had staged an impressive recovery and was competing strongly with Taha Maruf and Zach Gruneberg; in fact he and Gruneberg between them had eliminated the rest of the table.
Gruneberg made quick work of Maruf, sending him home with a third-place prize of $300,031 to enter the heads up on almost equal terms with Sylvia after just 48 hands of final table action.
For the next 80 hands the two pros fought it out despite Sylvia grabbing an early lead in a massive almost 19 million chip pot and then steadily building it to a 10 to 1 advantage. In the end Sylvia managed to leverage a massive chip advantage to defeat the determined and skilled Gruneberg, sending him to the cashier to collect a well-earned runner up check for $490,617.
Sylvia’s spoils included that hefty check for $821,811, along with a seat in the WPT Tournament of Champions, a WPT Champions Trophy, a Hublot King Power Unico Carbon and Red watch and a pair of gold Monster 24K headphones.
Other final table cashes included:
4 Simon Lam $250,970
5 Chris Limo $207,569
6 Farid Jattin $167,942