Greg Merson has won the 2012 WSOP Main Event to claim poker's biggest prize of just over $8.5 million.
The world of poker has a new Main Event champion now that Maryland native Greg Merson has emerged the winner.
The Main Event began back in July with nearly 7,000 entries that were pared down to just nine players after two weeks of play.
Those final nine returned to Las Vegas in late October to see which one would become the next superstar of the poker world.
The first day of action would see them play down to three players, with that trio returning the next day to wrap things up. Jesse Sylvia was the chip leader and odds-on favorite to win but Merson was the pick of many pros to win it all.
Merson had already had a great summer of poker, winning a preliminary WSOP event for a payday of over $1 million and had momentum on his side.
Earlier in the Main Event he lost a huge hand to leave him with just a few chips, but mounted a huge comeback to make the final table.
The first day of final table play featured no huge shocks, with three players left -- Merson, Sylvia, and 21 year-old Jacob Balsiger -- after about eight hours of play, giving the final three plenty of time to rest up for the big day.
And it was a good thing they rested up, as three-handed play turned into an epic battle that would last until the wee hours of the morning.
The trio would swap the chip lead multiple times and play for over 11 hours before Merson won, setting a record for the longest mani Event final table ever and the most number of hands played.
Merson would finally take control, knocking out Balsiger first and then relatively quickly finishing off Sylvia.
While Balsiger and Sylvia both got lucky several times to avoid being knocked out, Merson's win was well-deserved as he stayed in control and shrugged off all the bad luck.
Merson's win was worth a whopping $8,531,853, while Sylvia won $5,295,149 for finishing second and Balsiger collected $3,797,558 for his third-place finish.