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Michael Mercaldo Earns Maiden WSOP Bracelet in Event #7 for $124K

The latest World Series of Poker Online event featured a see-saw heads-up battle end a dramatic final table as Michael Mercaldo won his first-ever WSOP bracelet at the expense of James Anderson in the WSOP Event #7 ($777 NLHE Lucky Sevens).

Going into the final table, Anderson held a lead over the field with Mercaldo one of several strong players in the chasing pack. Krista ‘Pollux’ Gifford was the first player to depart, moving all-in for five big blinds over Anderson’s opening bet. Gifford had Kh9h but was way behind Anderson’s KdQs pre-flop and that remained the case through the KcQh7c2c4h board as the chip leader put down an early marker.

Anderson’s dominance was growing and sat back and watch as seven players became six. Paul ‘precision’ Zappulla shoved from the big blind for eight big blinds with Kd8d and was snapped off by Jake ‘nattydaddy24’ Hernandez in the small blind with KcJc, which had no problem holding through a board of Tc7s3c7hAs.

Hernandez, who had also been short, would have hoped that hand might be the platform for recovery, but instead, it was a false dawn. Betting 122,550 pre-flop, Hernandez saw Anderson raise it to 255,555 before moving all in for around 1.3 million with JsJd. Anderson snap-called with KdKh and the Ks7d4c flop gave Anderson a lock on the hand. The Tc turn meant that Hernandez was drawing dead to the 2h river and just five remained.

Ryan Laplante exited in fifth place after his all-in with JdQd over Justin ‘MadTitan’ Turner’s opening bet with 9c9d was called by his opponent and the two men raced to decide the hand and a crucial pot. The Ah3s2h flop kept Turner ahead and the 8s was of no help to Laplante. The 9s river confirmed the exit of Laplante for a deep run earning him $27,350.

It was Angel ‘ChromeKing’ Lopez who busted in fourth place for $37,980 after his pre-flop move for seven big blinds with 6d6c was called by Justin Turner with Qc8c. The flop of 8h7h3h put Turner ahead but the 5s turn offered hope of a gutshot to add to the two sixes Lopez needed to hit. Unfortunately for him, the Ad river ended his hopes of victory and vaulted Turner into the lead.

Turner may have led at that stage, but No Limit Hold’em is brutal in its ability to switch the balance of power and so that proved for Turner as he went from chip leader to short stack in no time at all. Down to 16 big blinds, Turner moved all-in pre-flop with KcJd in a bid to regain control at the table. He was snap-called by Mercaldo, however, who had woken up with AsAh and he held with ease across the board of Qc5s2cQhKd to enter the heads-up with a marginal lead of 6.8 million to James Anderson’s 6.4 million.

Over the course of the next 15 minutes, the lead flipped between the two men as the blinds escalated and the stakes were raised accordingly. Anderson and Mercaldo were both all-in with a nine on a nine-high flop only for two kings to lead to a split pot by the river. Anderson took the lead, but couldn’t make it last. As he ramped up the aggression, Mercaldo adapted and over the course of several hands, played back at his opponent pre-flop and took down pots without going to showdown.

Mercaldo moved into a 4:1 chip lead by the time the final hand took place and held 10.7 million to Anderson’s 2.6 million as a min-raise and call saw a flop of Jc9c7s land. Anderson led out for just under 300,000 chips, Mercaldo making the call.

On the Ac turn, Anderson moved all-in with bottom two-pair on the flop of 9h7h. Mercaldo, however, had slow-played the flopped nut straight with Ts8s and only needed to fade four outs on the river. When the Kd landed, it confirmed Mercaldo’s first-ever WSOP bracelet and condemned the former bracelet winner Anderson to the runner-up result of $76,395.

The $777-entry NLHE Lucky 7’s event had 888 total entries, with 572 unique players adding 316 rebuys, which made a prize pool of $621,600 with just 126 of those players being paid, with players such as Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow busting before the money. In Matusow’s case, that was down to top two pair on the flop being bettered by Laplante’s set of sevens on the turn.

Steven Kelly (68th for $1,616), Ema Zajmovic (35th for $2,859) and Matthew Rosen (21st for $3,480) all cashed but miss out on the biggest prizes with a deep run for those players ending well before the final eight battled it out for the bracelet. It was a memorable victory for Mercaldo and a maiden WSOP bracelet to go with the career-high score of $123,574.

WSOP Online Series Event #7 $777 NLHE Lucky Sevens Final Table Results:

Michael ‘stiltwalk’ Mercaldo $123,574
James ‘biggs2424’ Anderson $76,395
Justin ‘MadTitan’ Turner $53,458
Angel ‘ChromeKing’ Lopez $37,980
Ryan ‘Protential’ Laplante $27,350
Jake ‘nattydaddy24’ Hernandez $20,016
Paul ‘precision’ Zappulla $14,856
Krista ‘Pollux’ Gifford $11,189

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