Serving as a further testament to the strength of poker and that the game shall live on in whichever form necessary regardless of attempts to stop it, the European Poker Tour held their inaugural Champion of Champions event. Every single player who has won an EPT event in the history of the Tour was invited to this Champion of Champions freeroll on May 13 in the Spanish capital of Madrid. The man who proved himself to be a cut above the other champions was none other than famous poker pro Jason Mercier, who has become very well known for his tournament prowess.

The European Poker Tour is a series of poker tournaments which are sponsored by PokerStars and shown on television for fans around the world to enjoy. The tournaments themselves take place in beautiful locations around the European continent, with each location counting as one of several “stops” in every season of the Tour. The Tour first began in 2004 and since then there have been a total of seven seasons, with the seventh concluding last week in Madrid, Spain. The combined events of these seven seasons produced a list of 50 Main Event winners to battle it out in this Champion of Champions tournament.

Jason Mercier is an extremely well-known tournament poker player who first entered the spotlight when he won an EPT Main Event in season four of the Tour at the San Remo stop. His tournament poker accomplishments know nearly no bounds. He sports 14 WSOP in-the-money finishes including one Bracelet win, two WPT money finishes and four EPT money finishes, three of which were final table performances. His tremendous skill as a poker player sees him ranked third in the world by ESPN and he has career tournament earnings well in excess of $5,000,000.

The tournament was naturally a freeroll put on by PokerStars and the EPT, with a prize pool to the value €100,000 (just under $150,000). As you have to expect from this kind of tournament the competition was truly tough, with every EPT champion from the absolute first Alex Stevic right through to Ivan Freitez who won the 2011 EPT Madrid stop just one day before the Champion of Champions tournament kicked off. Alongside the eventual winner Jason Mercier the biggest name was most likely Bertrand Grospellier, better known by his online poker screenname ElkY. ElkY made it to the final table of eight but was the first to bust, being eliminated by Mercier himself.

As the star-studded final table became smaller and smaller, the chips were flying in every direction. Max Lykov was sent to the rail in third place by would-be runner-up Galen Hall, signaling the beginning of heads-up play. Hall had a three-to-two chip lead over Mercier as the two began to play some pots, but a fateful Jack saw Mercier’s AJ pull ahead of Hall’s AK as the two were all-in and the tables were drastically turned, with Mercier having eight times as many chips as his opponent. The two were soon all-in once again and Mercier’s A2o held against K3o, giving Mercier the €50,000 in first place prize money and, more importantly, the title of EPT Champion of Champions.