Maryland man wins World Series of Poker

Greg Merson claims $8.53M prize

LAS VEGAS - A 21-year-old Arizona State senior hoping to become the youngest World Series of Poker champion ever was eliminated from the no-limit Texas Hold 'em main event in third place. Jake Balsiger was bounced from the tournament in Las Vegas early Wednesday.

Maryland poker pro Greg Merson won the event for the $8.53 million prize.

A political science major, Balsinger has vowed to graduate even though he won $3.8 million.

Balsinger said he has homework due Thursday for his Supreme Court class. Balsiger said he didn't do it last week because he was in a final table simulation, speculating that his professor's probably not happy with him.

Even before Balsiger was eliminated, the players set a series record by pushing beyond 364 hands at the final table. Balsiger lost on hand 382, while second place finisher Jesse Sylvia of Las Vegas lost on hand 399.

All three players traded chips, big bluffs and shocking hands during their marathon run.

Balsiger eliminated Russell Thomas in fourth place just after midnight early Tuesday to set up the trio's final showdown.

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