The final table took a record 12 hours to play, but Greg Merson of Laurel, Md., took home the $8.5 million prize for winning the World Series of Poker Main Event.
Merson needed 399 hands to take down his nine final opponents, the Washington Post reports, including a king-high hand that won it all.
Of course, he overcame considerable odds just to get to the tournament.
Years ago, Merson became addicted to drugs while attending the University of Maryland, then dropped out after a few semesters, the Post reports. However, he got himself clean and began playing poker professionally in Atlantic City. Following a crackdown on online poker, Merson left the country and moved to Toronto to continue playing.
A relapse into drugs in early 2011 cost Merson about half of his gambling money, but he cleaned himself up again by early 2012 and began making his mark in the world of professional poker, amassing $1 million in winnings before entering this year’s WSOP Main Event.
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