Greg Merson: World Series of Poker winner takes home $8.53 million

Chips of a competitor of the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) tournament are pictured during the event on October 18, 2011 in Cannes, southern France.

Professional US card player Greg Merson, 24, has won the World Series of Poker, taking home $8.53 million.

The 24-year old also won a $100,000 gold bracelet and has the honor of being named Player of the Year, according to The Washington Post. Merson played against the other two finalists all night, in a record 12 hours of play in Las Vegas. He first sent home amateur Jake Balsiger early Wednesday morning, and then second place player Jesse Sylvia, who netted $5.3 million.

"I feel pretty good — got all the tears out so now I feel relaxed," Merson said after the game, reported BBC News.

"That was nuts, man," Sylvia, a native of Las Vegas, was also quoted as saying when the battle ended. "I thought whoever was going to heads-up was going to be much deeper than we were."

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According to BBC, the no-limit Texas hold 'em series started in July with nearly 7,000 players.

The hand that gave Merson the world poker title was two sixes, a three, a nine and a seven, said the Associated Press. His name is now alongside former champions, including Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan.

Third place Balsiger, 21, a political science major has vowed to graduate, despite winning $3.8 million, the AP also reported.

"I have some homework due tomorrow, my Supreme Court class," Balsiger said. "I didn't do it last week because I was in a final table simulation, so my professor's probably not the happiest with me."