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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Isabelle Mercier

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

Perhaps the most ignored piece of advice is “follow your dreams.”  For whatever reason, be it fear, lack of means, or laziness, it is often disregarded as much as a diet over the holidays.  For those that do indeed follow their dreams, they generally end up happy, regardless if they caught up with that said dream or not.  Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier not only chased that dream, but as you will find out, she caught up with the dream and has taken everything from it that it has to offer.

Isabelle Mercier was born on August 5, 1975 in Victoriaville, Quebec.  As a child she took a liking to getting to know as much as possible about the world, which turned into a desire to travel.  Before traveling came an education.  She attended the University of Montreal, where she earned a degree in law.  While she really wanted to start traveling, she had no money to do so, so she took a job in a law office.  While she worked there all she could think of was traveling, so about a year into the job she started looking for ways she could possibly do it in a cheaper way.  Despite not having much of a liking, at the time, of gambling, she noticed that she might be able to travel abroad by getting a job in the gambling industry.  After a year in the law office she was starting to grow stir crazy anyway, so when the opportunity came up to take a job as a card dealer in one of the most famous casinos in the world, she accepted right away.

Mercier entered her job as a poker dealer at the Aviation Club in Paris with the thought of it being a quick stop, before she moved to the next casino in Europe.  Like so many poker players before her, dealing naturally led to her being interested in the game.  As the days and hours went by Mercier discovered that the winning players played a certain way while the losing players had their way.  Mercier had the thoughts, as so many do, that she could make a lot more money playing poker than dealing.  Also, while in France she decided to go back to school and get a Master’s Degree, so between dealing and studying for her degree she began to sit down and play.

Two times Mercier was nominated for two “Staff Person of The Year” awards for her work at the Aviation Club.  Despite excelling at her job at the prestigious casino, she still had a dream of wanting to travel the world.  With her new found poker skill, Mercier knew, or hoped, that the game would be her path to happiness.  In interviews she has suggested she chased poker with a blind passion, but thankfully it has turned out well for her.  Mercier announced to her bosses that she would be quitting, and promptly sold everything she had except some clothes, and the suitcase she held them in.  With $10,000 to her name she joined the many others hoping to have a career in poker.

Almost from the start Mercier noticed she preferred tournament poker to cash games.  She enjoyed the strategy, and the thrill you get when you are the last person standing after a long grueling tournament.  The first few months of her journey didn’t garner much success, but she wouldn’t have to wait long before adding a little bit of leeway to her bankroll.  In November 2002, Mercier finished second at the Masters Classic in Amsterdam, winning $53,499.  In the grand scheme it wasn’t a huge score, but it was more than enough to convince Mercier that chasing her dream was turning out to be a good choice.

Two years later Mercier jumped into the mainstream when she won the WPT Ladies Night Out Invitational, beating the likes of Cyndy Violette and Clonie Gowen.   The $25,000 prize wasn’t her biggest, but it would prove to be very important for her.  It opened the doors for sponsorships, most noticeably from PokerStars.  Mercier had made her dream come true in just a few years.  She was playing professional poker and getting to travel around the world.  The best part is that someone else was paying for it.  Despite the sponsorship, Mercier still wanted to show the poker world she was one of the best players in the world.

Over the next two years, Mercier continued to find success, finding seven five figure scores.  With that success Mercier decided she was ready to step up her game and play in some World Series of Poker Events.  In 2004, Mercier still suffered a little bit from tilting, and found it heartbreaking when she suffered a bad beat at a single satellite table for the Main Event.  Since then she has taken steps towards staying calmer, including daily mediation and exercise, as well as watching what she eats.  In 2005 she proved that had gone a long way, as she placed in three WSOP events that year.  In 2006 she secured the biggest cash of her career when she finished 5th in the $5,000 No Limit Event, adding $175,404 to her bankroll.
In her short WSOP career she has finished in the money six times.  She has also finished in the money four times on both the European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour.  The huge career defining money has yet to come, but it has come painfully close.  Still, she has made over $800,000 in live tournament winnings.  Also, she just recently won $115,000 on July 12th, when she finished 3rd at PokerStars’ weekly Sunday Millions tournament.  That cash was good enough for the second of her career.

Mercier is also involved in a number of other poker related side gigs.  Last year she released an instructional DVD titled “That’s Poker.”  Also, in her home country of Canada she released a book titled “Profession: Bluffer.”  Her website, is one of the better kept up websites for a professional, and gives regular updates on her travels.  Just think – the desire to travel is what started all of this in the first place for Mercier.

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