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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Jason 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.

Sometimes when I’m looking at prospective poker players to write about I must admit that I wonder if I’ll be able to get enough information about the subject to make it worthwhile for the readers of  There are tons of young players who have come out of the gate with wild success, but sometimes they aren’t able to keep up those performances over an extended period of time.  Of course only time will tell, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a flash in the pan and a true talent.  Most people who ever played poker, including yours truly, would love to be considered a flash in the pan if it meant some extra change in my pockets, but again, a true sign of success is measured in consistency, not flashes.  With that being said, Jason Mercier has only played professional poker for a couple of years, but he has already put his name at, or near, the top of the list of the best young guns in the game today.  It turns out that Mercier could have been a math teacher and basketball coach, both fine professions, but plans, as they often do, changed along the way.

Jason Mercier was born 22 years ago in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but it wasn’t until he was in his late teens that he really became interested in poker.  Instead, he concentrated on education and athletics.  Mercier has a both a great like and understanding of mathematics, and thought that he would become a math teacher.  His sport of choice was basketball, and he also thought he would coach that sport along with being a teacher.  It seemed Mercier was very interested in teaching people what he knew, but little did he know at the time he’d be showing the poker world what he’s learned, and teaching us a thing or two along the way.
Mercier was accepted to Florida Atlantic University.  It was during high school he was introduced to poker, but it wasn’t until his first year of college that he began to take it more seriously.  Because of his affection for mathematics, friends thought that Mercier would take to the game well.  Mercier excelled in poker against friends and in local casinos, and like many others decided that he had a chance to make more money playing poker than completing a degree in mathematics to become a teacher.  Mercier dropped out of college after a year, but didn’t immediately make the move to the professional poker circuit.  While improving his game he worked as a substitute teacher, and even spent a year as a high school basketball coach.  Also, in case he did decide to go back to a four year university if poker didn’t work out, he went to a local community college and earned an associate’s degree.

While substituting and coaching, Mercier was introduced to online poker by the same friends that introduced poker to him, and he became a regular at mid-stake cash games under the name “treysfull21” on PokerStars. In 2007 alone he played 2 million hands with a lot of success and planned to move up in cash games.  Not really interested in tournaments, he was bored one day when he entered a satellite to play in the European Poker Tour’s Italian event in Italy.  Two online events later he earned his ticket to the biggest poker event in Italy.

In his very first live tournament, Jason Mercier took down the Italian event on April 1, 2008, winning $1,372,893, one of the biggest wins ever for a player in his first ever tournament (Chris Moneymaker aside).  What’s crazy about the win is that Mercier has stated in interviews that he was going to sell the seat, as the money would have helped in his cash game bankroll, but when a number of his friends were deciding they were going, he decided to join them.  In case you haven’t noticed the theme, Mercier has his friends to thank for quite a few of the successes in his poker career.

With 1.3 million dollars in his bankroll, Mercier immediately ended the online grind and became a regular on the tournament circuit.  What has followed is arguably the most successful start to a tournament career in the history of the game.  Following his win on the European Poker Tour, Mercier cashed in three World Series of Poker events in the month of June, 2008.  Not bad for a first time WSOP player.  Three months later the European Poker Tour was once again kind to Mercier, finishing sixth at the Barcelona Open, earning an additional $324,946.  Just two months later, Mercier added another tournament title to his resume, taking down the High Roller Event at the 2008 European Poker Championships in London.  During heads-up play he found himself with a 2-1 chip deficit against John Juanda, but battled his way back to the delight of the crowd.   This victory cemented his place as one of the top tournament players in the world, and also added an additional $944,847 to his growing bankroll.

The hits kept coming for Mercier.  In the five months that followed his European Poker Championship victory he had four more five figure scores, including winning the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em Event at The Wynn Classic this past March.  Mercier entered the 2009 WSOP with his confidence soaring a mile high, and rightfully so.  Even if he bricked out at the WSOP he had still made one of the best year runs by a young player since maybe Stu Ungar.  However, Mercier wouldn’t disappoint, winning his first WSOP bracelet in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event.  The win of course sky-rocketed his popularity even more, but more importantly to him it earned him his first bracelet, one of many he hopes to accumulate in his career.  Also, the prize of $237,462 was nothing to scoff at either.  Mercier followed his victory at the WSOP by cashing in three more events, including finishing 16th in the Heads-Up Event.

In less than two years of playing tournament poker, a career he almost passed up, he has earned nearly three million dollars.  Amazingly, of the 19 events Mercier has cashed, in he has won five of them, and these are tournament filled with seasoned vets.  It’s doubtful that Mercier will continue to win over 25 percent of the events he enters, but if he even comes close to maintaining that rate he is on his way to one of the more outstanding careers in the history of tournament poker.
Mercier’s achievements have not gone unnoticed, as he is now a sponsored pro from PokerStars.  He routinely takes time to talk to his fans on both his blog, and his Facebook page.  The more you get to know Mercier, the more you realize that he would have succeeded at anything he tried.  He has an upbeat and easygoing personality, but also shows a focus and a drive that is unmatched by any of the young players.  In other words, if he decides to go back to teaching or being a basketball coach we’d probably be reading about awards he won in mathematics and trophies he has won as an NBA coach.

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