His rise from young internet pro to becoming one of the game’s biggest names took a little over a year for Jason Mercier. The Team PokerStars Pro has had a thrilling last 12 months. Beyond his EPT San Remo win back in season four, Mercier has made final tables, won the EPT London High Roller and most recently his first World Series bracelet, in the 1500 pot limit Omaha last month.

So he’s allowed to dress like Mike TV. White baseball cap twisted off kilter slightly, white plastic framed sunglasses, white shirt. Benny Spindler sat on his left isn’t Augustus Gloop and there’s no Willy Wonka reference for Pavel Blatny either, but it’s a table worth noting anyhow, a tough one as Mercier admitted himself as he sat down at the start of play.

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New Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier

But as Mercier adds to his stack it’s Spindler who seems most involved action wise. He made a pre-flop bet which seemed to be called by Matt Vengrin, a big American with a proven WSOP track record, only he took a couple of reminders to pay the exact fare, eventually flipping in an extra chip to satisfy the dealer and Spindler, who’d looked like he’d caught Vengrin trying to pick his pocket.

The flop came A♦7♠9♦ which Vengrin quickly bet at, 800 total which Spindler re-raised to 2,000. Vengrin called, a quick flick of his wrist fast enough not to disturb his riffling. 4♠ on the turn and both players checked, making way for a J♠ river card. No betting here either as Vengrin turned over A♠2♠, Spindler leaning over to look, disappointed, slightly annoyed, and ready to muck his cards.

When Mercier won in San Remo his defeated opponent was Anthony Lellouche. The Frenchman has a strong record in Europe and the World Series and found himself at the rough end of the table draw today, sitting alongside this year’s PCA winner Poorya Nazari. But Nazari has gone and now Lellouche has on his left Mark Teltscher, who at times looked like he was being massaged against his will, and a player on his right playing with a permanent smile on his face.

But while Lellouche and Teltscher may represent the big guns on the table both seem eager to keep out of the way with one hand showing a little of the unpredictability of a day one. With four to a club flush on the board two players were sweating the river. The seat nine player Jason Grad had made a bet and his opponent two to his right had the decision to make.

“I have a big hand here” he’d said, asking if Grad would show if he folded. He got no response and folded his hand face up, showing the queen-high flush. It was either a hero fold or a massive mistake, but Grad’s face gave nothing away, although he did show the jack of clubs. That kind of thing can hurt, and linger.

“Will you show me tomorrow?” he asked, getting no reply. Teltscher interrupted.

“He had you crushed” he said, in some part trying to ease the man’s burden, but also to change the subject. “Just give yourself a pat on the back and move on.”



Number of WSOP bracelets held by Johnny Chan: 10
Johnny Chan’s lifetime earnings: $4,799,259
Price of Johnny Chan’s headphones: $7.99



Member of the media: “Are you Dutch?”
Player: “What?”
Member of the media: “Dutch?”
Player: “No, but I speak German.”

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