He may come from the US, but Jason Mercier is a well known heavyweight on the EPT circuit. A PokerStars quaifier, he found himself winning the first EPT San Remo in April 2008, then followed that by final tabling the Barcelona event a few months later.
Just weeks further down the line he won the first big EPT High Roller event – scooping the £20,000 buy-in showcase in London on a fierce final table that included David Benyamine, Isaac Haxton (the PokerStars player who finished runner-up in th WSOP $40K no limit a fews days back), John Juanda, Scotty Nguyen and Team PokerStars Pro Isabelle Mercier.
In all, those three successes – oh, plus a final table at the WSOP Europe pot Limit Omaha event – won him more tham $3 million, plus an army of admirers for his hugely impressive game. Furthermore, he is a thoroughly nice guy.
Now the 22-year-old from Florida has added a WSOP bracelet and another $237,000 to his bulging bankroll by winning the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event here at the Rio in Las Vegas.
He beat 808 other players to get his hands on the title, but had already taken control by the end of day one, At the final table, supported by a huge and noisy rail, he finished heads up with Steven Burkholder.
Afterwards he said: “Winning always feels good, especially after last year (2008 WSOP). I played in 22 events. I went deep in just one of them. I finished 13th and that made me sick. I cashed three times and all three times I busted out with the worst starting) hand, in marginal spots.
“I was really upset with how I played last year. Now, it feels great to win a gold bracelet, especially so early in the Series. Every time I enter a poker tournament, I think I can win it, but of course, you have to win some key pots.”
He had some strategic advice for those who play in both six-handed and nine-handed games. “I tend to play too many hands in early position… because I am used to playing in six-handed games online. But nine-handed games are very different.
“Today, I folded some hands in early position that I normally would have played. That got me into less bad spots. I was able to play position more and take down a lot of pots that I might not have won otherwise.”
Congratulations, Jason Mercier, on a terrific performance.
Team PokerStars Pros have been in the money today. First Daniel Negreanu bubbled the final table of the $10,000 7-card Stud for $36,267, then Barry Greenstein and Vanessa Rousso cashed in the $2,500 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball.
Rousso knocked out Greenstein in 18th place from the 147 starters, and got the customary signed copy of Greenstein’s book, Ace on the River, for her efforts, but then busted soon after herself in 17th. Both received $4,094 for their two days work.
Meanwhile, over on the other side of the Amazon room, two members of Team PokerStars Germany Pro were battling it out to a cash in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event.
Out of the packed field of 2,791, Florian Langmann made it to 65th for $6,209, while Sandra Naujoks, who won her home EPT in Dortmund in March, got one pay spot higher – $7,390 – for finishing 61st.
Still going on tonight is day one of the $2,500 Pot Limit Hold’em/Omaha mixed event, which attracted 453 players. Among them were Katja Thater, Greg Raymer, Victor Ramdin, Hevad Khan, ElkY and Negreanu, who is nicely chipped up on around 50,000 right now. Also playing, with around 120 left are Alex Kravchenko anf Hevad Khan, on 42,000 and 47,000 respectively.
Finally, play has finished in day one of the $1,500 No Limit six-handed event, and Friend of PokerStars Bill Chen is already in the money and chasing the $428,000 title, a first prize generated by 1,459 players. Dario Minieri, who had built a nice stack at one point, was to bust shortly before the bubble.