Jason Mercier Talks EPT, WSOPE and WPT Plans

EPT San Remo is coming soon and we decided to talk to 2008 Main Event winner Jason Mercier. He talked about several topics, including his existing titles, what his next goals are and more. Check it out!

Three and a half years ago, Jason Mercier arrived on the live scene with a bang. He entered his first major live tournament at EPT San Remo and won the title and €869,000. It took him less than three hours to demolish a final table that included Dario Mineri, William Thorson and Antony Lellouche. Beginner's luck, we thought. He has to win more than one tournament to prove his skill, we added.

Fast-forward to now and I think he might've just done that. Another ten titles and $6 million in winnings prove he was no flash in the pan. We at PokerStrategy.com want to get to know more about this phenomenon that just the stats though, so we sat him down for a chat.

Winning my second bracelet felt really good

Jason Mercier AdminPokerStrategy.com: How did it feel to win your second bracelet and separate yourself from all the one-time winners?

Jason Mercier: It felt really good winning my second bracelet, especially to win it in PLO as well, as that's what I won my first bracelet in. It's my favourite game and what I think I play best in. There are a lot of people who have won one bracelet but there are few people that have two or more. I think, right now, that I'm the youngest person that holds two bracelets. That feels pretty good and I hope I'm the youngest to win three.

AdminPokerStrategy.com:D o you have aspirations to win many more bracelets across different games?

Jason Mercier: You always have aspirations of wining as much as you can. Last year I went deep in five different types of games. I had some close calls in the triple-draw and single-draw, and I'd love to win a bracelet in another game from PLO - hopefully next year. I'll always play as many different games as I can and hopefully I'll win one.

AdminPokerStrategy.com: A lot of players have had huge success in one tournament series (Hellmuth as an example); a lot of players have had thinner success over different series (all the Triple Crown winners except maybe ElkY). You've had multiple successes over each of the series you've entered (EPT, NAPT & WSOP) that no one has achieved to the same level, and in a little over three years. What does this mean to you and what are the major contributing factors?

Jason Mercier: I means a lot to me that I've been able to have this amount of success in the last three years, especially with it being such a short period of time. I feel like it's because I've worked so hard, but also the positive attitude I have going into tournaments, and playing my "A" game at all times and trying to improve. I think I'm doing that well and playing better that almost everybody else that enters. Those are some of the reasons I've been able to have the success over the multiple events.

Winning a WPT title is a major goal for me

Jason Mercier AdminPokerStrategy.com: If you win a WPT this will put you way beyond anyone in terms of global success. Is this a major goal for you?

Jason Mercier: This is definitely a major goal for me. As soon as I won my bracelet in 2009 I was like: now I have to win a WPT. It's already been two and-a-half years almost, and I haven't event come that close.  I haven't even made a final table yet on the WPT, with my best finish being 11th. I try to play as many as I can, and obviously I'm trying play my "A" game. It just takes time and if it takes ten, or twenty years, then so be it. If I never get it then it's not going to bother me, I'll just be like: oh well.

AdminPokerStrategy.com: Would you be able to cope if a bad period of variance kicked in and you suffered a period where you had no results to speak of?

Jason Mercier: Yeah, I think so. I've had some big down swings. They've been short-lived usually. I still feel like I play well when losing and things are going my way, and I feel like I'm able to cope with the downswings. It's true that I haven't had to deal with many recently but I feel like that as I am able to cope with it, it doesn't happen as long and I'm able to bounce back from it faster than a normal person.

Jason had a close circle of friends and two of them (Allen Bari and Dan O'Brien) are backed by him. They got deep into make-up, but are now showing the results to back the faith he had in them.

AdminPokerStrategy.com: Before the 2010 WSOP you predicted big things for Allen Bari and Dan O'Brien but it didn't happen for them. Fast forward 12 months and they had a great series. Did you have the belief back then or was it a motivational tool?

Jason Mercier: I definitely had belief in them and I still do. They are capable of playing just as good as the best players in the world and I think they are two of the best tournament players in the world. I was really happy for Allen when he won his bracelet. I felt bad for Dan when he got 4th and 7th, just because he had a real shot to do something big and they were big prizes for 1st. They were big scores for him though and it always makes you feel good and motivates you more when you see your best friends have success as well.

Allen Bari is the only one that says I'm a prick

Jason Mercier AdminPokerStrategy.com: It seems from the outside that you all have very different personalities and you each fill in the gaps of each other to make you compatible as a unit. Is that right and why you are so tight?

Jason Mercier: In a way yeah, but I also feel that sometimes we don't rub each other the right way. Allen is a difficult person to get along with but I'm really good friends with him. I know that not everyone likes him and he says what he thinks. That's just who he is and you kind of have to respect him for that. We all got along great and our different personalities make us a unique group.

AdminPokerStrategy.com: Does that relay into each other's skills at poker; that you help each other fill in any leaks you think another might have?

Yeah, for sure. If I tell them a hand, or if I tell Allen a hand and he thinks I didn't play it right the first thing he says is, "Wow you're terrible!" We'll end up discussing it and get into the hand and work out where to make adjustments and take the other person's advice.

AdminPokerStrategy.com: Allen gave us a couple of questions to ask you, so here goes:

Allen Bari: Who has taught you the latest style of tournament poker?

Jason Mercier: Me Allen and Dan, and a few of our close friends all talk about poker and the best way to play. With the new style of poker, I'd say that me and Allen kind of perfected it and adapted to our games. And Dan now too followed and changed his game a little bit; tweaked it to how we think we should be playing and it seems to be working for us.

Allen Bari: How do you hide being a prick with his nice guy mask so easily?

Jason Mercier: (Laughing) Allen is the only one that says I'm a prick. We have these arguments when he thinks I'm being a prick. He says, "Do you want to bet that more people think you're a prick than me?"

YES, yes I'll bet it. All day and all the money! Because he's such an asshole (still in jest) I have to be a prick back to him to keep balance. Maybe he should realise I'm not being a prick to anyone else.

Next goals: WSOPE and WPT Foxwoods

Jason Mercier AdminPokerStrategy.com: How's the 2011 goals coming along and have you set any for 2012 yet?

I didn't really set any goals for 2011; I just wanted to win a lot of money. So far I've kind of done that and I'm happy with my 2011. I'd like to finish strong and win a major title like World Series of  Poker Europe or WPT Foxwoods - that would be awesome.

Going forward to 2012, it's kind of the same thing: I just want to win money. Whether it's in cash or tournaments is okay, but I would like to win a WPT. It's easy to say that though and focus all my energy on winning a WPT, but there are only six to ten of them in a year that you can only really play. You have to just focus on the event you're playing and try to good as you can and hopefully win something.

Jason is a huge sports nut and loves his beloved Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins from his hometown.

AdminPokerStrategy.com: One last question - You win enough money to buy the dolphins or the heat, who do you buy?

Jason Mercier: [Exhale] God! I would normally say that I'd buy the Heat because I like Basketball as lot better and the Heat's team is ridiculous right now, but it seems like the NBA is in shambles right now. It would probably be better to buy the Dolphins right now and just try to get a good team in there and try and change the personnel up and maybe fire the coach. We're 0 and 4 right now so things can't be going too right!

He burst onto the scene all right, but since then he has boasted seven-figure tournament earnings every single calendar year. Only Erick Lindgren (with five in-a-row) can better that and you'll be hard pushed to find someone betting against him equalling that record next year.

Initially Mercier's success was mostly on European soil and the inwardly focused American poker fraternity didn't give him the credit he deserved. That is not the case now as he is regarded as one of the very best players on the globe by all on the globe in the know.

Behind this laid back character is a fiercely determined, completive and focused human being who has all of poker's records within his sights and many of them in his grasp. Watch out poker world, this kid is around to stay.

By Marc Convey
Photos courtesy of PokerStars