Top 2010 Poker Player Stories – #21 Jason Mercier Makes a Million, back to back to back
First of all, my apologies for not updating Pablosplace on a regular basis. Over the last few days, travel has stepped in the way of sending out the stories as regularly as I would have liked. As a result, I’m going to send out 2 stories each day until I’m all caught up, beginning with this one about Jason Mercier.
At the 2008 European Poker Tour at San Remo, nobody had really heard of the name Jason Mercier. When he finished the event with all of the chips, we didn’t realize exactly what kind of a star was born. The €869,000 (or $1.3 million USD) win was the first live score at a major tournament in his professional career, and really Mercier hasn’t slowed down much. He finished 2008 with $2.7 million in earnings, and would return to the live circuit in 2009 with another $1.3 million in earnings. Back to back million dollar years aren’t something that just happen to everyone. But three years in a row? Is that even possible? The question coming into 2010 was could Jason Mercier accomplish something that would place him in rarified air? Could he make it 3 years in a row with $1 million in earnings at the live poker tables? If you had to place a bet on anyone achieving the mark, Mercier had to be at the head of the class.
Mercier began the year with 2 final tables at the Southern Poker Championship in Biloxi, booking a 5th place finish in the $500 Pot-Limit Omaha event, and then winning the $1,000 Buy-in No Limit Hold’em event. Then it was onto the L.A. Poker Classic where Mercier would make another final table with a 3rd place finish at the $25,000 Buy in High Roller Event, and take home another $141,780. It looked like Mercier was on a fast track to the million dollar club for the third time in three years.
Jason then finished in 5th place at the NBC Heads Up National Championship, and followed that performance by collecting his biggest score of the year at the North American Poker Tour stop at Mohegan Sun. Mercier bested the field and took home the top prize of $475,000, placing him within arms reach of the million dollar march with the World Series of Poker still to come.
But if there is anyone who could call their summer at the WSOP a disappointment with 5 cashes, Mercier might be that guy. Despite results that most players would strive for, including a 10th place finish at the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship event, and a 463rd place finish in the Main Event of the WSOP, there were a number of pundits who called Mercier’s WSOP a letdown. Now measured with an extremely high level of expectations, Mercier fell short of what a number of people had expected from the rising superstar. While he had $105,498 in earnings at this years WSOP, Mercier failed to win his second WSOP bracelet, and also failed to make a single final table.
With the WSOP in the rearview mirror, the race to the $1 million in earnings for 2010 continued as he went back across the Atlantic after the summer series to the European Poker Tour where Mercier finished 3rd at the €2,000 buy in 8-game Championship. He’d follow that up with an 11th place finish in the $9,700 WPT Championship at the 2010 World Poker Finals, but the $46,678 that he won placed him still short of that $1 million goal by the year’s end.
Mercier found a great spot to make up the difference he needed by gathering a huge chip stack at the North American Poker Tour stop in Los Angeles this November. When the final table began, Mercier found himself 3rd in chips of the 8 remaining players, and solidifying his spot in the 2010 Million Dollar club. He’d lost a giant flip for the chip lead, and exit the tournament in 7th place, booking $84,857 for his efforts, and vaulting Mercier over the $1 million mark for the third time in three years.
According to the Hendon Mob Database, there are currently 705 total players that have eclipsed the $1 million in career earnings mark in their poker careers. Since the Moneymaker boom in 2003, it seems like there are more names being added to this list every year as million earnings at the top poker tournaments around the globe are becoming more popular. But $1 million in earnings in your first 3 years of live poker play is a truly unique title that Mercier can lay claim to, and it begs the question, can he make it 4 in a row next year? And is there anyone who doubts that he can?