At just 21 years old, Jason Mercier burst onto the poker scene in 2008 by winning the European Poker Tour Sanremo Main Event for nearly $1,400,000. In half a decade since then, he has continued his success and built himself into a one of poker’s elite, gaining the respect and notoriety of fans and peers alike while building a poker résumé that rivals those with careers spanning their entire lives.
At just the age of 26, Jason has already earned nearly $10 million in live tournament earnings, two World Series of Poker gold bracelets, two World Championship of Online Poker titles, the number one ranking on the Global Poker Index, and numerous other accolades. He has appeared on all of poker’s top television shows, including the WSOP on ESPN, the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, High Stakes Poker, and the PokerStars Big Game. In 2009, Jason earned BLUFF Magazine Player of the Year, and he is a member of Team PokerStars Pro.
THE FLORIDA KID
On November 12, 1986, Jason was born in Port Charlotte, Florida as the youngest of four children. When Jason was six, his family relocated to Florida’s East Coast, and that is where he now calls home.
“My parents have always been extremely supportive of what I do, and it’s one of the reasons I was able to pursue my goal of being one of the top professional poker players in the world,” said Jason. “I credit my mom with my character and my dad with my competitive nature and drive. Both have been such an intricate part in my growing up and molding myself into who I am today, and I can’t thank them enough for everything.”
Like many young boys, Jason fell into sports and began playing at a young age. From about six years old, Jason was regularly active in a few sports, mainly basketball, baseball, and soccer. Following in the footsteps of his three older siblings — two brothers, Josh and Jared and one sister, Sherah — Jason always looked to them for motivation to get better. Call it your standard sibling rivalry if you will, but as the youngest, Jason wanted to be the best athlete in the family.
Jason attended Florida Atlantic University for one year on a full academic scholarship. While at FAU, Jason was engulfed by poker, playing more and more after being introduced to the online version of the game from a friend. After one year at FAU, Jason switched to Broward Community College, which he attended for two years.
BECOMING THE PLAYER
Earning Supernova Elite on PokerStars quickly became a top goal of Jason’s. While still attending college in 2007 and coaching basketball on the side, he was playing up to 45-50 hours of 12 or more tables each week.
“After three years of college, I realized that I was going to make a good living playing poker and decided not to go to university again,” said Jason in an interview. It was after the spring semester of his third year of school that he decided to pursue poker full time. By the end of 2007, of which he had continued to play poker full time, Jason became the 16th player in history to achieve Supernova Elite status. Little did he know just how much achieving this goal would really do for his career.
By achieving Supernova Elite status, Jason earned packages to attend two live events run by PokerStars. The first package was to the 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January, and the second was to the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo later on in May. By heading to the PCA, Jason took it as a great experience and caught the itch to play in more live events. It was that itch that led him to attempting to qualify for EPT Sanremo, which he was able to win a seat to. The rest, as they say, is history.
EXPLOSION OF A STAR
Jason took his shot in Sanremo along with 700 other hopefuls vying for the right to become the next champion on the EPT. When it was all said and done, the last player standing was Jason, a young kid from Southern Florida who had recently quit school to take up poker full time. For his victory, Jason earned a whopping €869,000 ($1,372,893), but little did anyone know that this was just the tip of the iceberg for his poker success.
Following his Sanremo triumph, Jason traveled to the WSOP in Las Vegas, cashing three times and earning five figures in each. Those scores paled in comparison, though, to what was to come in September and October later that year.
First in September, Jason nearly got his hands on a second EPT title by final tabling EPT Barcelona. In the end, he finished sixth for €227,800 ($324,946). After that, he added his first WSOP final table in Europe, but the second truly big bang of the year came in October at EPT London. There Jason won the £20,000 High Roller for £516,000 ($944,847), skyrocketing his 2008 earnings to a whopping $2,752,423. Just like that, he went from unknown qualifier turned EPT champion into poker superstar.
From there, Jason kept excelling, and he didn’t seem to let off the gas pedal when it came to success. In 2009, he won his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet. Jason took down poker’s most coveted prize in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event that summer for $237,462, which led to another poker accomplishment as Jason inked inked a deal with PokerStars to become a member of Team PokerStars Pro. He’s been happily donning the red spade patch ever since, and he wasn’t done there, either.
Later that same year, in September, Jason placed fourth in the WSOP Europe Main Event for £267,267 ($440,620). He then won a £2,500 side event at EPT London for £115,800 ($184,348). Several more cashes rolled in before Jason then closed out the year with a six-figure win for $100,280 in the $5,000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, proving he had merit in all the games.
In 2010 and 2011, Jason earned another $1,064,908 and $2,416,013, respectively, and four big accomplishments of his career came during these two years. The first was Jason’s victory at the $25,000 North American Poker Tour Bounty Shootout at Mohegan Sun where he earned $475,000. The following year, Jason repeated with a back-to-back victory in the same event — albeit with a $10,000 buy-in — to earn $246,600. Then in the summer of 2011, a second piece of WSOP hardware found its way to Jason’s trophy case by way of the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha — Six-Handed event at the WSOP. Claiming his second gold bracelet further elevated Jason’s status in the poker world and earned him an additional $619,575 in the process. To finish out the year, Jason once again closed strong with a big victory as he won the $100,000 Super High Roller event at the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $709,767.
MORE THAN JUST A PLAYER
Being able to accept the good with the bad in poker is something that comes with the territory of being a professional player, and Jason understands that. It’s one of the many reasons he’s been able to become a great ambassador for the game. To be a successful player and great ambassador, you have to overcome obstacles throughout your career. At times, poker can be unkind to a player, but it is Jason’s belief that you must always stay focused, confident, and play your best game.
Jason also strives to be a leader and trendsetter in the industry, always willing to help the advancement of the game. Whether it’s consulting with a tournament staff or venue to better an event, or taking time to provide advice to fans and fellow players, Jason understands that part of his duty is to look out for the good of the game and the growth of poker, and it’s something he enjoys.
NUMBER ONE IN THE WORLD
Due to his success over the few recent years, Jason has achieved the No. 1 poker ranking in the world, according to the Global Poker Index, poker’s most comprehensive ranking system. Since earning the top spot on the chart in June of 2011 when the ranking system debuted, Jason has never dropped below No. 9, an outstanding feat in itself. On May 13, 2013, Jason rose back into the No. 1 position and has maintained that role each week since. With nearly 50 consecutive weeks ranked No. 1, Jason has set a record that will be hard to top.
In total, Jason has been ranked No. 1 on the GPI over 80 weeks. To put that accomplishment into perspective, the first GPI ranking came out June 27, 2011, and Jason has been ranked No. 1 nearly 75 percent of the time.
STRIVING FOR GREATNESS
With so much success early on, it’s hard to imagine Jason has much more to achieve, but in all honesty, the sky is the limit and his career is still extremely young. Already in 2013, Jason has added nearly $2,000,000 in live tournament winnings, and it doesn’t look like he has any plans of slowing down.
“When people look back on my career, I want to be considered the best all-around player to ever play the game,” said Jason. “I recognize my career is still young and I have a long way to go, but I’m determined to put in the work to achieve my ultimate goal.”
Young, energetic, and motivated, Jason’s well on his way to reaching his goal and becoming the greatest poker in the game when his career is all said and done.