PokerUpdate.com contributor Robbie Strazynski caught up with PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier at the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas and talked about a wide variety of topics including the coolest part of being a PokerStars pro, mixed games, and which character on Friends’ he would be! Check it out for yourself!
And be sure to stick with PokerUpdate here and on Twitter @PokerUpdate to get all the updates at the 2016 PCA!
Hey everybody, we’re here at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) 2016. I’m Robbie Strazynski for PokerUpdate.com and we’re here with Jason Mercier. Love the shorts, sir. You’ve got the neon shorts. Looks like you’re all ready to play some basketball later today.
I am, but actually the basketball tournament is not till tomorrow.
Oh really? I see – postponed. Well, by the time this airs maybe we’ll get there. I’ll ask you a little basketball question after as well.
Thank you so much for taking the time. I’m sure all our fans are thrilled to see you here on camera. I really appreciate it.
Sure, no problem!
Okay, so you’re a PokerStars Pro. What is the coolest part about being a PokerStars Pro?
I guess the coolest part would be being on the same team with so many of the top professionals. Being able to be on the same team with Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree, Elky, Andre Akkari and all those top players makes it really cool experience. Also, you know, it’s awesome that you’re looked up to by the whole community.
That’s true and that’s also a tremendous responsibility you carry on your shoulders, and when you agree to do interviews with site like ours, we really appreciate it. That’s what being an ambassador is all about.
Your breakout live tournament, as everyone knows, happened at EPT San Remo, and you have had enormous success since then. I’m sure nothing makes you nervous anymore, but when you were going to that first final table, making a name for yourself, your breakout tournament, were you nervous at all?
Yeah, I was definitely nervous. I was second in chips with eight left, and I was looking at the prize pool and it was maybe $100,000 for 8th and 1st was $1.4 million.
Well, $1.4 million which was around €870,000. I was kind of just like, don’t mess this up. I could just blind into 5th place. So I was like, I’ll make sure to play tight in the beginning and hope for a few people to get knocked out and then start playing.
Now it’s totally different, right?
Yeah, for sure. Now I’ve played so many final tables, so many heads up matches for titles, and the more you play and the more experience you get, you’re just used to the money.
It becomes more about the psychological game I guess?
Well, I mean you’re still making sure you don’t mess things up, right?
Right, because it’s still money.
It’s still money and you don’t want to mess up your ICM, but the more you play and the more experience you have, the more comfortable you’re going to be making decisions and the nerves pretty much go away.
You talk about “the more you play” and there are around 100 events going on here at the PCA, and you talk about making decisions, so how do you decide which events you’re going to play? You’re not signing up for the $100 + $20 event, right?
Sure. There’s over 100 tournaments here so I pretty much looked at the schedule and decided I was going to play the $100k, the $50k, the $25k and the main event, and then if I end up playing anything else it’s most likely going to be some $5k turbo event, or $10k turbo or something like that – something that I know won’t take up too much of my time.
Alright! Well, unlike some of the other pros, I’ve also seen you at the cash game tables.
Yeah, I had a little extra time because I got knocked out of the $100k very early on Day 2 so then I played cash for a while, and then I even played cash on Day 1A of the Main Event. I really just enjoy playing mixed game cash so it was nice to see that there was a game going and I was able to play for a little while. It’s always good practice.
A lot of our audience here at PokerUpdate are weekend warriors, and of course they’re perhaps products of the Moneymaker Boom – like myself – but what they play is Hold’em and sometimes they’ll venture into Omaha or something. You’re saying you like mixed games, so when a recreational player wants to branch out, first of all, why should they? Why shouldn’t they stick to the Cadillac of Poker? Then, how do you go ahead and branch out and learn more games?
I would say that a good reason to branch out would be if you’re tired of just playing Hold’em. I definitely started to learn new games because Hold’em became kind of systematized and I was following the same sort of strategy and not really deviating.
Not too much spice in the game.
Exactly! So I started playing PLO then I started playing Stud games and what not. I would just recommend that if you’re bored with hold’em, try PLO.
If you’re winning all the money in Hold’em, right?
Exactly. If you’re scooping all the money, try to win the money at something else.
That sounds like a good idea. Okay, besides playing the high stakes cash games, besides playing the $100k and the $50k, we are in Paradise Island, in the Bahamas – what does Jason Mercier do for fun?
I’m trying to do a little bit of activities. My girlfriend wants to do a bunch of stuff over here, so I’m trying to do that too.
Natasha Barbour, right?
Yeah. So, we went on the lazy river one day, and I promised I’d take her on the slides.
So much fun!
And also, we have the basketball tournament tomorrow. It should be pretty fun.
I think you have hosting duties at this basketball tournament. You’re not doing announcements like Marv Albert back in the day, right?
No, of course not.
So, what exactly is a basketball host?
I’m basically going to be organizing it alongside Garry Gates who works for PokerStars. We’re going to make sure it’s organized, make sure everybody’s there, and explain the rules. I’m going to be playing as well.
Who are your teammates?
It’s a random draw, which was my idea. I just didn’t want people to be discouraged from playing if they’re worried that they’re not very good. So it’s a random draw, and if you get two of the best players on your team, you might have a good chance to win.
Okay, so what you guys don’t know and what Jason doesn’t even know, is that I’m on his team. We’re guaranteed to win. Two basketball superstars.
We’re going to go off script. Who needs a script? We’re going to ask you to pick a question from the hat, Jason. Let’s see. Good luck and why don’t you read it to our audience here?
Okay. “If you were any character on ‘Friends’ who would you be?” I guess I would probably be Joey.
Okay! Why Joey? I guess because Joey doesn’t share food, right?
No, not because of that! I don’t know. I guess just because I don’t really like the other two guys too much.
Oh, I see! Sorry Chandler!
And I’m not going to pick a girl. Joey is kind of a ladies’ man – not that I am – but it is what it is.
Right! I get you! You heard it here first at PokerUpdate.com. Again, we’re here at the PCA 2016. Jason Mercier you have been a pleasure to speak with. Thank you very much for your time, we really appreciate it sir.