Coming off arguably the most successful summer poker run of 2016, the soon-to-be-30 Canadian made his debut appearance on chicagojoey’s Podcast and was able to attract more than 1,500 combined Twitch and YouTube live viewers within the first five minutes of the cast.
Mercier, whose passion for poker pulled him away from a Varsity high school basketball coaching job at the age of 21, was instrumental in generating an enormous amount of buzz leading into this year’s World Series of Poker thanks to a $1.8 million triple-bracelet prop bet he made with fellow Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst in January at the PCA Bahamas (see TIMESTAMPS & QUOTES section below).
But as high stakes poker community members prepared to compete and support their favorite players in the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl before heading over to the Rio, the former EPT Sanremo champion’s summer grind took an unexpected turn. In a matter of hours, the prop bets became even more meaningful to not only Mercier, but poker fans worldwide as they followed along with one of the most memorable WSOP performances of all-time.
On May 20th, Upswing Poker featured pro Doug Polk began his live Twitch Poker Stream unaware that he was walking into a major news story that spread like wildfire once 7,000 live viewers began hitting up Mercier for a response.
The events that happened next are best explained by Polk and Mercier, both of whom went on-camera with PokerNews star reporter Sarah Herring during Day 1 of the SHRB.
Joey Ingram Bridges Communication Gap
Jason Mercier continued a tradition established by previous guests on Papi’s live program — going all-in on a wide range of issues and giving the community what it craves. The recently-engaged $17.4 million live poker tournament winner stayed on-air for as long as it took to provide viewers with genuine insight on nearly 30 current events.
And the most contentious of those topics directly relates to legitimate heat between two of the most highly-regarded pros in poker today. Doug Polk and Jason Mercier not only disagree on who currently resides atop the game’s skill-based hierarchy, they insist on guiding their respective fan bases (which cross-over and are among the most informed in the industry) through their unique versions of what’s really going on in poker.
With both sides fully fleshed out as accurately as possible in front of Joey’s live Twitch/YouTube audiences, the poker community now has the full story in-hand.
Two of the game’s premier pros find themselves locked into an unforeseen competition that shows every sign of culminating in an epic HU4ROLZ matchup not witnessed for quite some time in online poker.
Large sums of money could be on the line. Some prop bet action details have been made readily available on social media. Cred-based receipts are a priority. Round 1 went to Jason Mercier… and poker fans across the globe are suddenly hooked!
It’s a real, fundamental difference in opinion between established pros that forum crowds and media outlets can sink their teeth into with the confidence that neither marquee figure is going to back down; nor whine about the outcome… nor seek out excuses when things aren’t going their way.
Don’t believe me? Ask Jason Mercier whether he folded up the tent after underwhelmingly “bricking” his first five WSOP events at the turn of June. Or whether he doesn’t back up his love for the game by bringing his loved ones fully into the mix to help promote poker.
And Doug Polk? Well… look no farther than last week’s 19-hour marathon stream if you want to really see how true his dedication to poker is. The Upswing Poker featured pro informed his Twitch live viewers recently that he will be traveling to Vancouver to compete in next month’s WCOOP on the world’s largest poker site.
Or how his Online Poker Bankroll Challenge has managed to drum-up a significant amount of organic hype and interest around WSOP.com Nevada, regulated online poker, and other TwoPlusTwo community-driven conversation pieces featured on his weekly Polker News segment.
This story is told by two leading protagonists who have earned their status as authoritative personalities in poker. And it just might make everything from railing a PokerStars WCOOP lobby to making a first-time online poker deposit cool again!
Fierce competition? Yes.
Real, live drama? You betcha.
Bragging rights at stake too? Absolutely!
But personal angst? Fortunately there is none. Both Polk and Mercier have made this much clear while arguing their respective points of view.
Jason Mercier Poker Life Podcast (TIMESTAMPS & QUOTES)
Poker Life Podcast (Jason Mercier) August 8, 2016
YouTube Ratings: 19,035 Views / 176 Likes, 13 Dislikes
(2:35) Jason Mercier’s profitable summer & motivational prop bets
“After I made the bet with Vanessa, which was in January at the Bahamas, I decided it would be kind of dumb to just have this one bet because if I end up not winning one [WSOP bracelet] halfway through, I may just be like, ‘Screw it. I’m just going to play cash,’ or whatever and be like, ‘This bet’s gone.’
I decided I was going to try to get a bunch of bets for winning one or maybe two. So there was a four-month period before the WSOP started where I was fishing around, throwing out feeler bets here and there and I ended up getting a couple [not huge] bets on winning two bracelets where I got like 19:1 and 18:1 on winning two.
Then right before the summer I still didn’t have any bets on winning one. I posted I wanted to get 3:1 on winning one and also that I would take myself against anybody. I would lay a small price, 1.05 or 1.1 or whatever depending on who you took. If you wanted to take like joe-schmo I would probably lay like 4:1 or something, but I was looking for any sort of extra action on myself.
So I ended up getting a decent amount of action right away on myself against Stephen Chidwick. A lot of his friends wanted to bet on him against me so we had some per-bracelet basically where you had to pay out a certain amount per-bracelet which ended up working out very nicely because I won TWO, he won ZERO.
And then throughout the Series I continued to make bets when I bricked the first five tournaments, I was posting on Twitter saying that I’ll take even worse odds. I was asking for 2.7-to-1 on winning one and even after I won the first one I made more bets on winning another one… which was kind of nice because I won the next one like right after. It was just making a lot of side bets, winning some, losing a few at the end but yeah, it worked out nicely.”
(6:00) How prop bets help Jason maintain focus
(8:00) Did prop bet affect Jason’s play when seeking third 2016 bracelet?
(12:20) Jason Mercier or Fedor Holz — who had better summer?
(14:05) Jason’s $1.8m prop bet with Vanessa Selbst
“It was definitely an interesting situation. A lot of it had to do with Dzmitry Urbanovich and her booking the bet against him a couple of days before [she made the bet with me]. I just didn’t really feel like she cared that much about getting out of the bet. She was defending that it was still a good bet for her? Which I was like, ‘Okay well if it’s a good bet then let’s run it.’ So that’s kind of why I just left it as-is and we didn’t really talk about it at all after than until the World Series started and I won the first one. Then things kind of got out of whack.”
(16:00) “There is definitely some circumstances where I would let people out of bets. Especially if it’s something like I thought it was very neutral one way or the other, or if the person’s a very good friend and this could be life-changing for them. But in this circumstance, Vanessa was very specific that if I was even to get close, she would just hedge it out.
She told me from the beginning what her plan was in the bet, so I didn’t really feel like she was ever really going to be on the hook for $1.8 million. And also, it’s kind of like, I’m basically going to lose this money most of the time. I’ve played the WSOP 8 times before this year. I had never won more than one bracelet… so I didn’t really think was going to come to anything besides the free $10,000 I was sort of giving away.”
(18:40) David Hill’s poker writeup on Bill Simmons’ The Ringer
(21:30) Jason Mercier ESPN interview with Dan Le Batard & Stugotz
(25:30) Annie Duke, the “Poker Pro”
(30:40) The Poker Dream, Risk of Addiction/Degen Tendencies
(32:40) Poker versus social games with micro-transaction model
(36:52) Doug Polk “Bad Reg” Comments — Jason’s reaction
(37:40) “First of all I have to thank him because like, he just lit a fire under me and I decided I was going to make a few million this summer. So thank you, Doug.
Besides that, I don’t know if he actually believes that I’m not that good or whatever it is. I felt like when he actually did it, it was some sort of ploy or marketing thing where he’s just trying to get more viewers, trying to see if he could start something with me… whatever. And I fell for it, took the bait, and it’s just one of those things that… it’s kind of comical to even think about.
(laughs) It’s like a guy that specializes in one type of poker or whatever. He’s good at like Heads-Up No Limit, right? So calling me a ‘Bad Reg’ where I like dominate basically every form of poker? So it’s just comical to think about.” (38:53)
(39:31) “I guess like No Limit online tournaments… like the high stakes SCOOP and WCOOP? I guess he just doesn’t view me as one of the best players in those fields. Or maybe even like thinks I’m a losing player which, you know it’s definitely possible for someone to think that (laughs)? But it’s just one of those things. Those fields are obviously very tough and it would be hard to even like… you can’t… there’s not that many of them as well. So it’s like you can’t really even tell who’s winning or losing based on like… theoretical whatever and ROI and all that crap, you know?” (40:16)
(41:00) How shit-talking helps poker players get motivated
(41:25) “It was definitely… I guess it was like I just felt a little disrespected. It’s one thing for somebody to be like, ‘Yo, this kid’s not that good’ or whatever like to another person or to kind of like say, ‘This person didn’t play this hand that well,’ but to sort of like publicly be like, ‘Yeah, this kid’s not that good?’ I just hadn’t really I guess had that happen yet? From like someone who’s supposed to be, you know one of the… a good player or whatever. So I took it a little personally for sure and I don’t know if he actually believes it or not. Or was just doing it for his poker site or whatever. I won’t even name it, but you guys know what site it is, so… (laughs)” (42:16)
(42:37) “I don’t really have any problem with Doug. I mean… we used to talk on AIM like in 2007 when I was going for Supernova Elite. I’ve known him for a long time. We didn’t meet personally until years later but yeah… I always thought we were like… cool? So I guess I just took it a little personally when he was like, ‘Yeah, this kid’s not that good.’ I was like… (aggressively moves head towards camera and makes pumped up? sound) (43:02)… kill this guy.”
(43:00) Doug Polk & Jason Mercier seated together at 2016 Super High Roller Bowl
(43:18) “Yeah I saw the table draw and was like, ‘Come on man. Did they do this on purpose? This is ridiculous.’ It was whatever… like playing next to him, it was kind of weird because I actually had a cross-book against him. Not against him directly but his buddy Jason Mo or whatever booked 5% on Doug against me. So I was like, ‘Okay, he’s on my left. Let’s make sure that I don’t get stacked by him because that’s going to be equally like… or doubly-bad for me, or tilting.’
And we had like a fairly tough table but Day 1 went very well (laughs)? I’m not sure if Doug busted at the end of Day 1 or if I got moved off of his table or what happened but I know I ended up bagging a bunch of chips and he was either out or short or something. And I was like, ‘Alright, Round 1? Me.” (44:24)
(45:20) Jason’s online poker career before fame (2007)
(53:50) Jason discusses Mixed poker games
(59:20) Options, planning for wedding, etc.
(1:03:35) Proposal to Natasha Barbour at WSOP
(1:10:20) Poker relationships
(1:13:00) Jason’s future. How does he stay motivated for upcoming EPT/WCOOP?
(1:16:00) Will Jason take more of his own action now?
(1:20:30) Jason is content living in Canada
(1:22:00) Jason vs Gus Hansen at end of WSOP. Gus Hansen = Action
(1:24:50) 2016 One Drop Extravaganza
(1:27:05) Jason Mercier Basketball
(1:28:40) Jason’s dog Marshmallow is a champion.
(1:30:45) The trappings of fame
(1:32:40) Has Jason ever been cheated at gambling? How to avoid.
(1:35:15) David Viffer stories?
(1:35:35) Jungleman stories. Jason saw Cates throw cards in Dzmitry’s face
(1:35:35) “Oohhh! Jungleman. I did see Jungleman this year throw cards at Dzmitry Urbanovich’s face in a cash game. And Dzmitry is like one of the quiet, nice, calm kid. I mean… I think he rolled over like the nut…
We were playing Limit Omaha in Australia. Well we were playing a Mix, but the game was Limit Omaha. And I think Dzmitry flopped the nuts, the nut straight, and then like held in some huge pot where he was like — Check-raise Jungleman… I think he flopped the Wheel. Like, Ace-Deuce-Five or something and Jungleman obviously had a set of Aces.
(laughs) And Dzmitry like completes the betting. Bet-Call and he’s like nuts, rolls it over and Jungleman WHIPS the cards at his face. And I was just like, ‘WHAT are you doing, bro? Like if you ever did that to me I promise you I’ll punch you right in the face. Like IMMEDIATELY.’ You know? Do not ever think about doing that to me and WHY are you doing that to Dzmitry? Like he didn’t DO anything to you! You know?” (1:36:51)
(1:37:06) “It’s just crazy. He does those things but he like… it’s like very strange because he doesn’t really tilt. Like he tilts from the standpoint of like going mentally crazy, but he doesn’t tilt from like… it doesn’t affect his play. He just keeps playing like exactly the same even though he’s like ready to kill somebody.” (1:37:26)
(1:37:37) “It’s actually impressive because if I punched myself in the face? I feel like I wouldn’t be able to play the same, you know?.” (1:37:45)
(1:39:00) What people inspire Jason Mercier?
(1:39:30) Michael Phelps = Beast — 2016 Summer Olympics
(1:41:00) Podcasts, Who does Jason think Joey should invite?
(1:42:50) Jason might go sweat the November 9 because he has sweat.
(1:43:15) Jason and Natasha will wed just before Thanksgiving 2016
Follow Jason Mercier
Poker Central: Jason Mercier Pokerography
Team PokerStars: Jason Mercier Profile
Global Poker League: Jason Mercier Profile (New York Rounders)
The Hendon Mob: Jason Mercier Live Poker Tournament Results
PocketFives: Jason Mercier Online Poker Tournament Results