Finishing strong

Fall is here already, and it's a busy time again for me now that poker is back in full swing. I'm looking at the calendar these days, and thinking a lot about finishing the year strong.

EPT Barcelona was a good trip for me, where I managed to get second in the €10,300 High Roller. That turned out to be a huge event. In fact it was the biggest High Roller ever by far on the EPT, with 393 total entries and 295 unique entrants. That made the prize pool enormous -- first place was €747,200 which is almost $1 million USD -- and it was a pretty nice score for me finishing second (€473,500).

I got pretty lucky a bunch of times, particularly towards the end of the tournament. Afterwards people were asking me about how I felt finishing second, and I had to say I was extremely glad given the way things went and some of the breaks I had to get to earn that finish.

At one point during the final table when we were coming back from the dinner break there were seven players left and I was the shortest stack with just seven big blinds. So to survive that and get all of the way to second was incredibly fortunate and I was very happy with it.

At three-handed we were pretty close, but then Ihar Soika (the eventual winner) knocked out the other guy, Ismail Erkenov, in third, giving him about a 3-to-1 chip lead on me to start heads-up. We played maybe 10 hands of heads-up and then got it all in with pocket sixes against his ace-nine, and he flopped an ace and that was it.

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If I'd won that coin flip we would have been close to even, and then I could have had a better chance at winning the title. But even so, I was still pleased to have gotten that far.

It's funny how poker works. If I had played really well and gotten unlucky in a big hand at the end, I might have been upset to come up short. But as it was I got lucky a bunch of times to survive and felt good just to still be in throughout a lot of the tournament.

From there I went back to Florida, then I spent the last week of the WCOOP at a resort in the Dominican Republic, which was somewhere I'd never been before. I was pumped to play online -- something I hadn't really done since SCOOP -- and it was fun to visit a new place, too.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, I'll be splitting my time between Florida and other poker trips. I'm very much looking forward to the next couple of EPTs in London and Prague. I'll be playing tournaments in Jacksonville and possibly St. Kitts, too, and then in Las Vegas, so there's a lot left on the schedule for these last months of 2014.

I've had some good results this year, but I haven't had a win yet. I got close in the High Roller and was involved in some chops in some big tournaments -- a $100K at the Bellagio and the $25K at the Aussie Millions earlier in the year -- but I'm still looking for a win this year.

I'm also keeping my eye on the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race and know that if I can collect some good results I have a shot at winning that. There's also the BLUFF Player of the Year to shoot for, so there's a lot motivating me during these last few months.

You always want to do your best and run well at the end of a poker tournament, kind of like I did for the most part in the EPT Barcelona High Roller. Now I want to finish strong here at the end of the year, too.


Jason Mercier is a member of Team PokerStars Pro
Jason Mercier
@PokerStars in Jason Mercier