EPT10 Barcelona: Jason Mercier on Super High Rollers and slow Germans

Jason Mercier is a recognisable face on tour, albeit one which operates at polar extremities; hangdog indifference and infectious hilarity, and it's good to see the American back to winning ways.

A few years ago Mercier was the man that couldn't lose. He started with a €869,000 win at EPT Sanremo, cruised through High Rollers, NAPT Bounty shootouts and WSOP bracelets as he racked up millions of dollars in tournament winnings. Then things slowed up (comparatively) when he went almost 18 months without a tournament win, although he still scored $100,000's at the tables. That 'barren' spell ended at the EPT Grand Final last year when he took down the €2,000 Open-Face Chinese tournament for €48,000, then final tabled the Main Event for €137,000 and finished runner-up in the Super High Roller for €1,115,700. That was followed by six cashes at this year's WSOP helping Mercier to his third best year ever with $1,806,224 in cashes, behind $2,752,423 in 2008 and $2,416,013 in 2011. In all, Mercier is up to $9,918,181 and a cash here will click him over the $10m mark to join a who's who of the poker world and Jamie Gold.

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The laughing face of Jason Mercier...

So, with all that said and done, Mercier is obviously the person to ask about rebuy strategy in a Super High Roller (which you can apply to any re-entry tournament). He bought back in at the start of Day 2 in the €100,000 Super High Roller in Monte Carlo and that seemed to work out pretty well. Although, at time of writing, Mercier was short stacked in the Super High Roller here, he is almost freerolling with 16 players left. Last night after bagging up he told us in the press room that playing just one bullet (yeah, just one €50,000 bullet) felt like you're subsidised. I caught up with him today to explain.

"Well, you know, it's only about 20-25% of the field that usually rebuys in these events. Everyone comes in with the intention of rebuying but if you don't bust you don't have to rebuy. To be in for one bullet can feel like a win in of itself. Usually I come into these Super High Roller events with the intention of rebuying one time and if I bust on the second bullet and the rebuy option is still open then I might make a decision to piece together a third bullet," Mercier said at the break.

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...and the serious face

Given the alternative of being in for around €150,000 suddenly it's clear why a €50,000 exposure seems cheap. So in a notoriously tough field what makes you decide to pluck out another €50k fun token?

"It's the field and who's got chips. If there are a lot of businessmen that have a tonne of chips. There's been circumstances where I've been prepared for one bullet but because of the stacks that people had - I think this may have been in the Monte Carlo €100k - I waited until the next day and bought in at the beginning of Day 2," he explained.

Most of the professional players enter these big ticket events with various amounts of staking and swaps, but how does that work when you're potentially in for different amounts, as opposed to the classic freezeout?

"It's usually predetermined. If you sell action you'd sell at a rate for the first bullet and then a lower rate for the second, or the same rate for both. It's the same for a swap. You may work something out where you buy their action at a certain rate if they rebuy and you don't," said Mercier.

So, for example, if you were selling at 1.3 for the first bullet, then would it be 1.15 for the second?

"I wish I could sell at 1.3," chuckled Mercier. "Yeah, exactly. You could maybe sell at 1.1 for the first and 1.05 for the second. I prefer to do it ahead of time so that I don't have to talk to the people that have bought action."

If you're going to sell, sell early and sell clearly. And, if you can help it, keep yourself on one bullet.


Sarah Grant talks to Mercier during the Super High Roller

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is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in EPT Barcelona