PCA 2015: The Jason Mercier bust out/comeback post
Jason Mercier looked down at his cards and figured now was as good a time as any. He set out his chips in neat piles, making them look as plentiful as he could, but it amounted to only 129,000. Christophe Vogelsang thought for a while and called. He had Mercier dominated, his ace-three against Mercier's king-three. The American's tournament life was on the line.
But these all-in moments don't always tell the full story. The hand you bust out on never really touches on all the others that came before it, the ones that got you into this mess in the first place. And so this hand of Mercier's, which would ultimately be his last, came after 45 minutes of white knuckle stuff for the Team PokerStars Pro, and was a little more heroic than first impressions might suggest.
Busted like an hour ago or so. Sorry thought tweet went off. Fought hard but just couldn't get it done. #OnToTheNextOne Main event!— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) January 8, 2015
Some 45 minutes earlier Mercier had shoved with deuces for roughly 350,000. Justin Bonomo called and turned over king-queen, winning the hand. It wasn't clear who had who covered, but when the dealer had finished Bonomo appeared to have edged it by the narrowest of margins. Mercier was left with one chip. It was yellow, and worth only 1,000, or half an ante. Chrisophe Vogelsang let out a laugh. Mercier didn't.
The chip and a chair story of romantic fiction didn't really apply to Mercier here, for the chip was immediately stripped from him to cover half an ante. It left Mercier with just the chair. You couldn't help but think that it would have been more humane had he been put out of his misery there and then.
But there was another story planned for the American. He turned over king-ten. Fedor Holz who called, showed ace-jack. Nobody really flinched much when the king appeared on the turn, after all, the seven grand Mercier now had was hardly riches.
"The story begins," joked Bonomo.
"See if I can find a fold here," deadpanned Mercier, cheering up a little.
He was immediately all-in again. This time Holz bet only for Vogelsang to raise 35,000 more, forcing Holz to pass. Queen-eight for Mercier this time against Vogelsang's five-four. The flop missed everything, so too the turn and river. Mercier had doubled again.
"You had the winner?" Mercier asked Holz.
"Of course," he replied.
"Kind of hard not to," said Mercier, now up to a dizzying 29,000. Now he was showboating, folding the next hand.
Bryn Kenney would take him on next after Mercier shoved in the big blind. Actually he didn't shove, he just played his big blind with what he had left, showing king-six. Kenney showed a spirited five-three.
The flop missed. The turn missed. So did the river. Another double-up.
By now Mercier was up to 53,000, a full two and a half big blinds. Folding country.
But not for long. This time Bonomo called, with ace-eight to Mercier's queen-nine. He got his next double up when a queen hit the flop. Suddenly Mercier was up to 126,000. He even had a green chip.
"Never thought I'd see one of these again," he said, holding it up to the light to check the water mark, before using it to win the blinds on the next hand.
That would be the high point. There would be no fairy tale ending, no further comeback. Had he doubled through Vogelsang he would have been almost back to wear he'd started with the deuces against Bonomo. Instead, the German's ace matched the one on the flop, sending Mercier to the rail.
Vogelsang was grinning again. Mercier was not.
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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.