2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
$25,500 High Roller
Prize Pool: $2,900,000
April 4-5, 2017
Jason Mercier has one of the most impressive poker resumes in the world and doesn’t have much left to prove on the felt. Except to his wife, Natasha, who is a Seminole Hard Rock Tampa team member.
On the way to register for the $25,500 high roller no limit hold’em, Natasha was possibly doubting Jason’s ability in no limit hold’em compared to her own. Jason put any doubts to rest, though. He defeated arguably the toughest field of the series and bested a 116-entry field to win $794,600 in the $25,500 high roller event.
“Well, I was driving over here yesterday and Natasha was going to drop me off and I was going to register this tournament,” said Mercier. “She told me on the way ‘You know, you haven’t really won anything in a while in no limit hold’em. Maybe you should start listening to me on how to play hands because I think I’m more profitable than you are.’
“And I said some very mean things and I took it as motivation to win this tournament. I told her that I won this tournament like 18 months ago, but she said ‘Yeah, that was a really long time ago.’ I probably have dusted off a lot since then. So, it’s nice to get a win.”
With the win, Mercier got to add another Hard Rock trophy to a resume that already includes 5 WSOP bracelets, a WPT Alpha8 title, an EPT title, an EPT high roller title, over $18 million in live tournament earnings and several million more online.
It’s no surprise that he came out on top of the field, but this wasn’t an easy field for Mercier to navigate through. Mercier defeated Justin Bonomo heads-up and had to go through what could only be considered a murderer’s row of final table lineups that included SHRP team member Loni Harwood, WSOP bracelet winners Anthony Spinella and Bryn Kenney, along with top pros Olivier Busquet, Ari Engel, and Sam Soverel.
“The field was pretty tough,” said Mercier. “I mean, it was a lot tougher than last year, even though it was a bigger field. The final table was nine pros basically.”
The nearly seven-figure score comes on the heels of a big personal announcement for Mercier. Natasha is pregnant and they will have a baby boy later this year.
The coming months will dictate how much Mercier is able to travel to poker tournaments. He hasn’t spent much time away from his wife since they met and he likely won’t want to spend much time away from his son either.
“I have to do a few tester trips,” said Mercier. “I’m probably going to go Barcelona. I mean, I might go to Barcelona while she is like seven months pregnant. We’ll see how that trip goes. We haven’t really spent more than two to three days away from each other since we started hanging out two and a half years ago.
“It’s really going to depend on how those trips go and whether we can travel with the baby. That’s what life is about, making adjustments.”
Before the baby comes, Mercier is really going to buckle down and work hard in immediate future. With a busy scheduled ahead of him in the next few months, he’s going to try and secure a couple big scores before he becomes a father.
“I got a pretty intense schedule coming up,” said Mercier. “With playing Monte Carlo, SCOOP, and WSOP, along with the $300K before the WSOP. I’m really going to hard at it for the next three months and hopefully make a lot of money. And then, hopefully just relax and wait for my baby boy to come.”
When the tournament was three-handed, Mercier was involved in a pot worth a lot of equity. It sent Loni Harwood home in third place and gave him the chip lead heading into heads-up play with Bonomo.
Mercier was all in with pocket tens against Bonomo’s pocket queens and Harwood’s king-jack. Bonomo had both players covered and Harwood was the short stack. The turn brought a king, which would send Mercier home, and give Harwood a triple up.
The river was a ten, however, which gave Mercier a set, and more than a double up of his own.
“I was just rooting for no king,” said Mercier. “If there was no king, I just get second for like 500 and something thousand. If a king hits, then I basically lose $200K. I was basically focused on fading a king and when the king came on the turn, I was just like ‘Ugghh. I just lost the Sunday Million.’ So when the ten came on the river, I was just like double shocked.
“That was really nice. The king cost me $200K and the ten basically won me $400,000. It was a nice little three-out, two-out.”
Mercier took the pot, the chip lead and eventually the trophy.
1st: Jason Mercier – $794,600
2nd: Justin Bonomo – $556,800
3rd: Loni Harwood – $348,000
4th: Anthony Spinella – $240,700
5th: Olivier Busquet – $153,700
6th: Sam Soverel – $113,100
7th: Bryn Kenney – $92,800
8th: Ari Engel – $78,300
9th: Jeff Gross – $75,400
10th: Jake Schindler – $72,500
11th: Richard Tuhrim – $69,600
12th: Jonathan Little – $66,700
13th: Robert Heidorn – $63,800
14th: Sean Winter – $60,900
15th: Erik Seidel – $58,000
16th: Grayson Ramage – $55,100