If ever there was a player for whom the comeback trail was built, it might be Jason Mercier. Famously taking a step back from the live poker scene some years ago, Mercier’s role as husband and father has to a large extent taken over his life as the poker legend, now 36, has pulled back from so many professional appearances in preference of enjoying a simple family life.
That all changed this week as Mercier got back to the tournament tables in a very special series of events – the PokerGO Mixed Games Series. With over 125 unique entrants and a $25,000 top prize for whoever topped the leaderboard, even Mercier couldn’t resist taking part.
A Transformation in Time
Speak to anyone in poker, from fans to players, organizers to sponsors, everyone misses Jason Mercier. They all wanted him back the whole time he was away, and not just because of his skills at the felt. Mercier is a personality that has never been replaced since he stepped back from the front line he so ably inhabited as part of the PokerStars Team Pro roster.
Always front and center in tournaments no matter what the game, Mercier was often the life and soul off the felt too, from organizing basketball games, attending every players party and entertaining while playing at the poker table too. Then, he became a father. In his own words, it was revelatory and had a profound effect on his life.
“My life was changed forever that day, and for the better,” Mercier once wrote. “Becoming a parent brings about a complete transformation of who you are. I no longer let myself be so concerned with what I want, but more so the wellbeing of my wife and my child (and future children). Serving and leading my family is of utmost importance.”
A Christian with Heavenly Poker Abilities
Jason Mercier’s returning victory in the PGT Mixed Games Event #7, the $25,500-entry 10-Game Championship was a surprise to some fans, who might have assumed that Mercier’s charming devotion to his family could have left him rusty when it came to poker. Not a bit of it.
Finally won a poker tourney… https://t.co/IrxrYUlR74
— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) February 13, 2023
Winning for $367,500 after a heads-up deal with Daniel Zack, who himself confirmed his overall leaderboard win with his runner-up result, Mercier’s victory doesn’t contradict his ‘Road to Damascus’ moment in withdrawing from the everyday lifestyle of a sponsored poker player. Rather, it enhances his ability to come back from the promised land of familial bliss.
Should we be surprised by Mercier’s ability to do so?
Jason Mercier is not just a poker player of huge repute and vast experience, someone who would only need to polish up some previously razor-sharp skills. He’s a man of God, a Christian who lists his roles in life as his Twitter biography in the following order: Husband, Father, Uncle, Brother, Son. Then, on a separate line, he adds, ‘Professional Gambler’, before mentioning a verse in Philippians in the New Testament of The Bible.
“I can do all things through Christ which [strengthen] me.”
If Mercier is back for good, and there is no reason to suspect that he isn’t, then he’ll doubtless be coming back to poker with the backing of his family and the peace and calm that his faith provides him.
Supporting Mrs Mercier
Mercier’s return to the poker felt is not the first major result from the family that have reached the headlines. While Jason may not have won a ranking event for three and a half years while stepping out of the limelight, his wife Natasha – who has cashed for over $1.2 million in her own poker career – has cashed seven times in the past nine months, including twice already in 2023.
Jason has been a faithful supporter of his wife’s efforts, saying last year during Natasha’s run in the Main Event: “It’s your first Main Event as a mommy! Five years of non-stop sacrifice for our family… you deserve this! Take it down my love! Also, you blessed me with three amazing boys. I got them, [you] get the chips.”
Back in 2016, Jason chose the moment after his then-girlfriend Natasha finished third in a WSOP event to get down on one knee and propose marriage, which Natasha gleefully accepted.
— Donnie Peters 🍕 (@Donnie_Peters) July 8, 2016
This ‘resurrection’ of Jason Mercier’s title-winning ways at the poker felt may feel like it has been a long time coming. Fans who thought his departure from PokerStars meant an end to winning ways need not fear, however. You cannot keep a good – and faithful – man down for long, so they say, and Jason Mercier is one of the best of them.
This latest victory may have been 40 months rather than 40 days in coming, but it is obvious that the five-time WSOP bracelet winner has lost none of his ability to walk on water in the world of high-stakes poker.