Despite being only 27 years-old, Jason Mercier has already amassed more than $10M in poker winnings, making him the game’s 20th highest paid player of all-time. With just under 86,000 followers on Twitter, it’s obvious that Mercier’s fans take great interest in what the poker phenom has to say, too. That’s why all of us at Flop Turn River appreciate Mercier taking time out of his busy schedule to answer questions from FlopTurnRiver.com’s forum users during his Ask Me Anything event on March 31st, 2014.
Responding to inquiries for more than an hour, Mercier shared some meaningful insights about poker strategy in Open Face Chinese Poker contests as well as POFC matches, including his admission that he mastered both poker variants through “good ol trial and error.” He also claimed that the secret to his continued success as a player is “volume, practice – always getting better, improving.”
Mercier’s responses to other queries were as funny as his answers about strategy were thoughtful. When asked what the dumbest thing he’d ever said to a woman was, the young star wrote, “Make sure you’re ready in 5 minutes.” Mercier shared some details about his personal life, too, stating that he plays basketball often, takes his boat out in the South Floridian waters regularly and, to the relief of all single ladies everywhere, is single.
Continue reading below to see how Mercier answered both the serious and whimsical questions that were put before him during his AMA. If you’re not already a fan of Mercier, you will be when you’re done!
In Pineapple Open Face Chinese Poker:
What are your thoughts on setting hands like AKQxx? Assume you’re 1st to act for simplicity.
Do you favor KQ up top with A in the mid?
Or Q up top with AK in the mid?
Or something else?
Do the other cards in the hand affect how you’d play the AK and Q?
If so: How?
I generally would go:
I’d need to not be acting first to change that set
1. Who do you like to win the Final Four?
2. What do you think about Senator Graham’s anti-poker bill (backed by Sheldon Adelson of course) that came out on March 26th?
3. What’s the worst thing you’ve said to someone at the poker table?
4. What’s one of the worst things you’ve spent part of your poker bankroll on?
5. What are the craziest things you’ve done right before, during or after poker sessions?
1. Florida, although I have Wisconsin winning it all in my pool… so I’ll be rooting for them!
2. Don’t know enough to comment
3. I can’t remember
4. My boat, it’s a money burner
5. Craziest? hmmm, I’m not too sure, craziest during would probably just involve never quitting despite how long I’m playing (45-50 hours) or how much I’m stuck (hundreds of thousands)
1. Where is your favorite place to play poker in the world?
2. What is the craziest prop bet that you have done?
3. What got you started in poker?
4. Would you rather win the WSOP Main Event or One Drop?
1. I don’t really have a favorite- wherever the next 100k is
2. Been involved with a lot of weird prop bets, can’t really put a finger on the craziest one- recently, was playing viktor blom at ping pong for 5k a game lol
3. Playing in high school with friends and realizing I was better than all of them so kept pursuing it
4. WSOP Main event for sure. More players, and more prestigious!
UTG in POFC, how do you play a hand with a 4-flush and a top-2 FL pair, such as K K 7 4 2 or A A 7 4 2 (assuming that QQ+ is the standard for getting to FL)?
That’s a really good question, in thinking about it, I’d probably split up the kings but not the aces
crazy, I know
What books, blogs, articles, etc. should we be reading to learn more about POFC strategy?
I don’t know of any reading material on POFC or any OFC strategy to be honest.
I learned through playing… good ol trial and error.
Do you prefer to play OFC or POFC? Why?
I prefer regular OFC, the swings are just so insane in POFC, and I also feel I have a bigger edge in regular
Which FL rules do you prefer for POFC (how many cards FL should get, how do you like them dealt, what hand to qualify, etc.)? Why? Do you think the rules should be standardized, or do you like that different people play different ways?
QQ+ up top to go to FL… FL gets 14 cards, in FL- u have to get trips up top, or quads + (middle or back) to stay in FL,
each player gets dealt 5 cards and then FL player gets dealt the next 9… if 2 players are in FL, you rotate 1-1-1-1-1-1-1… etc
I don’t mind that people play different ways, just needs to be hammered out before a game starts is all
In OFC and POFC games, do you adapt your strategy to the way your opponents are playing, or do you always play the same style?
Adapt, if a player is fouling nonstop, are you going to gamble a lot?
Do you prefer heads-up games in OFC and POFC or multi-way? Why?
I prefer multi way- heads up is a bit more grueling, with no breaks in the action… multi way is much more social, and fun IMO
In position in a 3-way POFC game, you see your opponents set
T T 8
You have A 7 7 5 5
How do you set? Why?
because u make a full house a lot in the back (6 pts) and have a great shot for FL still
How do you set hands with 2 small pairs in HU POFC UTG? Does the 5th card influence your set? Consider, for example:
K 6 6 4 4
J 6 6 4 4
6 6 4 4 2
Now imagine you have those same hands in position in a HU POFC game. How do you set after opponent shows:
T T 6
I’m generally putting the 2 pair in the back almost always.
I would probably play:
66J though vs those sets
You play on both European and American circuits. What are the differences and which do you prefer?
I prefer playing EPTs, because they are the biggest and best events. Playing in Europe, you get more of a melting pot of players, so many different countries represented which is kind of awesome. In the US tournaments, most players are from the US or Canada.
Either way, I like playing both
In pineapple ofc, when do you generally keep 2 pairs together in back and when do you split them?
Specific Pineapple OFC UTG Examples (assume all hands below have now more than 2 of a suit):
Do you set 2233Q as Q / 22 / 33?
Do you set 22JJQ as Q / X / 22JJ?
How do you set 2277Q?
Yea, this might contradict a previous reply, but
Thanks for doing this, Jason! I’m a huge fan of yours!!!
Are you involved with any charities? If so, what attracted you to them?
What do you want your legacy to be in poker and in life in general?
If you could handpick three people to have dinner with, living or dead, who would you choose and why? What would you want to discuss with those individuals?
If you could change something on a global level, what would it be?
I’m getting involved in doing some outreach work with my church- I’m attracted to that because I believe in the work
Legacy- hmmm, I want to be considered one of the best players to ever play the game, and in life- I want to make a positive impact on the world
three people- Jesus Christ, Christopher Columbus, and Lebron James- discuss anything and everything lol
I’d want to make sure there are no starving children
Which one of the Hollywood or sports celebrities that show up at the Main Event is the best player?
no clue- haven’t played against many of them
– Looking back at last years WSOP, do you still feel your bracelet bet was +EV for you? Are you planning on doing the same for future WSOPs?
– What’s your biggest degen story? Related to poker or not.
– I was playing $1-$2 NLHE at Bally’s in Vegas a few years back, and you rolled in with your crew. You guys got a new table going and sat down, making for a very fun/aggressive game. Do you do this with your friends for fun every so often? It is something you do to blow off steam?
– Who is the best tournament pro on the circuit atm?
I still think it was +ev, not sure that I’m going to do it this year or in future years
Skip degen question
I’ve done that a lot in the past with my friends, It’s usually just to have a great time
What’s the most you’ve won/lost in a single hand? What’s the most you’ve ever bet? What do you play other than poker at casinos?
In a single hand- about 220k or so
I was all in for 330k in a cash game- won the pot
I don’t play anything besides poker anymore
this is one of my favorite HSP hands. i think you made a sick play and ivey made a sick crying call. what was your thought process on this hand?
I thought Ivey didn’t have a set, which meant I had 7.5 outs if he called. with the money I had put in there already it was a pretty easy all in
How many ducks do you think it would take to win in a fight to the death against a horse?
What is the dumbest thing you have ever heard a woman say?
Do you think that OFC will ever overtake hold’em as the most popular game?
What are your most memorable prop bets?
I don’t know
I don’t see OFC overtaking holdem
most memorable prop bets involve me winning bracelets and collecting from lots of players
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard a man say? What’s the dumbest thing you’ve said to a woman?
It’s difficult to pinpoint the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say lol
dumbest thing I said to a woman- make sure you’re ready in 5 minutes
Jason, what’s your secret? You know, it’s safe with us, man.
Volume Practice- always getting better, improving
etc etc etc
Hi Jason …greetings from Portugal
– Are you able to get away from poker for 24 hours? If so, any hobbies or others activities that can place your mind away from poker ?
– The biggest rush you ever had after a win?
– Do you keep your World Series of Poker bracelets in a special place? Can we know where?
Cheers and all the best Jason
Yes, I play basketball a lot and take my boat out in South Florida
Biggest rush- the last 10 years of my life 😛
I keep the bracelets in my trophy case
1) Given the relative ease of making Queens up top in pineapple, what do you think of having the requirement being KK or better?
2) Along the same line, what do you think of having the FL rules be that Kings get you a 14 card FL, and Aces up top get you a 15 card FL? Or if people want to keep the minimum at QQ, then have QQ and KK get you 14, and AA get you 15? Staying would be 14 cards regardless.
The theory behind this is that the current system makes hands like 884AK have a no-thought-needed set (884 back, A middle, K top). By offering another card for AA up top, which is a huge addition to a FL hand, you at least need to consider playing the A up top b/c of the extra reward. More decisions, more spots where there isn’t a clear right play, and more strategic options available are always a good thing, no?
Note: mods, you can delete the theory paragraph if you want questions for JM to be short and without commentary.
1. You must be running good if you think it’s so easy
2. Against it, just makes FL more valuable and more complicated and more variance – too much
Are you in any way involved in the efforts to try to get online poker in the US legalized and regulated?
In one of your interviews you said that you lost about $2 million in less than six months in 2012. Did that shake your confidence in any way? Is so, for how long?
What are your thoughts on climate change?
Which NBA team do you route for?
What is the craziest investment offer you have ever received?
Not really involved
Yes, it did, until I started trending back upward which was shortly afterwards
I don’t understand the question
I get crazy investment offers all the time, but I usually don’t give them the time of day to find out which one is the craziest
Do you recall any make it or break it moments at the early stages of your career?
What was the worst bad beat of your career?
When are you going to buy a bigger boat?
What is your favorite TV show?
Yes, I had JJ against Roland de Wolfe’s QQ all in on T73 flop with 90 players left in EPT San Remo 2008, I hit a Jack on the river and then won the tournament for 1.4 mill
Running KK into Antonio’s AA when I was 3/19 and he was 2/19 in 2012 WSOP One Drop
When I win the WSOP Main Event
Hello Jason …great pleasure to have you here
Do you like mobile poker? Do you play on the move ?
Your favorite movie of all times?
Can you tell me your favorite poker player outside the US?
Please define yourself as a poker player in 3 words:
Much much much success for 2014
I don’t really play much “on the move”
Determined, hard-working, patient
THANKS very much!
1) What is the most ridiculous line you ever heard at a poker table?
2) Online poker has seen a steady decline since Black Friday, do you think this trend will continue or will it eventually reverse or simply even out and stabilize?
3) Did the final table pressure ever get to you to the point where you made a serious mistake because of it?
4) Are there any pro’s which you would consider yourself an underdog to in an even chip heads up situation at the end of major tournament?
5) Do you regret your 3 to 1 bracelet prop bet?
6) Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
1. I don’t know
2. I’m not sure, hopefully will reverse
3. I’ve made mistakes at final tables- but not because the pressure got to me
5. yes, because I lost
6. you know that 20 years ago there were no cell phones right? so hard to answer that question
Woooowwww… Mercier is in da house big fan..big fan…
Who was your biggest opponent at the poker table ?
What was the first big buy you executed with prize money from a tournament?
Where do you see yourself within 10 years?
biggest, like largest? I don’t want to call anyone out for being overweight
bought my parents a car after winning San Remo
I don’t know 10 years Is SOOOO long away
Thanks for doing the AMA, just a few questions:
– Whats the worst bad beats story you’ve got?
– Where is your favourite place to play live?
– What are your thoughts & predictions on the varying poker legislation that is popping up across the US?
running KK into Antonio’s AA when I was 3/19 and he was 2/19 in 2012 WSOP One Drop
I don’t have a favorite, wherever the biggest tournaments are
I don’t have any predictions, sorry
What are your thoughts on Obamacare? Gun control? Gay marriage? The existence of aliens? What about Bigfoot?
skip, skip, skip
aliens and bigfoot don’t exist brah
Are you single?
Did any of your friends or family members express concern when you decided to be a professional poker player? Do any of them disapprove of your career choice even though you’re so successful? What would you be doing if you weren’t playing poker for a living?
yes, there were a lot of concerns when I first dove into poker
everyone is on board now though
I’d probably be coaching sports and teaching math
What do you think happened to that missing plane?
It might have been hi-jacked, but then crashed into the ocean somewhere during a revolt.
just a guess…
are you interested in playing the next game of Werewolf at FTR?
I don’t know what that is lol sorry
Who do you predict will be the next president of the US?
I don’t know
What is the most annoying question on this list (excluding this one)?
despite the exclusion, it’s still this one
That’s all the time I have for today. Thanks guys for the questions! It was a lot of fun
Have a blessed week