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Isabelle Mercier quits Team PokerStars
After five years as a member of Team PokerStars Pro, the French-Canadian poker superstar said she is saying goodbye to one of the most lucrative sponsorship deals in the poker industry to "take on new projects."
Following a series of emails back and forth with PokerListings, Mercier sent out a press release claiming she "currently has extensive projects, both nationally and internationally, in the world of poker," and, "is not about to give up her life's passion."
No specific details regarding the projects were included.
However, after the French-language release of her autobiography Profession: Bluffer in 2008, Mercier did tell PokerListings she was seeking an English publisher and interested in selling the film rights.
A law school graduate from the University of Montréal, Mercier's first foray into the poker world was a night shift job at the Aviation Club de France where she quickly ascended to the position of poker room manager.
Eventually, Mercier sold everything she owned to bankroll herself as a professional player, stepping into the spotlight when she won the World Poker Tour Ladies Night II event in 2004.
Since then, Mercier has amassed more than $1 million in career live tournament earnings, most recently following up a final table appearance at last year's EPT London High Roller tournament with a win at the EPT Monte Carlo Ante Up for Africa event to benefit Darfur, where she donated the entire €250,000 first-place prize to the cause.
Her biggest online score is a third place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million this past July for $115k.
Mercier had lived out of a suitcase the past four years before finally buying homes in both Monaco and Montreal this past year. She remained absent from most of the 2009 WSOP turning up only to play in the Ante Up For Africa charity tournament and the Main Event.
A representative from PokerStars said it was Mercier's decision not to renew her sponsorship contract with the site and the organization wishes her the best.
Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren said she would wager this isn't the last the poker world will see of Mercier.
"I'm sad that Isabelle has left Team Pro, but I do understand it," Coren said. "The International tournament circuit is pretty relentless, but Isabelle has embraced the full-on romantic poker life, always on the road, living out of a suitcase for months at a time.
"In that same romantic spirit, she's now jumping off to try new things and have fresh adventures. Having said that, I would bet good money that we'll still see Isabelle cropping up in the bigger tournaments, like Monte Carlo and the PCA. I hope so, because she's one of my favorite people in poker."