Mercier hunts third EPT in Barcelona

Jason Mercier
Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier likes his chances in Barcelona.

The PokerStars European Poker Tour's sixth season kicks into high gear today with the start of EPT Barcelona.

Traditionally marking the beginning of the EPT season, the Spanish leg of the tour actually comes as the second stop here in season six, following August's EPT Kyiv.

Always one of the EPT's most popular tournaments, PokerStars is expecting as many as 700 players to descend upon the beachfront Casino Barcelona for the event.

Last year, Team PokerStars Germany's Sebastian Ruthenberg followed up his 2008 WSOP Stud Hi-Lo bracelet win by taking down the title and €1,361,000 first-place prize.

It was no easy feat, considering the final table featured fellow 2008 WSOP bracelet winner Davidi Kitai and EPT 4 San Remo champ Jason Mercier, who had a shot to become the EPT's first multiple title holder at the final.

"It became a personal goal when I found out going into Day 3 last year that no one had ever won two EPT titles," Mercier told PokerListings.

"I was very frustrated with my sixth-place finish last year, especially with how certain hands played out when we were nine-handed. Luckily I was able to ship the High Rollers in EPT London to become the first to ever win two.

Sebastian Ruthenberg
The champ.

"Obviously, Elky [Bertrand Grospellier] won the High Rollers at the PCA to become the second to do it, but that gives me some added motivation to become the first one to win three."

With Mercier out sixth and Kitai third, Ruthenberg took a 5:1 chip lead into heads-up and made quick work of Ireland's Fintan Gavin to book the win.

With a slew of poker's best players in Spain for the event, a repeat for Ruthenberg should prove difficult.

But, with a three way chop in a preliminary event already under his belt at Casino Barcelona, Mercier feels good about his own chances.

"I feel great coming into Barcelona this year," he said. "I hadn't played live in almost two months, which is the longest break I've had from live poker in 18 months.

"I'm really looking forward to the Main Event and hope I continue to play well and run good."

To follow all the action from Barcelona, check out PokerListings' Live Tournaments page.

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