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Mercy Me! Isabelle Mercier Touches Down On Paradise Island
Isabelle Mercier should need no introduction to the average poker fan. The Team PokerStars pro lives an almost totally nomadic lifestyle, moving from one big buy-in tournament to the next and traveling the world in search of adventure both on and off the felt.
PokerListings.com caught up with Mercier after Day 1b of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the French-Canadian pro was happy to talk to us about her globe-trotting lifestyle and what we can expect from "No Mercy" in 2008.
Alright, Isabelle, for starters how did your day go today?
My day was very, very tough. I was card-dead completely so I had to be very patient and disciplined. I stole a few pots with a few small bluffs but I really had no big hands ever, so every time I got re-raised I had to throw my hand away. It was a little bit difficult.
But I'm happy I made it through the day. I have $25,000, which is good considering what I've been through, so I'm very happy.
What was your impression of the caliber of the field?
The level was not very high on my table. There were a lot of people who I think were playing their first tournament - they didn't know the rules and I could tell they were new to live tournaments, that's for sure. The only thing is, I had two guys who were on my left who were very aggressive, so that was unfortunate. I wish I'd had another position where it would have been easier.
What kind of rules were your tablemates breaking?
They didn't know that you had to raise double the amount or that you have to announce the amount of your raise if you throw in a single big chip, stuff like that.
Does your playing strategy change very much when you're faced with a field of this size compared with a smaller event?
Not really. The thing is to always play the best you can, every single hand, so whatever the amount of the buy-in or the number of people in the tournament it doesn't change the fact that you have to focus on your own table every single hand.
And you have to adapt to the players - it's not who's in the tournament, it's who's at your table and how do they play?
We saw you at the PokerStars APPT tournament in Macau in November. How have your experiences been on that tour so far?
I love the APPT! I can't wait to go back. I played in Seoul and I played in Macau and I played in Sydney. It was amazing; we did some taekwondo in Seoul, some bungee jumping in Macau - the highest bungee jump in the world - and we went surfing in Sydney. I really really had a blast. I love the people and the culture and I can't wait to go back!
How do you think the EPT and APPT tournaments compare?
The APPT is in its first year, so the buy-ins are smaller, of course, and the level of the game is not very high because it's the first year over there, but quick enough the fields are going to become better, just like during the first year of the EPT - you would see some amazing things, but now the level of play is very high. So in a year or two it's going to be great and the level will be higher, but it's good value right now for us professionals to go play there. The buy-ins are smaller and the level of the game is so low that you have a good shot.
I understand you're going to be coming out with a clothing line in 2008. Can you talk a bit about that part of your life?
I have a lot of projects - I have a book coming out next week, actually - it's a story inspired by my life -and I have a DVD coming out on March 3; it's an instructional DVD on how to play poker and it's very fun because it's classes and you have exercises to go do after each class, and I have the clothing line, which is No Mercy Collection. It's been designed by the Cirque du Soleil people and I think we're going to launch in Japan at first.
How did you get involved in the clothing business?
I've been wanting to do it for a few years and I was just waiting for the right partner to work with me. The Cirque is just so renowned that I couldn't pass it up, so I'm very happy. I love the designs they've made and I'm very happy with it.
Where will we see you next on the tournament trail?
Well I'm going into promotion for the book, so that's a little bizarre: I'm not going to play poker for six weeks because I launch in Canada and then I launch in France, so maybe I'll play on the West Coast at Commerce - I'm playing the Shooting Star in San Jose, that's for sure - and maybe I'll play at Borgata. I think I'm going to play a little bit in the United States because I haven't played there since I've been in Asia for a while.
Well congratulations on your various projects and good luck with the rest of the tournament.
Between flying around the world, writing a book, filming a DVD and creating a clothing line, it's a wonder Mercier gets any time in whatsoever at the tables. Her presence at the felt is never a good sign for opposing players, so we predict best-selling runs for both Mercier book and DVD as hapless rounders struggle to get a read on the inscrutable pro they call No Mercy.