Rant: I Support Jason Mercier's WSOP Bracelet Bets

Jason Mercier
Bracelet bets are clearly good for poker.

With the WSOP just around the corner it’s customary for one of the peacocks to puff out its chest and make a ridiculous bracelet bet that could feed starving kids in Africa for the next 20 years.

Step forward two-time WSOP bracelet winner Jason Mercier.

“Looking for action at 3 to 1 on winning a bracelet this summer. Also willing to bet on myself vs. almost anyone and lay small odds. Players I won’t lay odds against: Ivey, Negreanu and Hellmuth.” Mercier tweeted just yesterday.

What a difference a year makes?

2012 was the first year in five that Mercier booked a losing year since exploding on the scene in 2008. To try and motivate himself to do better he set a goal of winning a million dollars profit in 2013. It seems to have done the trick.

The hobo-beard was shorn, he started to eat healthily and work out and suddenly BOOM! Mercier is back on the top of the Global Poker Index world rankings and his EPT Grand Super High Roller runner-up means he has $1.7m in live tournament earnings this year.

But on which side of his bet does the value lay?

According to a few posters on 2+2 that have calculators for brains, there isn’t much in it from a mathematical standpoint. Add that to the fact that he has the fire in his belly, form, a great understanding of lines and he is more than well-versed in all variants of poker, one could say his chances are pretty good.

The WSOP database only stretches as far back as 2011, and during this time Mercier has played in 75 events, cashed in 12, made four final tables and won one bracelet.

The only mistake I believe Mercier has made is using the word ‘summer’ in his tweet. When Tom Dwan made his reported $20 million worth of bracelets bets in 2010, he included the WSOPE in London in his timeline.

Jason Mercier
Bracelet bets can provide big motivation for poker pros.

Mercier’s WSOPE results in the past two years have been great. With two final tables and deep runs in the mixed-max format on both occasions.

But Why Is Mercier Making the Bets?

One reason big-name poker pros make big-money bracelet bets is for motivation.

“I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for the bracelet bets.”

That comment came from Tom Dwan as he talked to the press during the 2010 WSOP. Dwan was rumored to have lost $8 million in bracelet bets after finishing the series with nothing but dirt on his wrist.

And it's believed that when Dwan lost heads-up to Simon Watt in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Event that summer, it cost him $20 million in potential winnings from the likes of Phil Ivey, Mike Matusow, Daniel Negreanu and Eli Elezra.

But Jason Mercier doesn’t need any motivation to grind a WSOP.

He got all of his motivation after finishing 2012 without a bean in his counter. Just because the man is on an upswing doesn’t mean he needs an additional pump.

I think Mercier made this bet because he thinks he is getting the better end of the deal. I really do believe he believes he will win a bracelet – and this power should never be under-estimated. Add this to the fact that his mixed-game skills alone means he is almost certain to raise that pretty little head in one of the smaller fields, and his chances are good.

Whether Mercier does win his bracelet bet or not, as an avid viewer of the WSOP I am delighted that he has taken this approach.

The 2010 WSOP became the stuff of legend as the poker fans around the world crouched over their laptops to see if Tom Dwan had done the unthinkable and brought the poker world to its knees.

Mercier doesn’t have the kind of hardware that Dwan was pushing around, but his bet not only looks like better value than the one Dwan set back in 2010, it is once again going to get pulses racing. And there's nothing wrong with that.

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