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Top 5 Poker Stories of 2010: Jason Mercier's Consistency
It was another big year for the game of poker in 2010 and the PokerListings news team was there to document it all.
From highs like Jonathan Duhamel's 2010 WSOP Main Event win to lows like Amir Vahedi's untimely passing, the year was filled with stories big and small.
As has become tradition, PokerListings will spend the final week of 2010 counting down the top five stories of the year the way only we can - With the thoughts, words and opinions of the protagonists.
We continue today with Jason Mercier's consistency at Number 3:
“Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker every year? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas?”
It's one of the most recognizable quotes from Matt Damon's character Mike McDermott in poker's most prized film Rounders.
And while it is a rather interesting and dramatic way to say poker is a game of skill, the problem is it's absolutely untrue.
The same five guys don't make it to the final table every year. In fact, since a Tennessee accountant and amateur poker player named Chris Moneymaker shocked the world, winning poker's biggest prize and spawning a generation of online poker dreamers, it seems some new young-gun is being crowned poker's latest and greatest every week, only to fade into obscurity just as quickly.
With $10k tournaments on the go all the time, all across the globe, we are in the midst of poker's flash-in-the-pan era and few, if any, of the names topping the leaderboards amidst all this high-stakes action will be remembered at all.
And then there's Jason Mercier.
Drawn to poker at the age of 15 when he watched Moneymaker's historic triumph on ESPN, it wasn't long before Mercier was being crowned SuperNova Elite on PokerStars and earning more than a comfortable living in the $1/$2 cash games online.
He burst onto the live tournament scene at just 21-years-old in early 2008 with a win at EPT San Remo.
Then he rounded out the year with a second EPT final table appearance at Barcelona, a run all the way to eighth in the £5k PLO at WSOP Europe and another near million-dollar score in the £20k High Roller event at EPT London, beating the celebrated John Juanda heads-up.
With $2,752,423 in earnings, he had the kind of year most players would call a career, but Mercier was far from done.
He began 2009 with prelim wins at the L.A. Poker Classic and Wynn Classic, won a coveted FTOPS jersey online, then spent the summer booking his first WSOP bracelet win.
Mercier soon signed on as a Team PokerStars Pro, but those who thought he may have been done there were proven wrong just a few months later when he made fourth in the WSOPE main event and took down an EPT London side event all in the span of a week.
Mercier ended the year with a $5k H.O.R.S.E. win at the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, a total of $1,354,026 in tournament earnings and some seriously solid evidence that he was no one hit wonder.
With a lucrative sponsorship deal, a second consecutive seven-figure year on the tournament trail under his belt and his image now plastered all over magazine covers and TV screens the world over, Mercier had become the new face of the game.
And while pundits continued to predict some kind of downswing was inevitable, he still wasn't done.
This year started much like Mercier's last two, with a prelim win at 2010 Southern Poker Championship in Biloxi.
He rolled into spring winning almost half a million in the $25k NAPT Bounty Shootout at the Mohegan Sun, then spent the summer booking five solid cashes at the WSOP.
Fall saw him just miss his first World Poker Tour final table with an 11th-place finish at Foxwoods, then just miss another win with a seventh-place finish at the NAPT L.A. main event.
Plus, he collected almost half a million online, winning his first PokerStars WCOOP title.
Mercier ended 2010 with $1,059,908 in live tournament earnings and having pushed over the $5 million mark in career earnings, a mark of consistency unmatched in the poker world today.
“I don't know if there's any real secret to my consistency,” he said. “I'm just always playing, always working on my game, always trying to get better.”
And while others may have spent more time celebrating the victories and spending the millions he's won, Mercier says perhaps he's found consistency through a consistent demeanor.
“A lot of people say it, but I really don't get too high with the highs or low with the lows,” he said. “I'm the same guy I've always been and hopefully I can just keep it going and remain consistent for years to come.”
Having spent the past three years on top of the poker world, there's no reason to believe we won't find Jason Mercier right there again next December.
The only difference being he'll be in the third spot on PokerListings' Top Five Stories of 2011 instead of 2010.