Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier has created perhaps one of the biggest World Series of Poker bets of the summer. Last week, Mercier posted on Twitter that he was looking for action at 3-to-1 odds on winning a bracelet during the 2013 WSOP in Las Vegas. During a break in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud 8-or-Better event on Friday, we had a chance to speak with Mercier about some of the action he's already locked up.
PokerNews: How did your 3-to-1 bracelet bet come to place?
Mercier: It had a bit to do with the WSOP schedule being a bit smaller than last year. There are less big buy-in events and so I really just wanted more motivation to play every tournament. The cash games are really good during the series a lot of the times so I find that I can’t decide whether I want to play cash or play tournaments. This summer though I found that I just really want to be motivated to win a bracelet, which is why I felt to the need to make a lot of bets.
So will you not be playing in cash games this summer?
I will only play cash games if I have extra time, which will only happen on certain days. Pretty much, there will be two events daily; so on those days I probably won’t have any time at all.
Are there any events that you won’t be participating in?
There is no event that I looked at and said I’m not going to play. There is a chance that I’ll skip events here and there if I end up deep in something or am already in two tournaments and a third one starts.
Who is taking bets against you?
Tons of people actually. Without giving away too many names, I have bets against Antonio Esfandiari and Brian Rast. David “viffer” Peat has bet on Shawn Buchanan and on John Monnette against me. I also have bets with guys that people have never heard of [with] European players, and even some fellow PokerStars Pros have bet against me.
Is there anyone taking bets on you?
Yes, Jared Bleznick. He tweeted that he wanted to take the same. If I got booked up on action then he wanted to take the same bets — pretty much betting everything that I’m betting. So there are some guys who are betting on me instead of against me.
Are you still taking some bets?
If anyone is still interested then yes, it depends who and what. I’m still confident and am up for it but I have plenty of action already and am happy with where I’m at.
How much side action has developed from your 3-to-1 odds?
I have got a lot of bets going. There’s a good chance that if I win a bracelet I’m going to win more on side bets than I would in the actual tournament. I won’t give any specific numbers but truth is I haven’t even added it all up. So far, it’s just all written down, so I’m not even entirely sure myself.
Can you give me an example of exactly how your bet works?
If someone wanted to bet against me to win a bracelet then they would be risking $3,000 to win $1,000. If I don’t win a bracelet then I will pay them the $1,000 and if I do win a bracelet they will pay me $3,000.
What is the minimum bet to get involved and what are some of the larger bets running?
The smallest bet I have is $3,000 to $1,000. The biggest bet I have is $75,000 against $25,000.
Those are the only three players that I wouldn’t offer odds against. Actually, I only had one person bet on Negreanu at even money and nobody has bet on Hellmuth. So then I decided that I would offer 1.05 odds and that got me a little bit of action on Negreanu but still nobody took Hellmuth.
So what is the minimum bet on that action?
It depends on who it is. I won’t take someone’s random action for like $1,000 but if it’s someone I know and they want to put $1,000 down then it’s not a problem. If it is someone I don’t know then it would need to be bigger so that it is worth the hassle of having to escrow the money.
From your perspective, what are some of the players' reactions to this?
Some players text me about it and said they were interested in betting against me and then after I would respond quickly a few of them would back out and say that I was too confident. I think it’s a pretty fair bet so I’m just really trying to get action and give myself more motivation to play more events.
You previously wrote the PokerStars Blog that you had a goal to reach $1 million in profit for the year. Have your reached that goal yet?
I don’t know where I am at the moment for the year, but I am pretty close. I’ve definitely had a good year so far. I’m gambling big on the series, and playing in a lot of events, and have a lot of side bets, also backing some players. I just feel like I’m making good investments in every area of gambling right now so I feel good and hopefully it works out.
Does your $1 million profit goal include cash games, just tournaments or everything invested?
The $1 million mark was just a blanket number of something I wanted to do. It’s definitely not the be-all-end-all of my year. If I win a few hundred thousand or a few million, then still nothing will really change in my life.
How confident are you right now after going 0-for-3 in events so far?
The first three events I played in were all no limit events and I’m not playing those events quite at my optimal strategy because there are other events to be played. There is so much variance in tournament poker, so even if I went 0-for-15 I would still feel really confident going into the next events.
What events are you really looking forward to?
I’m really looking forward to most of the mixed game events. I have yet to go deep in an 8-game or 10-game event at the series and I’m looking forward to those two. Also the triple draw and single draw events. Two years ago I got seventh in the $1,500 single draw and sixth in the $2,500 triple draw and bubbled the $10,000 single draw, so I was close in three of the draw events to win a bracelet. I feel that I’m very good in those games and I hope I can go deep in one of those events this summer. Of course, I'm also looking forward to the Main Event, the $50,000 Poker Players Championshop and the $111,111 One Drop, and the $25,000 6-max and the Pot-Limit Omaha events. Those are my favorite events pretty much.
Knowing that Brian Rast was in on the action, we jumped on the opportunity to chat with him about his wager with Mercier.
PokerNews: Why did you choose to get involved in this bet?
Rast: I wanted to play more tournaments this summer is what it boils down to. Every summer I usually say the same thing, I want to play more tournaments and thought about making a bracelet bet but didn’t do it just because I didn’t find anyone or didn’t want to after all. What ends up happening is at some point I end up playing the cash games because I find really good games spread during the summer. This summer I wanted to commit myself to playing more tournaments so I made a bracelet bet. I’m not sure who has the best of it; I just thought it was reasonable and it would commit me to playing. Like today, I busted the $5,000 buy-in in 14th and normally I wouldn’t stay in the Rio and continue to play but today I jumped into the $2,500 Omaha/Stud event right after.
What is your bet exactly?
The bet is me against Mercier laying 1.3-to-1 odds. It’s a small price but still a price.
Do you feel confident in yourself?
I do. I feel like I’ve been playing well this summer so far. I like how I played in the $5K. Honestly, I think I just ran really bad in that event today. I lost a bunch of all-ins, most of which I was favorite to win. The very last all-in I had only 12 big blinds, I was only maybe 48 percent to win but other than that I would have been out but I chipped up a lot. There’s not much I can do there. So far in the $2,500, you know, these aren’t my events but I think I can play mixed-games well enough. Plus, with only 300 or so players, it is one of the better shots to win a bracelet.
Antonio Esfandiari Antonio Esfandiari told PokerNews that he also took action against Mercier, betting on himself at 4-to-1 to win a bracelet.
"He layed me 4-to-1 on a bracelet and although I don't play all the mixed games I feel that I am crushing him at that price," Esfandiari told PokerNews on Saturday.
Esfandiari also took Rast at 1.3-to-1 against Mercier.
"I bet on the Rast because he is the best," he added. Not everyone out there knows that. But simply put I think he is simply the greatest. Jason is great — but at 1.3-to-1, I'll bet the farm on the Rastinator."
Stay tuned to PokerNetwork all summer as we bring you more prop bets and stories from inside the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
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