In 2016, on his way to winning World Series of Poker Player of the Year honors, Jason Mercier got heads up with Mike Watson in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Single Draw Championship. Watson held the chip lead when the match for the bracelet began, but Mercier charged towards a victory, taking home his fourth career WSOP bracelet and $273,335.
With young kids at home, and cash games largely taking priority over the last few years, Mercier has played a significantly lower volume of tournaments over the last few summers and won no bracelets since 2016. But the stars aligned for a few days, and Mercier found himself deep in the $1,500 No Limit 2-7 Single Draw event. Heading into the final day, the final five included nine-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel and a familiar face, in Watson.
When it got down to two, it was once again Watson holding the chip lead as the pair squared off heads up for a No Limit 2-7 bracelet. And once again, Mercier charged forward and completed the come-from-behind victory for his sixth career WSOP bracelet – denying Watson a long-coveted first WSOP bracelet win and poker’s triple crown (a WPT main tour title, an EPT main event and a WSOP bracelet).
“I have a lot of experience playing against Watson, in all different games,” said Mercier. “We got heads up in the $10K No Limit Deuce. It’s so rare when you play an opponent heads up, that you’ve played them heads up in that particular variant. So, you know, it was interesting.”
“I played a lot of hands against him in this tournament, and also the last time we played, so I felt like I had a pretty good read and I was able to take advantage of it.”
Chasing Phil Hellmuth and the players above him on the all-time WSOP bracelet list isn’t a high priority at this point in Mercier’s life. In fact, just after winning the tournament Mercier revealed that his entry into this event almost didn’t happen at all.
“This was the fourth event that I entered, and I had no intention to play this event. I had just busted the $25K PLO, there was no cash game running, and I ended up entering late. Honestly, I was kind of upset that I was in it, because I had to keep quitting cash games to come and play Day 2, and Day 3. It ended up being a really long event.”
Ultimately it worked out pretty well for Mercier in the end. After wrapping up this win, Mercier entered the $10,000 Championship edition of No Limit 2-7 Triple Draw, hoping to claim his second win inside of a week and second win of that particular event. He reached Day 3 before ultimately bowing out in 14th place.
In claiming gold bracelet #6 for himself, Mercier joined Brian Rast, Shaun Deeb and Jeremy Ausmus in reaching that plateau during the 2023 WSOP. He also pulled clear of a growing group who reached five this summer, which includes Brian Yoon, John Monnette, Josh Arieh and Benny Glaser.
With a bit of a grin on his face, Mercier stated one of his primary motivators for playing the handful of WSOP bracelet events he has so far in 2023.
“I’m not really chasing bracelets,” said Mercier. “The only motivation, I would say, is that I kept seeing all these guys holding up a five – this guy has his fifth bracelet, now this guy. And I had five, so I was like, ‘I really need to get to six so I can one up all these dudes who now have five.”