The poker world got some mainstream attention today when 2016 World Series of Poker Player of the Year and Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier appeared on the popular Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on ESPN.
The show is based in Miami, giving co-hosts Dan Le Batard and Jon "Stugotz" Weiner one bit of common ground with the Miami-based Mercier. Having heard in particular about Mercier's big bracelet bets over the summer — including his near-miss at parlaying $10,000 into $1.8 million thanks to his bet on himself to win three bracelets — they were curious to learn more.
Le Batard led with a question about what the WSOP was like for Mercier, specifically regarding the three-bracelet bet. Mercier outlined the terms of the bet and his hot start to the series, then detailed his subsequent quest to win a third tournament, including a moment near the end when he was actually registered in three ongoing events at once.
"How does this work?" asked a puzzled-sounding Le Batard. "Is this fun?"
Mercier replied how he loves the game and the bracelet bets helped make the summer all the more challenging and enjoyable for him. Mercier did admit after some prodding, however, that he was somewhat disappointed he wasn't able to win that third bracelet, despite having "had my best summer of all time" at the WSOP.
"Do you have a gambling problem?" Weiner then pointedly asked — a question that may well occur to many those outside of the poker world listening to stories of seven-figure bets.
"No, I don't think so," answered Mercier. "I play poker to make money, and I gamble to make money, so it's more of a job for me."
From there came a few less invasive, though standard questions, such as "What is the best high you've had playing poker?" (winning EPT Sanremo at age 21), "What's the worst poker ever made you feel?" (losing just over $1 million in cash games in a single day in Australia), and "How did this go over in the family as a career choice?" (not well at first, but better once Mercier began winning steadily and his parents were able "to see poker as more of a sport").
The show is recorded live and will be available for download as a podcast later today. Following the local hour, Mercier's appearance came halfway through the second hour of the national show.