Is Mercier the best in both poker worlds?

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NOTHIN’ BUT ‘NET: ONLINE POKER REPORT
By John Lanier

Jason Mercier from Davie, Fla., seems to know how to play poker. There are few legitimate challengers to best player in the world as most give that crown to Phil Ivey. His ability to play all forms of poker well, along with his success online in high-stakes cash games, make this hard to contest.

But I would argue there exists a second layer of greatness: the ability to win online tournaments as well as brick and mortar, and here is where Mercier fits best. Most young Internet pros struggle with their first year of tackling live poker. The online game just doesn’t play the same for most young guns taking their shots. But that was never a problem for Mercier.

He certainly is an exception as he achieved early fame not from his online game, but rather from his live wins in Europe. He won an EPT event for about $1 million in 2008. Mercier seems to avoid the nose-bleed levels of online cash games, which is probably wise, just ask Gus Hansen, who was down about $4 million in online cash games this year as of press time.

Mercier followed up his first victory with another in 2008 at the EPT London. He started 2009 proving he was no fluke, cashing five times in the L.A. Poker Classic, including a win in a pot-limit Omaha event. Jason got his first WSOP bracelet that same year, winning the PLO Event 5 for $237,000. He then finished fourth in the WSOP Europe Main Event and won another EPT London event. Mixed games also seem to be profitable for Mercier, winning the Five Diamond H.O.R.S.E. event for $100K. Other victories this year include a Southern Poker Championship undercard event and the High Roller Bounty Shootout at the NAPT Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. And he made the final table of the NAPT in L.A. last month.
But this is an online column, so we can’t forget in September he took down the PokerStars WCOOP’s $1,050 NLHE $3 million guarantee event, defeating 3,122 players for $435,862. This victory is added to his FTOPS win in May 2009 and his WCOOP Omaha victory in September 2009.

With all of his success in the biggest online and live tournaments in the world, it isn’t hard to imagine Mercier being mentioned as the best player on the planet someday.