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When I Was A Donk With Natasha Mercier

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Aug 01, 2018


In this series, Card Player asks top pros to rewind back to their humble beginnings and provide insights regarding the mistakes, leaks, and deficiencies that they had to overcome in order to improve their games.

Natasha MercierNatasha Mercier, née Barbour, first grabbed the attention of the poker world with a deep run in the 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open near her home in Florida. Then at the 2015 World Series of Poker, she finished second in a $1,500 no-limit hold’em event for $284,911. The very next year, Natasha finished third in the $5,000 no-limit hold’em event, earning the biggest payday of her career for $348,374. Her boyfriend Jason Mercier proposed just moments after she was eliminated, and the two were engaged as he went on to win WSOP Player of the Year honors.

Natasha has played a very limited schedule in the last couple of years after having the couple’s first child last October, but she has still found some time to squeeze in some tournaments. Most recently, she went deep in the WSOP ladies event. She now has nearly $1.2 million in live tournament earnings.

Here, Mercier talks about her regret after playing heads-up for a bracelet.

“Oh, I got one. It didn’t take me long to think about it at all. (laughing) In 2015, I was at the final table of a $1,500 no-limit event, and I had made it to heads-up play with Ben Zamani, who was already having a great summer.”

“Long story short, we made a little deal for the money, just leaving a little bit to play for on the side, and I completely fell apart. I don’t know why, but once most of the money was locked up, I just stopped concentrating. I was no longer playing the way I had been up to that point.”

“I can’t forget the hand. We had only played like five hands of heads-up until that point, and he only had a slight chip lead. I don’t remember the exact action, but I limped in from the button, he raised, and I three-bet with 10-9 offsuit. He four-bet small, and I called.”

“The flop came down ace high, with two small cards. I had nothing. He made a c-bet, and I called, trying to float in this gigantic pot with nothing. The turn was another ace, and Ben checked. This time I jammed, and he snapped me off with A-Q.”

“I wasn’t really upset with myself at the time. The regret hit me a bit later on when I realized just how hard it is to get to heads-up play at the World Series of Poker, and maybe I should have tried a little harder and not bluffed off my chips. (laughing) When I get back to heads-up again, I’m not going to be thinking about the money, just the bracelet.” ♠