Playing online as "PeachyMer," Mer Brit hails from Georgia and is widely considered to be one of the top online female poker players in the game. Somewhat of an enigma for never revealing her identity, Brit has a number of big online scores to her name and talks to PokerNews about finally hitting the tournament trail this fall among other things.
Hello Ms. Brit! Catch us up on what has been going on in your life these days.
Well, gosh let's see, it has been super busy! Lately, I have been spending a lot of time on my photography, so I've had to find a balance between that, my volunteer work, poker, travel, and friends & family! I do a million other little things on the side, so I don’t really ever have any down time.
How did you get into poker? There aren't many female players and you are one of the elite, how does that feel?
My ex got me into poker. He is from New Jersey, so he spent a fair amount of time in Atlantic City and played online. I gave him heat about it for awhile, which in turn he would try and get me to play, I caved after about a year, gave it a whirl, and haven't turned back since! Yikes, I've never thought of myself as an "elite player" so I dont even know what to say to that! I still cant wrap my mind around being good, let alone great, I just don't think of poker that way.
I do what I do, I have fun, I make some money, and that's enough for me. I think if I got caught up in "where I stood" or "who I'm better than" a lot of the joy I have for poker would be lost. I've always done a lot of competitive things which I never gave weight to male vs female differences, being the only girl in many things just made me try harder! Either way, I hope it never sinks in how good or bad I am!!
When your friends or family approach you, and you tell them that you are a professional poker player, what do they say?
Honestly I don't outright tell most people that I play poker. Unfortunately, I am seen as an heiress, so most people don't really inquire outside of my volunteer work around world. It is kind of a double edged sword because I hate to be thought of that way but it does keep people out of my more personal business. Also, I have a bit of an advantage being from the south, here it's seen as rude to ask where money comes from, so they just assume an array of fanciful things. Just yesterday a woman I have known all my life found out I played poker and was shocked that she had never been told!
Occasionally, friends will inform others about what I do before they meet me or when I leave a room, which kinda works out because if they have a stigma about it I don't have to defend myself and if they are interested then they will be inquisitive. Overall, I haven't really had anyone be negative about poker to my face, most ask infinite questions and appear excited about it. I almost always say I get lucky in poker so I've never had to defend that poker is a game of skill. I figure coming out of my scatter-brained mouth I might do more damage defending poker than help.
So how has poker itself been going for you lately? Any nice scores recently?
Poker is going very well! I took most of fall and winter off, but in recent weeks I have started back on a more set schedule, I definitely am not putting in the volume online that I was last year though. I have played some live cash in Florida but no tournaments, unfortunately. Hmm, I’m so bad at remembering what I won when and I never remember amounts, which I kind of prefer, but if I recall correctly I got second in the $200 rebuy and final tabled a few things last week, one being a $1k tournament, so not too shabby!
Recently you told me that you are going to start playing live in the fall? What is the first big live event you are playing?
Well, my target is autumn, a lot of things have to fall in place here (fast) for that to happen though, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed! I plan on traveling all over. I don’t think there is a place I wouldn’t go in the world, so mixing my wanderlust in with poker will be wonderful. Unfortunately, I have no clue what would be my first big event, I follow next to nothing on the live tournament circuit, so once I get things in line here I'd have to ask my tournament friends their opinions. I’m hopeless I know!
How are you going to adjust from playing online a ton to not having much experience live? Will you get any help from big poker pros or friends?
Well, I have a good amount of experience in live cash, but I’m afraid it won't help me much in tournaments. I’m going to be asking millions of questions all beginning with "Am I allowed to...," "Can I...," I already dread it. I learn fast though so hopefully I won’t be a total idiot for too terribly long. Sadly, I don't think my poker friends will be of much help, I understand little to no "poker lingo," so they usually just further confuse me. On top of that, I am more of a hands on learner, so I'll have to mess up a few times and be corrected by the dealer for it to sink in. I laugh at myself now just thinking about what a nightmare I will be, lord help me!
Do you have any rituals the night before or the morning of a tournament?
Oh jeez, what a loaded question for me! I already come off quirky. Most days I play I stay on a very set schedule, I try to be in bed before 2 a.m., then I'm usually up around 9 a.m. for whatever I can fit in before 2 p.m. (which is when I start playing). I make sure I get a run in, then I either spend some time with the children I work with and/or have training with horses. I make it home at around 1 p.m., make coffee, cook dinner for later, play with the dogs, and then get ready to play! From there, I light a lovely candle, have my lucky bear, turn on relaxing music and just hope for the best!
If you're not online 12-tabling, what would you be doing?
Any one of a million things. My friends make my world go 'round so I spend as much free time with them as possible! The multitude of other things all include being out of my house! Photography is a huge passion of mine and it's extremely relaxing for me. I also do an array of volunteer work in and outside of the country, so that keeps me super busy! I love, love, love to travel, so I mix that in as much as possible! I also still do a good bit of work with horses. I have ridden for over 20 years, so its been a big part of my life. In what other free time I have, I am out on the lake, hiking, fly fishing, boarding, etc... I'll try just about anything and most things stick, so at least I’m never bored!
What and where was the last volunteer work you did?
In country, I do a variety of things locally. Most of my focus goes toward abused and/or underprivileged children, occasionally I work with autistic children as well. Out of country, the most recent was in Southern Africa, working with HIV+ children that have tuberculosis. I head back to Africa in a few months and I’m beyond excited to get back!!
So you love to travel, what are the best traveling spots you have been to and what is your dream destination?
Ouch, so hard to pick since so many are dear to my heart! Thailand was absolutely breathtaking and will always remain at my top. It was a great mix of beach, scuba, jungle, and adventure! Africa was amazing for me, but I think it made more of an impression because I lived there for four months. Cape Town is a must if you are ever remotely close to the area. Victoria Falls is lumped under "Africa" for me but it is so spectacular I had to single it out. I went out of my way to spend time there while I was in Southern Africa and didn't regret a moment of it. I cannot wait to take others back there and share the experience with them. I have so many dream destinations, I'll narrow it down for this - so I'd say French Polynesia (Bora Bora), Fiji, Galapagos Islands, and Egypt.
When your candles are lit and your lucky teddy bear is nearby while you are playing, what is playing on iTunes?
Easy one. It's Debussy's Claire du lune 99% of the time on repeat, no lie. I've probably listened to it a million times by now. If anything else is ever on, its always classical or soundscapes.
Who are the three best online tournament players in your opinion and why?
It's hard for me to pick top players since I’ve only been playing tournaments for a bit over a year, but since then I have to say Corwin "Mig.com" Mackey, Jon "ApeStyles" VanFleet, and Steve "Gboro" Gross. It's extremely difficult for me to pinpoint why they are so good, I rarely deeply evaluate players, but these are the three that come to mind based on personal experience, as well as reputation. I’m friends with Corwin and Jon so I'm more familiar with their styles. Both are highly adaptive in their play, have phenomenal mindsets for poker, and both are creative in their play. Steve I only know from tables but his game is very solid, consistent, and he seems to always be playing well.
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, or Christian Bale?
None! I'm more of a Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Ian Somerhalder, Johnathan Rhys Myers, Jared Leto kinda girl!!
We wish you the best of luck in the future, Mer. Thanks for stopping by!