Late last month, Jason Somerville officially launched his personal website, JasonSomerville.com. Somerville told PokerNews he created the site to have a place where he could share his adventures and experiences with the public, including videos.
Last Wednesday, Somerville started a new video series, Bracelet Hunting, which chronicles the lives and adventures Somerville, Jason Mercier and Dan O’Brien during the World Series of Poker. Two episodes have been released, and several more are on the way, so we caught up with Somerville to chat about his plans and ideas for the series and what to expect as the weeks go on.
PokerNews: Where did the idea of the “Bracelet Hunting” videos stem from?
Somerville: Last fall when I was coaching Russell Thomas for the Main Event final table, we did a mini-documentary series for that. I loved it. I mean at the time it was crazy because there were like 16 people living inside my house for 30 days but I really enjoyed that kind of film-making and I knew I always wanted another opportunity to do it again. Of course the World Series of Poker is the most exciting time of the year and I thought there hasn’t really been any players that have taken on themselves to share their stories at the WSOP while it was going on. Life of Ivey was a series I always loved watching but it didn’t seem like something he wanted to do so his responses and involvement were minimal. So I thought that having someone willing and wanting to work with the camera crew and have stories to share would be great for video making.
Will the focus be concentrated on just you or will Dan O’Brien and Jason Mercier have equal footage?
The story that we are focusing on will be me, O’Brien and Mercier. There will be stories that are on each of us and then there will be stories that are a mix of all three of us. We are all committed to this project to varying degrees, but I think that by the time the series is wrapped for the summer there will be enough footage so a viewer can say, ‘I can see what it was like for them while at the series.’
How did O’Brien and Mercier get involved? Was it a collaborative idea or did they fall into it?
Jason, Dan and I have been friends for a really long time. Dan is one of my best friends, actually, and not even just in poker but also in life. All three of us have a really great dynamic and both guys are great personalities for this kind of project. Since we’re all great friends, have a great relationship, and are sharing a summer RV, it was just logical to include them. It just seemed like a slam-dunk to me. It didn’t take much convincing on my part to have them agree to participate.
How often will videos be posted?
We did one last Wednesday and one on Sunday so the plan is to release two-to-three videos a week with each episode anywhere from two-to-four minutes in length. There might be one a week that is a bit shorter, maybe one minute long, almost an unedited moment of the week type of thing. Now that we are comfortable with the crew we will be able to dish out episodes a lot faster. The dynamics of making documentaries is apparently harder than I thought, so making four episodes a week wasn’t something that could be promised, but we are working on it and we hope we can post two or three episodes a week for the rest of the series.
With two episodes released, what can we expect to see through the rest of the summer?
I have a lot of plans for cool episodes. The documentary crews being used are wizards at what they do. It’s great working with a team that comes to me with ideas. Because I’m so busy with the series, it was really important to me to have a crew that I could trust and believe in. They’ve got some good ideas, I’ve got some good ideas and so we’re just aiming for consistent quality content. I want the videos to be cinematic to a degree that you can watch them and appreciate them to have an aesthetic. Having a powerful aesthetic is important, and I’ve tried to maintain that. I just want to tell a good story and keep it interesting and fun to watch.
Your second video focused on you joining Ultimate Poker. Thus far, how has your experience been with the company?
Ultimate Poker has been great for me. I had been looking for a long time to find an organization to partner with and not just one I was going to work for. I did a lot of research. Basically, I did my due diligence before signing with them. It was just a perfect fit. The things they valued and wanted from me were things I was very good at and wanted to do. The team they have consists of some of the brightest minds in the poker industry, and I really like their vision on where they wanted to go and loved how they never want to settle but always want to keep getting better. Their goals were not set for mediocrity, but their goals were set to be No.1. I admire that in an organization because I feel the same way about everything I do, as well.
And the fact that they are a sister company to the UFC, which is another one of my biggest passions, was just the cherry on the top. It was like ‘Oh cool, I get to meet Dana White, president of the UFC, on my first day in the office.’ It was one of the best random moments of my life, I think. Imagine that as a kid you grow up and watch the NFL and then later on in life get signed to NFL Poker. This is what that was for me. I grew up in karate and loved the UFC. For 10 years I watched and couldn’t miss an episode. Then to be signed to a sister-company related to the UFC it was just absolutely amazing, literally the perfect fit for me in every way. I’m actually more excited for the series to be over because there are so many cool opportunities that will come after I’m free.
Speaking of the series, how do you feel you’ve been playing so far?
I’ll honestly say that in the first couple of weeks my mind wasn’t really in the game. There were so many things going on. It was really an unbelievable amount of work going on between Ultimate Poker, the videos, just being out here, all my horses, and I felt like I didn’t play as well as I could have. Now that I’ve got into a rhythm, I feel like I can focus much more.
Your video series is titled Bracelet Hunting. Is there any one event you think you have a better chance of winning?
The smaller events are obviously easier to win a bracelet. The idea of winning the $100K is obviously my goal not only because the $2-or-$3 million dollar prize but the field will only be about 100 people or so. Will a smaller field it should be the “easiest” one to win but it’ll be a super tough field, so of course it won’t be a walk in the park. There’s will not one event where I can say, ‘that will be my tournament.’ I love the mix-max, that’s a great tournament. The $25K six-max I’ve done really well in the past. I got 4th last time they ran that so I feel like there are some good ones that I’m really excited for.
Between the three of you featured in the documentary, is there a bet on who will be the first to grab a bracelet?
We do not have a bet but I promise you the first person to win a bracelet will be congratulated and the other two will be needled horrendously. That alone is enough of an incentive to aim for the gold.
What is life for you after the series?
Life for me after the WSOP will be very different than my life before the series began. Getting the deal with Ultimate Poker gave me the feeling of reaching the top of the mountain. Then, a couple days after that I realized how much work was yet to come and that the real mountain was still in front of me and eight times as big as the last. I feel like to some degree I’m going to have to go up a little bit. I’m going to have to work really hard and make sacrifices in other areas of my life. There will be a full schedule of traveling, UFC events, Station Casino events, Ultimate Poker events, and probably so many other things that I can’t wait for. I’m excited, but my prior schedule of just hanging out, playing video games, and relaxing is done. I’m looking forward to it. The best things have yet to come, for sure. It’ll be a different type of life but better for videos so people can definitely expect for them to continue after the series is over.
For more on Somerville's Bracelet Hunting series, be sure to listen to Monday's PokerNews Podcast.