This Day in WSOP History: Jason Mercier Pops the Question
COVID-19 forced the postponement of the 2020 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. In lieu of being able to live report this year's summer series, PokerNews has decided to relive some of the memories of past WSOPs. This Day in WSOP History will harken back to the most poignant moments of WSOPs from 2005-2019.
Sometimes, moments are just about the people involved, and one such situation came up in 2016.
A total of 85 bracelets will be won online from July to September this year. Find out more information right here on PokerNews!
Mercier Switches to the Rail
Jason Mercier found himself on the heater of a lifetime in the 2016 WSOP. He had already collected two bracelets plus runner-up money in another event, and had fellow PokerStars Team Pro Vanessa Selbst seriously sweating a longshot bet that Mercier would win three pieces of gold that summer. He was the talk of the poker world.
However, for Event #59: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em, he found himself in a most unfamiliar position that year: the rail.
That's because Mercier's girlfriend Natasha Barbour had made a deep run, entering the final day among just six remaining competitors and ranking third in chips. While Yue Du looked to be a large favorite to win the bracelet, Barbour was still in a great position making the final few out of 863 entries, guaranteed $132K and playing for $800,586.
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No Bracelet, but a Ring Instead
While Barbour did ladder past a couple of opponents, she wasn't able to get much going on the final day. She found a standard shove spot over the chip leader's button open but her ace-five suited was dominated by ace-ten, and she found no improvement from the community cards, relegating her to a third-place finish.
While a career-best $348,374 was nothing to sneeze at, the real prize was yet to come.
Mercier headed to the stage and offered a hug and some whispered words of comfort. While that was fully to be expected, what he did next wasn't: he sank to a knee and whipped something out of his pocket, offering it to Barbour as she put her hand over her mouth and turned away in shock.
After she said yes, the two shared another embrace as the crowd applauded. Barbour may have entered the day hoping for a bracelet, but she'd bagged a ring instead. Today, the two are still married with two children, and call themselves "semi-retired."
Lead photo courtesy of WSOP
In this Series
- 1 This Day in WSOP History: Phil Hellmuth Wins Bracelet No. 12
- 2 This Day in WSOP History: Negreanu and Seidel Capture Bracelets
- 3 This Day in WSOP History: Eli Elezra Begins Bracelet Collection
- 4 WSOP Legend: 3-Time Poker Players Championship Winner Michael Mizrachi
- 5 This Day in WSOP History: Phil Ivey Snags 8th Bracelet
- 6 WSOP Legend: Jeff Lisandro Wins Three Stud Bracelets in One Year
- 7 History of WSOP Online Bracelet Events, Part 1
- 8 This Day in WSOP History: Gavin's Smith's Only Bracelet, Johnny Chan's 10th
- 9 This Day in WSOP History: Dan Colman Wins $1M One Drop
- 10 This Weekend in WSOP History: Two Memorable Bracelets and a Wild Day 1c
- 11 This Day in WSOP History: Jason Mercier Pops the Question
- 12 This Day in WSOP History: Hellmuth Extends Record With Bracelet No. 15
- 13 WSOP Legend: Doyle Brunson's Final Bracelet, 15 Years Later
- 14 This Day in WSOP History: Cynn, Hachem Become Main Event Champs
- 15 WSOP History: Looking Back at the November (and October) Nines
- 16 WSOP Legend: 10-Time Bracelet Winner Phil Ivey
- 17 WSOP Legend: Two-Time Main Event Champ Johnny Chan
- 18 This Day in WSOP History: Jamie Gold Wins the Biggest Main Event Ever