Jason Mercier Defeats Mike Watson to Capture Sixth WSOP Bracelet

Jason Mercier

After four-day of play in Event #60: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw at the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP), a returning Jason Mercier beat Mike Watson in heads-up play to capture his sixth gold bracelet and the $151,276 first-place prize.

It was a repeat showdown of the 2016 WSOP $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship, where Mercier overcame Watson to secure his fourth piece of WSOP hardware.

The event saw 548 entries and generated a $731,580 prize pool. Mercier took the lions share, while Watson was awarded $93,495 for his runner-up finish.

$1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw Final Table Results

1Jason MercierUnited States$151,276
2Mike WatsonCanada$93,495
3Brad RubenUnited States$63,505
4Jon TurnerUnited States$44,002
5Erik SeidelUnited States$31,114
6Richard AshbyUnited Kingdom$22,461
7Jonathan GlendinningUnited States$16,562
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Mercier Back for Good?

Mercier discussed the unlikely repeat matchup against Watson, saying, “I've been three-handed with him four separate times in major events, and I've won all four. So he's gotten second twice and third twice. But in particular, we played heads up for the no-limit deuce bracelet in the $10K in 2016. So it was definitely a bit of déja vu.”

“You know, going into heads up, I was a little worried that he was finally going to get me. But luckily, I ran hot and was able to beat him again.”

Mercier burst on the scene in 2008, racking up at least a million dollars in earnings in nine of the ten years until 2017, ranking him at the time number 11 on the cash leaderboard to go with those five WSOP bracelets. Then he walked away, choosing to take a break from poker to focus on his family.

“After my son was born, I knew things were going to be different,” Mercier he wrote on the PokerStars blog at the time. “Becoming a parent brings about a complete transformation of who you are. I no longer let myself be so concerned with what I want but more so with the well-being of my wife and my child (and future children). Serving and leading my family is of utmost importance.”

In 2022 Mercier returned from his self-imposed exile (now with three children in his growing family), appearing to have not lost a single step from those five years off. He notched a 6th place finish in 2022’s WSOP $50,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha event and 16th in the $10,000 Razz Championship, and earlier this year earned the first place prize in the PokerGO $25,000 10-Game Championship.

Mercier discussed how he was able to continue where he left off despite poker changing so much in the intervening years. “Everyone's a lot better. The game is different. There's just not as many people that are drawing dead at the game.”

But he admitted he hasn’t studied up to prepare for the new poker strategies, preferring to hone his skills through play. “I'm not much of a studier. I just kind of play and get my experience by playing more hands. “So it's kind of like riding a bike, you know? I just hopped back on.”

Day 4 Action

Erik Seidel

Erik Seidel was masterly in making a run at capturing his tenth-career WSOP bracelet and his second in no-limit 2-7, applying his many years of experience and wiles with a quiet deadliness that left a trail of busted players in his wake.

However, despite finding an early double through Jon Turner, Seidel was the first to exit on the final day after being felted by Watson.

Short stack Turner was next to depart after his stack was collected by Brad Ruben. Ruben had a pat ninety-eight, and Turner was unable to draw winning cards to his 6x5x4x, ending his day in fourth place.

Similar to Mercier, Ruben was on the hunt for his sixth bracelet and was the favorite after coming into Day 4 as the chip leader. But after doubling up Watson in an incredibly close hand, he was suddenly the short stack. His third place bust out would come at the hands of Mercier.

Mercier and Watson Run It Back

Jason Mercier - Mike Watson

Heads-up play was a tight affair, but after ninety minutes, Mercier took the lead when his ten-seven pipped his opponent's jack-seven.

Mercier extended that lead by taking laying a trap with a jack-nine, and snapping when Watson bet with a pair of queens.

Mercier’s relentless pressure soon backed Watson into a corner, and when Mercier bet to put Watson all-in, he had no choice but to call. Watson still had a fighting chance when it was revealed each had a ten-eight draw, but Mercier drew better, hitting a five.

  • Super Six for Jason Mercier as poker legend beats Mike Watson for first bracelet in seven years.

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