Jason Mercier is no stranger to winning poker tournaments.Â But even for an accomplished player like Mercier, it is rare to pick up two major titles on back-to-back days.
But that’s just what Mercier accomplished this week in PokerStars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker.
Mercier scored wins in two SCOOP events, one each on Monday and Tuesday evenings, to bring his lifetime total to three SCOOP titles.
The first win came on Monday, when Mercier won the $2,100 Limit Badugi tournament. Badugi is one of the more obscure variants of poker played during SCOOP: players get four cards, and through three drawing rounds, are hoping to make a low hand comprised of as many different suits as possible (making A-2-3-4 of four different suits the best possible hand).
While it may not be a casino favorite, Badugi is a well-known game among professional poker players, and that meant that this would be a small but loaded field. A total of 56 players entered, with only the top seven finishers being paid.
Mercier entered the final table fourth in chips, but quickly moved up to the chip lead as the tournament moved down to just six players.
Playing out of Canada, Mercier reached heads-up play with a two-to-one chip advantage over the UK’s Adam Owen (“Adamyid” on PokerStars), and managed to hold on to take home the $39,200 top prize.
“Scooped the 2k badugi #SCOOP event,” Mercier tweeted after his win. “First badugi tournament win of my career (go figure).”
Mercier would be back on the warpath the very next night, playing another game that doesn’t draw much attention from the general poker population, at last in this century.
On Tuesday, Mercier emerged victorious in the $2,100 No Limit Five-Card Draw SCOOP event, one that attracted an even smaller field that the Badugi tournament the night before.
This time around, Mercier had to battle with a total of 43 players, virtually all of whom were well known to each other. After all, your average recreational player isn’t likely to spend thousands of dollars to play a game they may have only played a couple times with friends, or perhaps seen in older movies about poker.
Given the tiny field, only five players were slated to cash in the tournament. Some big names made deep runs, including Mike Watson, who ultimately finished third for a $12,900 payday.
The final heads-up confrontation, though, saw Mercier facing off against a Russian player known as “berserk64.” Mercier ultimately dispatched his opponent when his two pair beat out a pair of aces, earning the Team PokerStars member a $34,400 payday.
“It feels great of course,” Mercier told PokerNews when asked about his two wins. “I’m happy to be in a groove and playing and running well.”
Mercier isn’t the only big name that has started strong in this year’s edition of SCOOP. On Wednesday, Sorel Mizzi took down a $2,100 No Limit Hold’em tournament, earning a $354,960 prize in the process.
One of the biggest winners in SCOOP history has also made his mark on the series. Calvin Anderson took down a $2,100 Seven-Card Stud tournament early Thursday morning, winning a prize of $36,600.
The win gave Anderson his sixth ever SCOOP title, the most of any player. Interestingly, Shaun Deeb also had five SCOOP titles heading into the event, and also made the final table before being eliminated in fourth place.