Jan 11, 2018
Jason Mercier Leaving Team PokerStars – Reasons Include Family & Travel Schedule
By RTR Dennis
Famed poker pro Jason Mercier has announced his decision to leave Team PokerStars. This makes Mercier the second player behind Vanessa Selbst to part ways with the world's largest poker site. But unlike Selbst, Mercier isn't retiring from the game.
Let's discuss why the 5-time WSOP champion has chosen to leave his sponsor along with Mercier's plans for the future.
Family Life Takes Center Stage for Mercier
Jason Mercier wrote about his decision to leave PokerStars on his blog at the site. And he offered an in-depth look at his family life in the early portion of this post.
He and his wife, fellow poker player Natasha Barbour, recently drove their three-month-old son to the doctor for a possible medical emergency. It turned out to be just a head cold, but Mercier used this incident to show where his main priorities lie.
He also missed the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) for the first time in over a decade. And while this was hard, Mercier wrote that the events leading up to him skipping the PCA have been great.
"It all started in the summer of 2016, when I decided I was going to propose to my girlfriend. She said yes, and the next decision was when and where to get married. We had a short engagement, followed by an amazing wedding. We both knew we wanted to have kids right away, and luckily she got pregnant just two months after we married."
Mercier's Contract with PokerStars was Up
Mercier has been with PokerStars for over eight years. But his contract expired at the end of 2017. This left him with an important decision to make regarding his future with the site.
"After my son was born, I knew things were going to be different. One of the major things to address was my relationship with PokerStars," wrote Mercier.
"My contract was set to expire at the end of 2017, and I wasn't sure what exactly was going to happen there. I had a lot of questions rolling around my head. Do I even want to travel now? How much can I travel? Should I continue playing poker so much? How's it going to be on the road with a baby? Does PokerStars want me to do more? Is my wife going to continue to play poker? DO WE NEED A FULL TIME NANNY!!??"
Jason and Natasha pondered traveling on the poker circuit with their baby for a year or two. But Mercier ultimately decided that the best thing to do was end his relationship with PokerStars and move on.
"As I thought more and more over the days and weeks, the answer seemed simple. This was probably going to be the end of my relationship with PokerStars, and the end of my full time travel schedule."
Mercier and PokerStars Part on Good Terms
There are no hard feelings between PokerStars and Mercier as he exits the team. And the 31-year-old expressed gratitude for everything that he received as a member of Team PokerStars.
"I was a PokerStars Pro for eight and a half wonderful years. I'm forever grateful that they took a chance on me when I was just a 22-year-old kid who had just captured his first gold bracelet in the summer of 2009," he wrote.
"There were times when I thought I might be a PokerStars Pro for the rest of my life... hey, a kid can dream can't he? Thank you to all of the wonderful people I worked with at PokerStars, your support and friendship has been invaluable."
While Mercier might not be wearing the PokerStars patch any longer, he'll still play in poker tournaments whenever he gets the chance.
In fact, he has plans on traveling to both the 2019 PCA and PokerStars Player Championship. He'll also be attending the 2018 WSOP, where Mercier will try to win his sixth gold bracelet.
But in the meantime, he's going to concentrate on being a father and husband. Poker is clearly second place when compared to his family life.