Jason Mercier Laments Degenerate Label on Le Batard Show

Jason Mercier is one of the best tournament poker players in the world, with the 29 year-old Florida pro having amassed $17,382,987 in winnings throughout his illustrious career, as well as a further $2,206,185 online playing under the screen name Treysfull21. Mercier has also captured five coveted World Series of Poker bracelets, including two at the most recent WSOP in Las Vegas, and so he could be forgiven for expecting a certain level of admiration and respect during his appearance on The Dan Le Batard Show this week.
By the end of his interview with the sportswriter and radio host, however, Mercier seems to have had his bubble burst somewhat, and later taking to his twitter account he tweeted:
“Degenerate, junkie, addict -Not exactly my fav words 2 describe myself as 1 of the best in my profession, oh well, ill just keep printing! Poker will never reach its full potential / go main stream when this is the public’s perception of what we do. #SportifyPoker.”
Needless to say, some of the views aired Le Batard during the interview highlight some of the misconceptions held by people outside of the game, and could easily have caused offence to a less professional player. Prior to Mercier starting the interview, for instance, Le Batard commented on those players who multi-tabled during the WSOP, stating:
“I wonder how happy these guys actually are, it’s just another form of being a junkie, where it’s not enough to merely be in a [single] poker tournament.”
After starting the interview, Mercier may have been expecting Le Batard to focus more on his incredible success in his chosen profession, but instead Le Batard seemed to pursue a pretty negative line of questioning, including, asking Mercier if he had a “gambling problem”, how his family felt about his career choice, and asking him to describe the worst poker ever made him feel.
Despite what potentially could have been an awkward situation, Mercier handled the interview like a pro, although his twitter comments did later spark an interesting debate among some of his followers. Dan Edwards, for instance, commented that “I was so pissed when I heard him say that. Pure idiocy,” while Christy Brinker wrote “My son is a poker player – and I HATE these stereotypes. He is awesome and I’m proud to say he has played with you!”
Bringing a bit of realism and levity to the debate, Luke chimed in by saying, “@JasonMercier wait do you care or not? Haha. If all poker pros were responsible and didn’t have life leaks/ drug probs would u print as much?
In the meantime, Andrew Taylor took offence at the way the interview was conducted, and tweeted: “Jason, you are a good ambassador for our sport. Lebatard knew in advance he was going to try make you look bad,” which then prompted the Le Batard Show, which was evidently following the twitter debate with interest, to add to the discussion by tweeting: “@ataylor3133 @JasonMercier no interest in that. Liked him and his story. Wasn’t trying to make anyone look bad.”
For those interested, you can listen to the Dan Le Batard’s podcast with Jason Mercier here.

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