Last time on Once Upon A Time, Isabelle used this space to pay a tribute to Mike Sexton, who passed away one year ago. Now, she pays tribute to some other poker legends who she admires.
When you think about it a little, you realize that life is all about people. Happy encounters that help you evolve, progress, and become a better version of yourself, and then less significant encounters, people you cross but who do not mark you.
I obviously want to mention the first category here in my poker career!
Gus “The Great Dane” Hansen
It is an understatement to say that Gus was one of the personalities in the poker world that marked me the most.
Avant-garde in his game, it is quite simple thanks to him, to the brainwashing he gave me regarding aggressiveness, that I was able to win the WPT Ladies Night and obtain my nickname “No Mercy” Mercier.
It kicked off my career and got me my first sponsorship deal with PokerStars.
For younger people, it should be understood that at the time, in the early 2000s, the 3-bet and the continuation bet were not used at all. Gus was one of the first players in the world to display disproportionate aggression at the tables. I took his advice. Thanks, Gus.
When it comes to strong personalities in poker, Tony G’s name immediately comes to mind.
I was completely a fan of his legendary trash talk and his loudmouth which over time had become for him a weapon that destabilized his opponents, but which made me laugh out loud.
Today, it is thanks to Tony that I am Ambassador of CoinPoker and COO of Cryptonews, the crypto equivalent of Pokernews at the time.
Tony is a man of vision, and it was also thanks to him that I became an early adopter of cryptocurrencies.
A third avant-garde in my life since it was Bruno who brought poker to France by managing the very first club, the ACF, where I had the immense pleasure of working for five fabulous years.
Bruno was more than a mentor, he was and still is one of my best friends, with whom I have had the opportunity to travel and share the best restaurants tables in the world.
We swapped in tons of tournaments and played hundreds of heads-ups games ahead of the Heads-Up Championship in Vienna…. which he ultimately won against Amarillo Slim in the last duel. Well done Captain!
No, I have never met him, but I wish I had known him!
One of the greatest figures of poker who left us too quickly and for whom I have an unfailing admiration.
Read more on what made Stu Ungar a special poker player here.
Phil Hellmouth is quite simply my worst poker memory ever! It was against him that I tried a rookie bluff in the 2006 WSOP NLH 5K final table, known as the “Little Big One” at the time.
He paid me off with King High and I still blame myself for being such a chicken and not going all-in on that bluff, the only move that would have gotten me out of this. We learn from our mistakes so thank you, Poker Brat!
Lots of memories with this compatriot Canadian, especially through the events of the days of the PokerStars team, the shoots of commercials that turned into giggles.
I admire Daniel both his consistency and his love of the game, still intact after so many years, and his fair play which we saw yet another example recently when he lost his heads-up duel to Doug Polk.
Some would have gone off in insults, not Daniel, who was remarkably calm even after this loss.
A neighbor of a building in Monaco for a few years, Patrick is as a shy man in life as he is aggressive at the poker tables, which is to say how shy he is!
I first met him in a nightclub in Las Vegas, I admire his game and the way he has adapted it over the years.
I have so many fond memories with Dave Ulliot that I could have devoted this article just to that!
He often went out with us ACF employees and he regularly went on to grab a guitar and start singing at the club restaurant! A rocker in soul and in attitude and a very high class.
He is one character that I miss so much today. It is probably thanks to him that my career was launched in two stages.
The first time in Amsterdam when I played my first real live event and where he gave me valuable advice on the first break after seeing me for two hours at his table: “Open your game, be more aggressive and take more risks!” he told me.
I listened to him religiously and adapted my game. I finished 2nd in this tournament which literally gave me wings!
The second vivid memory with Paul was in Los Angeles. He and Gus Hansen invited me to collaborate with them at a book on poker theory that admittedly never saw the light of day, but gave birth to my “No Mercy” era style of play following my WPT victory!
I could go on for hours on end to recount all my poker memories and all the people who created them, but space is lacking.
Looking forward to the next few years with future live encounters…
Meet me at the tables on CoinPoker to practice your skills and enjoy the action. Open yourself a CoinPoker account today.
Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier
WPT Winner & OFC “Progressive” World Champion