Father’s Day couldn’t have been any better for Rick Mercier and his poker-playing son, Jason, of Fort Lauderdale.
Jason Mercier, 29, who has often been ranked the No. 1 player in the world, won his second 2016 World Series of Poker tournament Friday, and his fifth WSOP bracelet overall. During the presentation ceremony Sunday, he dedicated it to his father, Rick.
Having a poker-playing son hasn’t always been easy, Rick and his wife, Dottie, acknowledge. Jason, a good student and athlete at Sheridan Hills School in Hollywood, played so much poker (5,500 hands a day on PokerStars.net) while at Florida Atlantic University he dropped out of school. That, naturally, didn’t sit well with his parents, active Christians who describe their home as “blue-collar.” They politely told him he could either get a job and live at home or get his own place if he pursued poker. (He did.)
Mercier, though, proved exceptional at poker. Since 2008, he has won $17 million in tournaments. Rick Mercier notes that Jason was always good at strategic games such as chess and scored 35 out of 36 on his ACT test.
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Mercier’s hot streak in Vegas has been in games other than Texas Hold ’em. This month he has notched a $273,335 score for winning in 2-7 Draw Lowball, $168,936 for finishing second in Seven-Card Razz and $422,874 in H.O.R.S.E. (a mix of poker games, not shooting baskets). Each tournament cost $10,000 to enter.
Mercier, who loves proposition bets and sports gambling — he had the Cleveland Cavaliers to win it all — stands to make another $1.8 million should he win a third bracelet. He offered 180-1 action on the prop bet, and noted poker pro Vanessa Selbst is now sweating out what looked like a sure $10,000 win.
More WSOP winners
Meanwhile, another successful South Florida poker player and two young thoroughbreds have earned champions’ bracelets so far at the World Series of Poker, which consists of 69 events in Las Vegas.
Robert Mizrachi, originally from Sunny Isles Beach, earned $242,692 after finishing atop an 87-player field in the seven-card stud event in Las Vegas. Mizrachi, 37, has won four WSOP bracelets in his career.
Alan Percal, an actuary who graduated in 2011 from Cypress Bay High in Weston, won the heads-up championship and $320,574. Percal, 23, works for Humana. Sam Soverel, 25, from West Palm Beach, won the 1,106-player Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, and $183,317. Both have extensive tournament experience.
The main event begins July 9 and ESPN airs the action on a tape delay. The tournament plays down to nine players, who reconvene on Oct. 31, with the final two vying live on Nov. 1.
$141,020 for losing hand
The Palm Beach Kennel Club is one of the few card rooms still running bad-beat promotions, and June 14 was one of those rare days that produced a big payout.
Ronald B. Zimmerman III was the big winner, when his four jacks lost to a player with quad kings in a $2-$5 no-limit Texas Hold ’em game. Zimmerman received $141,020, the customary 50 percent of the prize pool.
The unidentified winner received $70,510 and the five other players at the table took home $14,102. For those following the action, Zimmerman held Jacks to his opponent’s Kings, and the board contained A-K-K-J-J.
The kennel club’s record jackpot was $504,833, paid out on Sept. 23, 2012.
Miccosukee Resort & Gaming gives away an Infinity at midnight Saturday. For those who already have a car they like, there’s a $22,000 cash option.
The Isle Casino in Pompano Beach gives away a Fiat 500 at 11 p.m. Saturday. Winners can also opt for $13,500 in cash.
Calder Casino gives away at Nissan Maxima at 9 p.m. Saturday. Other patrons can win up to $10,000.
Howard J. Davis’ Fight Time Promotions, consisting of mixed martial arts matches, comes to Stage 305 at Magic City Casino at 8 p.m. Friday. General tickets are $55 or $65; ringside table seats are $131. Go to fighttimepromotions.com or call 786-543-1177.
Thursdays are guest appreciation days at Hialeah Park. Slot players who earn at least one point receive $5 to $20 in free play, depending on their card level.
Roberto Torres performs at Casino Miami at 9 p.m. Saturday. Meanwhile, new patrons who sign up for the casino’s Viva Club card receive at least $25 in free play.
Get daily gambling news at SouthFloridaGambling.com