One of the most successful tournament poker players in history is parting ways with online gambling platform PokerStars.
Five-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Jason Mercier announced Sunday that his contract with PokerStars has expired and that it won’t be renewed. He cited his wife, fellow poker player Natasha Mercier, and three-month-old son as the reasons.
“My contract was set to expire at the end of 2017, and I wasn’t sure what exactly was going to happen there,” Mercier wrote in a statement posted to PokerStars’ website. “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?”
According to the 31-year-old Mercier, the conversation regarding his contract “was short and sweet.” He added that there weren’t any “hard feelings.”
“I was a PokerStars Pro for eight and a half wonderful years,” he said. “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.”
His announcement came just days after Vanessa Selbst, the most successful female tournament player in history, deciding to stop playing poker full-time. Her PokerStars sponsorship also ended. Mercier stressed that he will still try to add to his Hall of Fame-worthy poker resume. One of the standards for induction into the prestigious club is “standing the test of time.”
“Just to be clear, I’m not retiring from poker by any means,” he said. Selbst, on the other hand, said she is going to try her hand at a hedge fund and continue playing poker as a hobby.
With more than $18 million in lifetime tournament winnings, Mercier, a Florida native, sits within the top-20 on Card Player’s all-time leader board.
Despite the departures of Selbst and Mercier, PokerStars still sponsors more than two dozen players, including Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Bertrand Grospellier, Liv Boeree, Jason Somerville and Barry Greenstein.