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Selbst, Mercier go back-to-back at NAPT Mohegan Sun

15 April 2011

(PRESS RELEASE) -- In professional sports, defending your title is a matter of pride and glory. But in poker, it’s notoriously difficult to do. Incredibly, though, this week Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Selbst and Jason Mercier both managed to successfully defend the titles they won last year at the PokerStars North American Poker Tour Mohegan Sun event.

Vanessa Selbst
First up was Selbst, who late on Wednesday night – exactly one year and two days after winning the inaugural NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event – was once again posing for her winner’s photos behind a mountain of chips.

Selbst, who is studying law at Yale and lives in New Haven, Connecticut, topped a 387-player field en route to claiming her second NAPT Mohegan Sun title, which came with $450,000 in prize money.

As last year’s event was the first ever, it means that she is still the only person to have won the NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event. More significantly, she is also the first player to have multiple NAPT Main Event titles to their name.

“For some reason, Connecticut and poker agrees with me,” said a delighted Selbst. “It’s so incredible, I can’t even describe it. Every time I leave law school to go and play a poker tournament, I have a joke that my friends expect me to win because I’ve literally won every tournament that I’ve played in Connecticut the past two years.”

Asked how the repeat victory feels in comparison to the first, Selbst stated: “I have no words to describe how I feel right now. To be able to defend the title is amazing. They both meant tremendous things for different reasons.”

Jason Mercier
But Team PokerStars wasn’t finished there. One night later, Jason Mercier headed back to the final table of the $10,000 Bounty Shootout event, with his defence of the title on the line. Just as Selbst did the previous evening, the Team PokerStars Pro managed to finish off the job and take home $246,600, which included $64,000 in Bounty prizes. He defeated the newest member of Team PokerStars Pro, Eugene Katchalov, heads-up.

It was Mercier’s tenth major tournament victory in a poker career which only begun three years ago. Asked how he achieves such consistency, a phlegmatic Mercier explained: “There is no real secret to it – I just try to make the right plays and do the best I can.”

A winning pair
For both players, these wins are just the latest in a string of incredible results. Between them, Selbst and Mercier have racked up more than $10 million in cashes and 17 tournament titles in just five years.

Selbst became big news when she won a 2008 World Series of Poker* bracelet in a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event, beating a field of 759 and picking up $227,993. In the same month, she almost took the $10,000 Championship Heads-Up event too, coming third for $108,288.

Since then, there’s been a fourth place at the EPT London High Roller event for $226,910, plus an impressive three outright wins: at a 2008 World Poker Finals $1,850 No Limit Hold’em event, for $115,000; last year’s NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event; and her biggest money win so far, an amazing $1,800,000 at the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event in France late last year. Selbst now has over $4,000,000 in live tournament winnings.

Mercier’s story isn’t too dissimilar. The 24-year-old from Florida came to prominence when he won the EPT San Remo event in 2008 for €869,000. From then on, his hot streak has never really ended. He won the EPT London High Roller in 2008 for £516,000, a 2009 World Series of Poker* bracelet in a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event, which was good for $237,462, and a first place in an EPT London side event for £115,800 in 2009. This was followed by his Mohegan Sun Bounty Shootout success last year for $475,000 and his latest title again this week. In total, Mercier has amassed more than $5.5 million in live tournament winnings over just three years.

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