Expectant mother Natasha Mercier adjusting and contending at WSOP Main Event

13 July 2017

LAS VEGAS – Twenty-eight weeks into her first pregnancy, Natasha Mercier is battling fatigue, her ever-changing hormones and a fickle appetite, just like any other expectant mother.

The difference between Mercier and most other women in her condition? She's not only going through her third trimester while sitting on the biggest stage of her profession, but she's doing it quite well. And as her chip stack continues to mount at the 48th annual World Series of Poker Main Event during Thursday's Day 3 play at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, so too does the pressure, the stress and the attention of ESPN cameras.

"It's been a wild ride," a beaming Mercier told Casino City. "I'm just trying to keep my emotions in check and try to play my game. But being pregnant while playing the Main has definitely been a different experience. That's for sure."

Fortunately, the physical and emotional transformations seem to have led to better results. Mercier has 18 WSOP cashes in her career, including six this summer, but she has never been in the money in the Main Event. On Thursday afternoon, mid-way through Level 12 began, she sat in 20th place out of the remaining 1,800 or so players, with more 560,000 chips.

She's thriving despite the fact that she's doing some things at the table that she typically would never do.

"Oh, yes, the hormones have gotten the better of me a few times," she said with a big laugh. "I had one meltdown at the table when somebody said something to me, and that's typically not something that would happen to me. I had to go away to the bathroom to cry and come back.

"I've found myself saying some things that I've never said before. I've bluffed a couple of times when maybe I shouldn't have. But this is poker. Sometimes it works out, even when you aren't supposed to do it."

Her success in the Main Event has added an exclamation point to what has been a whirlwind 12 months for Mercier. Last summer, her boyfriend and fellow poker pro, Jason Mercier, proposed to her at the table after she finished third in a $5,000 No-Limit event for a career-best cash of $348,374. At the time, Jason, a PokerStars.com pro, was having a summer for the ages by capturing two bracelets and cashing in 11 events overall on his way to winning the 2016 WSOP Player of the Year. The couple got married in November and announced Natasha was pregnant with their son in March.

Jason Mercier has found himself thinking about more than just his own chip stack during the WSOP this summer.

Jason Mercier has found himself thinking about more than just his own chip stack during the WSOP this summer.

"It's been just an unbelievable year," said Natasha, a native of Lebanon whose maiden name is Barbour. "We got married. We moved into a new house. I'm pregnant. Everything is just so new to us. But we're enjoying every minute."

Jason, who ranks 13th on the all-time earnings list with more than $18 million in career poker earnings, was clinging on with 80,000 chips during Level 12 of the Main Event as he tried to secure the 67th WSOP cash of his career. But predictably, he has been thinking about more than just his own chip stack.

"Yeah, it can be distracting knowing that Natasha is out there somewhere playing while carrying our son," he admitted. "I know she's a great player, but I've been more concerned about her mental state. These are long days. It's the end of the summer. She's been playing a lot of events and logging a lot of hours at the table."

Natasha said that she discussed her WSOP schedule with both Jason and her doctors and decided she would still play in as many events, with the promise that she would pay extra attention to hydrating and to going home at night and resting.

"Sadly, no partying late night for us this year," she said with a wide smile.

"It's tough during the summer because I'm playing long hours too," added Jason. "There's definitely been some times when I've busted out of a tournament and instead of going to play cash games I've gone home to hang out with her and relax and get some time away. It's been an adjustment for both of us.

"But the plan is for Natasha to keep running hot and win the Main Event. Then our son can say he was right there and can lay claim to the youngest winner ever. That would be quite a story."

Related Links
World Series of Poker Gaming Vendor Information
PokerStars Site Details
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Details
Nevada Gambling
Ranked Online Poker Rooms

Featured Vendors
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Casino Network
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Specializing in the creation of best-of-breed gaming graphics - slot glass, sign faces, and more
Casino Network
20+ years experience selling refurbished slot machines, parts & glass for all major brands
Kallop
Plastic Card ID
Kallop
Reward every play like a VIP with exclusive luxury brands at affordable prices.
Plastic Card ID
The World’s Lowest Prices on Printed Plastic Cards and Card Printers!
Casino City Press
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
Casino City Press
A leading publisher and distributor of casino and gaming business data and market research reports.
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
The biggest little show in Indian gaming! Save the date: Aug 9-11, 2022 in Tulsa!
Casino Schedule Ease
Imagine This
Casino Schedule Ease
Get a 90-Day Free Trial of 100% contactless, customizable table game & full casino scheduling
Imagine This
Imagine This #1 Source for Player Gifts. Over $50 million in stock ready to ship! Let us serve you!
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
With over 800 tables in 150+ casinos, EZ Baccarat is the number one brand in baccarat.
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
Leader in creating award winning player & employee loyalty programs & events proven to increase ROI
Slot Machines Unlimited
Broadband Hospitality
Slot Machines Unlimited
Exporter of IGT, Williams, AVP, Trimline, Aristocrat, Konami, Bally, & parts over 20 yrs experience
Broadband Hospitality
Improve these critical guest-facing amenities: In-room TV, Wi-Fi, Mobile App. Priced right. All here
TOP ONE TECH LIMITED
TribalHub
TOP ONE TECH LIMITED
GLOBAL TOUCH SOLUTION PARTNER OF CHOICE,10+ years OEM manufacturing,100+ thousand units application
TribalHub
23rd Annual TribalNet Conference Sept 12-15, 2022 Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, NV
.Dot-iGaming.com
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
.Dot-iGaming.com
Fully loaded advanced casino platform. One time (low) fee, 100% your property, start now!
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
Your one stop shop for all your gaming and OEM needs!
TDN Money Systems
AmericanChecked
TDN Money Systems
Cage, cash/chip handling experts representing CountR, ARCA, AccuCASH, Fujitsu & NCR
AmericanChecked
Background checks for the gaming industry with key & non-key packages & fingerprinting solutions
Global Gaming Expo (G2E)
Global Gaming Expo (G2E)
The largest gathering of global, commercial and tribal gaming professionals in North America.


Your Guide to 15,523 Gaming Industry Suppliers