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Ask anyone who’s anyone about what the most popular card game is right now and they’ll answer Open-Faced Chinese Poker. One of the player’s most public in his love for the game is Jason Mercier. The American has played in some of the biggest games in the world and is known to be one of the best Open-Faced Chinese Poker players around. “I’ll play anyone in any form,” says Mercier to me in a London hotel suite on the eve of the Premier League.

And there’s a few people in the group of 16 who like a game so he might get some takers.“ If I can get Daniel Negreanu and Scott Seiver to play then it’s possible I’ll be gambling bigger off the table than on it. Phil Hellmuth plays too so maybe we can get a four handed game going.”

And Mercier isn’t fussy when it comes to playing Open-Face just as long as he’s playing. “I don’t really mind if it’s heads-up, three handed or four handed. I just really like to play.”

Cash plays

Despite the recent addition of Open-Face tournaments at many major festivals, Mercier isn’t their biggest fan. “I think it’s better as a cash game, I think there’s a lot of kinks that need to be worked out as far as making it into a decent structured tournament, right now it needs to be played as a cash game. Open-Face has an element of gambling that you don’t see in any other game, it’s unique, having it not solved and pretty much unsolvable makes it a lot of fun as well.

As for the Premier League, Mercier says: “I’d like to be in the same half as Phil Hellmuth, he’s very fun to have at the table, he makes everything interesting, he talks a lot and creates a unique dynamic at the table, so it should be fun if he’s in my heat.

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