Isabelle Mercier

They don’t call her ‘No Mercy’ for nothing. The more attractive
face of Poker Stars offers up her tips for global poker dominance

I hate slow people who take 10 minutes to fold

You need to work on concentration because it’s hard and draining to play live tournaments for up to 12 hours a day, several days in a row. It’s diffi cult to keep your focus during every hand and not think about something else during the tournament, but you should never let this happen. The key is to play every single hand the best you can, stay focused the whole way and observe your opponents continually, even when you’re not in the hand.

One of the key elements in today’s poker is aggressiveness. Everyone thought a comment like this was crazy four years ago, but it’s no coincidence that the aggressive players win time and again. Aggressive play has moved the game forward and the level is going up now everyone has become super-aggressive. Never let anyone get anything for free. If you’re not the aggressor at the table it’s only because you’re setting a trap for weaker players. You must be aggressive when you have cards, and you must be aggressive when you have position.

It’s essential you prepare mentally before competing. Spend time focusing and visualise yourself winning. Sometimes I go to the table and feel so strongly that I’m invincible that I become invincible. I project the image out so strongly that everybody else feels it. The more effect this has on your opponents, the more it feeds the feeling. It’s not arrogance – no one likes arrogance – but you need a great self-belief to take on table after table and come out on top.

Poker is a game of information so you really have to be observant. Live play gives you so many opportunities to gather information on your opponents – information that will help you make the right decisions. I think by wearing sunglasses and listening to iPods you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage, as you can’t hear what’s going on around you and you can’t use your eyes to get people to do what you want them to do. To only focus on your cards is like ignoring 50 percent of the game. If you want to succeed against other players, you need to know more about them than they do about you.

Y I strongly recommend doing physical training on a regular basis to help withstand the fatigue you feel when sitting and playing for long hours. I like to go to the gym and run – as soon as I arrive at a casino hotel, that’s where I go. I also take a long time to get ready before a tournament. It takes me two hours! I relax, take a long bath and think about what I want to happen once I arrive at my table.

I hate very slow people who take 10 minutes to fold. When someone actually goes on to play a hand, that’s okay, but slow players misunderstand the concept that it’s good to take your time. Make your decision and act upon it. Your initial instincts about a hand are generally correct. If you think for too long you can convince yourself to play hands you shouldn’t.

In cash games you must be more disciplined and patient. There’s no room for gambling in cash games – it’s not worth it. If you’re going to play cash, you have to accept that you just have to wait. Even if I have to spend nine hours I’m going to build my stack. That’s why I win almost every game, because I’m superserious about it.

Pin It

Comments are closed.