This amateur poker player’s bluff blew up in his face.
Poker player Rob Mercer lied his way to thousands of dollars by falsely claiming he had terminal cancer in hopes of receiving enough donations to enter the World Series of Poker tournament this summer.
Mercer, of California, admitted he shamefully concocted the fib during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal Tuesday, but made clear he had no plans to return any of the donations he received — estimated to be at least $30,000.
The 37-year-old started a GoFundMe account in June so he could fulfill his dream of competing in the WSOP $10,000 buy-in for No-limit Hold’em World Championship in July.
“I did lie about having colon cancer. I don’t have colon cancer. I used that to cover my situation,” Mercer told the newspaper in the bombshell confession.
“What I did was wrong. I shouldn’t have told people I have colon cancer. I did that just as a spur-of-the-moment thing when someone asked me what kind of cancer I had.”
Rob Mercer, the poker player who raised thousands of dollars after lying about a terminal illness, says he will not return the money donated to him.PokerFlops / Youtube
He raised about $12,500 from the fundraising page and received other private donations, including a free suite at the Bellagio.
Among the donors was Cody Daniels, who actually deals with chronic illness.
“Well I learned a $2,500 lesson,” Daniels tweeted Wednesday. “Sadly, my kindness was taken for weakness once again. Just a shame. That’s all I can say. Hopefully gofundme peeps get their money back. Just sad sad sad.”
Mercer told the Review-Journal he has no plans to give back the money because he thinks he has undiagnosed breast cancer and the donations were originally made because he said he was sick.
Mercer raised just over $12,000 on his GoFundMe page.Gofundme
Mercer was eliminated from the World Series of Poker within hours.Getty Images for World Series of Poker (WSOP)
Other poker players who helped Mercer now feel duped even as their suspicion grew leading up to Tuesday’s confession.
“He’s still a human being and you need to care about every person on the planet regardless of what a big piece of cheese they could be,” Hustler Casino Live poker streamer Nick Vertucci told the newspaper.
“I don’t want the kid to have cancer. Ultimately, I’d rather him just be a bad person.”
Mercer said he lied about colon cancer because he was embarrassed to tell others he might have breast cancer.
Mercer was eliminated from the tourney a few hours in and has essentially been banished from the poker community since the lies came to light.
“They’re making me out to be some kind of monster, like this vindictive villain who planned this months in advance,” Mercer reportedly said. “It’s just crazy. But I understand. I get it.”