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An amateur poker player said he had terminal cancer to raise money to enter the World Series of Poker Main Event.
He now is admitting he was lying about his diagnosis.
Poker Player Lies About Cancer
37-year-old Rob Mercer from Vallejo, California, came out in June and said he had cancer in an effort to raise money, which he needed to buy into the World Series of Poker main event, which took place in Las Vegas in July, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Mercer created a GoFundMe to raise money. Because of his story, he touched many fans, whom, in turn, donated money to the poker player. In the end, he reportedly earned between $30,000 and $50,000, which allowed him to enter the tournament.
Fans began questioning the poker player’s diagnosis due to his behavior in the July event. He reportedly provided vague responses to questions about his cancer diagnosis and failed to provide proof of his alleged terminal colon cancer diagnosis.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal also reported that several people saw Mercer gambling in a casino, where many approached him about his behavior, which, in turn, Mercer to become defensive.
Rob Mercer Admits He Lied About Cancer Diagnosis
Mercer eventually admitted to lying about his cancer diagnosis, telling the Review-Journal, “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.”
This confession comes three months after the poker tournament, which took place in July.
Mercer went on to admit, although he was not formally diagnosed, he does believe he has undiagnosed breast cancer and made up the colon cancer story because he was embarrassed to say he was dealing with a cancer disease not as commonly found in men.
“I did lie about having colon cancer,” Mercer admitted. “I don’t have colon cancer. I used that to cover my situation.”
Because he believes he has breast cancer, the poker player says he has no intentions of returning the money he gained through his GoFundMe.
“At the end of the day I lied to a lot of people because I was scared to tell the truth,” Mercer said. “And I guess I’ll have to pay for that.”
Mercer Faces Backlash
Following his apology, fans took to social media to express their disgust.
“So @WSOP or @gofundme please tell me you’re going to do something about this!!!! There are people who truly need help. This lying piece of 💩 needs to understand the impact he had in pulling this stunt. (1/?),” one fan wrote.
As one user asked, “Do you think the actions of poker player Rob Mercer, lying about having terminal cancer to raise $30,000 for a tournament, deserve forgiveness or should they face severe consequences for their deception and misuse of funds?”
While one user Tweeted, “This amateur poker player’s bluff blew up in his face.”
And one fan called him “disgusting”, writing, “As an actual poker player/dealer that has survived colon cancer this guy is absolutely disgusting & a disgrace to the poker community.”
Mercer said he does not plan to play poker again due to “his deteriorating health”.