September 22, 2023 3 min read


Poker Player Lies about Colon Cancer to Get WSOP Buy-in

A 37-year-old poker player from Vallejo, California didn’t bat an eye when he lied about having terminal colon cancer to his online following, funding his buy-in the World Series of Poker Main Event

Rob Mercer raised $12,500 from his GoFundMe page and may have received as much as $18,000 in private donations to help him attend the Main Event before he “passed away,” as his diagnosis offered no chance of survival. Mercer seems to not be worried about the social consequences of his actions, he told The Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this week.

Honest about His Poker Intentions

In the interview with the publication, Mercer stated that he had no intention to actually give any of the money back. The Las Vegas Review-Journal was actually one of the first media outlets to first fall victim to Mercer’s sob story.

“I did lie about having colon cancer. I don’t have colon cancer. I used that to cover my situation,” Mercer told the publication. He acknowledged that his actions were wrong, but he said that he would not really be looking to return the money for reasons he was happy to clarify. It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing.

His GoFundMe page did not really lie about what the money would be used for, for one, and he did not lie about his motivation behind the fundraiser. He wanted to attend the Main Event and described himself as someone who played poker semi-professionally.

The player went on to add how he received his diagnosis out of the blue and had in all likelihood less than two years to live. He then shared his lifelong ambition to play at the Main Event at the World Series of Poker, and asked anyone who was compassionate to help him fulfil this dream.

Maybe… Ill After All

But Mercer may not be healthy after all. Although some of his donors started insisting on him muster further proof of his diagnosis, the player said that he was indeed diagnosed with cancer – breast cancer, which for a man is a rare and “embarrassing” condition, according to the disgraced player.

So, Mercer told the publication, that he would not really be returning the money simply because the original premise was there – he was indeed ill. He added that the only reason for him lying to his backers was that he felt uncomfortable telling them about the supposed breast cancer.

He was ill, but he still wanted to fulfil his dream in case anything bad happened to him and he died because of his disease, the player reasoned. However, the publication was not able to confirm nor deny whether Mercer had indeed been diagnosed with breast cancer.

As to Mercer’s dream? He didn’t really make it that far, as he dropped out only after a few hours of play.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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