The amateur poker player, who said he had terminal cancer to raise money to enter the World Series of Poker Main Event, has now been banned.
Poker Player Lies About Having Cancer
In June, 37-year-old Rob Mercer from Vallejo, California 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.
Mercer created a GoFundMe to raise the money. Many fans donated money to the poker player as they were touched by his. story. In the end, he reportedly earned between $30,000 and $50,000, which allowed him to enter the tournament.
However, Mercer eventually admitted to lying about his cancer diagnosis, telling the Las Vegas 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.”
Fans first 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.
“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.”
Poker Player Now Banned
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?”
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.”
As the news went viral, GoFundMe found out about the hoax, and the poker player has now been banned from GoFundMe. Plus, all of the donations have been refunded.
A spokesperson for GoFundMe told TMZ those who donated to Mercer’s fundraiser have been fully refunded, and he has been banned from using the fundraisng site in the future.
The company stated they have zero tolerance for those who “exploit the generosity of our community,” adding that GoFundMe often works with law enforcement investigations into those “formally accused of wrongdoing.”