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Poker player who lied about having cancer won't refund donations

The man said he made up a stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis on a GoFundMe page to raise buy-in money for the World Series of Poker.
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Posted at 11:05 AM, Sep 25, 2023

A poker player who said he had terminal cancer and accepted thousands of dollars in donations so he could play in a World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas now admits it was all a lie.

Rob Mercer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he made up a stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis for his GoFundMe page in June, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

Mercer, of Vallejo, California, was trying to raise enough funds to meet the $10,000 buy-in for the No-limit Hold'em World Championship. He received contributions worth between $30,000 and $50,000, including a stay at a suite in the Bellagio. Even a fellow player from Arizona who suffers from chronic illness donated $2,500.

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“I’m sorry for not being honest about what my situation was. If I would have done that from Day One, who knows what would have happened," Mercer told the newspaper.

However, the 37-year-old says he won't be refunding anyone because he believes he has undiagnosed breast cancer.

He said he has been more or less banished from the poker community.