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WSOP Main Event: Terminally ill Rob Mercer lives poker dream


Rob Mercer calls himself a no person within the poker world. Only a former semipro midstakes grinder who began enjoying 18 years in the past.

However for just a few hours Thursday, Mercer felt like a star, fulfilling his dream of enjoying within the World Sequence of Poker Foremost Occasion.

“All these individuals rallied round me due to my story. Clearly they really feel one thing for me, and I perceive that,” Mercer stated. “However I haven’t had that sort of love from individuals outdoors my household for a very long time. It feels good to have any individual else outdoors my household put the sort of love and help into me and to know that they’ve my again.”

Mercer was a part of a record-setting area for the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Maintain’em World Championship at Horseshoe Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas.

His entry was made attainable by the generosity of dozens within the poker neighborhood who donated cash. That features Nick Vertucci, the creator and producer of the “Hustler On line casino Stay” poker stream.

Mercer stated he was identified final yr with terminal stage 4 colon most cancers. The 37-year-old resident of Vallejo, California, began a GoFundMe final month in an effort to lift sufficient cash to play the Foremost Occasion and had about $4,000 in donations when he shared his story 2½ weeks in the past on the late-night Twitter Area of Alexander Zisiades, a musician and aspiring poker influencer.

Vertucci occurred to be listening and was impacted by Mercer’s battle.

“I used to be so overwhelmed, I simply bought on the speaker and stated, ‘Hey, it’s booked. I bought you,’” Vertucci stated. “It chokes me up as a result of we stroll round so blessed and we don’t notice it. This child’s combating for his life, so I’m simply so pleased he will get to play.”

Alongside along with his aim of elevating $12,000 on GoFundMe, Mercer acquired further donations to fund his journey. He additionally gained near $9,000 on desk video games and completed seventh in a day by day poker event for an extra $2,300.

That helped ease the sting of being eradicated from the Foremost Occasion earlier than the dinner break Thursday.

“This entire journey is a blessing,” Mercer stated. “I can’t even put it into phrases how a lot it means to me to get me and play the Foremost Occasion, as a result of I’d by no means have been capable of do it by myself.”

Cody Daniels, 28, additionally noticed his want of enjoying within the Foremost Occasion come true throughout Flight 1D on Thursday. He was nonetheless alive on the dinner break.

The resident of Lake Havasu Metropolis, Arizona, suffered a ruptured gut as a baby and spent most of his life within the hospital. Final yr, Daniels performed within the WSOP “Colossus” occasion and was seated subsequent to poker professional Lexy Gavin-Mather.

The 2 talked in regards to the coin Daniels used as a card protector — which was given to him by President Barack Obama throughout a go to to the White Home by way of the Make-A-Want Basis — and remained in touch.

Daniels completed second in a poker pub league in Could, lacking out on a Foremost Occasion seat to his shut good friend. A number of days later, he was invited by Gavin-Mather to a taking pictures of “Poker Evening in America” in Las Vegas.

After listening to Daniels’ story in the course of the present, high-stakes professionals MJ Gonzales and Casey Coughlan donated $5,000 every to place Daniels within the Foremost Occasion. Daniels was invited again three days later, and Gonzales allowed him to play three orbits utilizing his chip stack.

Daniels gained $6,500, and Gonzales allowed him to maintain the cash.

“It made me cry,” Daniels stated.

Vertucci, who met Daniels in the course of the “Poker Evening in America” taping, additionally arrange a charity stream July 23 at Hustler On line casino to lift cash for Daniels.

“It made a dream come true,” Daniels stated of enjoying within the Foremost Occasion, “and I’m excited whether or not I win or lose.”

Contact David Schoen at or 702-387-5203. Comply with @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.


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