Poker Players Should Have More Compassion When Making Drunk Prop Bets

TAGs: Lee Davy, prop bet

Lee Davy shares his opinion on the Jason Mercier/Vanessa Selbst bracelet bet and believes there should be more compassion when making prop bets with people who aren’t in possession of their full faculties.

How many of us have done something incredibly stupid when drunk?

Ok, you can put your hands down.

I get it.

The reason you all put your hands up I because too much alcohol results in the lowering of inhibitions and this can manifest in far too many ways. Some of us think we are as hard as Olivier Busquet; others believe we are as sexy as Patrik Antonius, and Vanessa Selbst likes to make rather large bracelet bets.

Poker Players Should Have More Compassion When Making Drunk Prop BetsWe all do something that we regret the following day.

And so I have a lot of sympathy for Vanessa Selbst, as you all should, and if I were in her smelly tennis shoes, I wouldn’t be paying Jason Mercier a cent if he won three bracelets.

Zig-zagging my way through Google Alerts, trying with great difficulty to drudge up something worth writing about during this desolate time, I became interested in Marty Derbyshire’s Five Thoughts piece at PokerNews entitled Five Thoughts: Mercier, Selbst, and the Wild World of WSOP Bracelet Bets.

It was a great piece, but I felt Derbyshire missed an important point and felt it needed covering. Unlike Derbyshire I have not spoken to either Mercier or Selbst so this is purely an opinion based on my worldview.

Derbyshire reveals that during the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Selbst was “blackout drunk” when she made the infamous 200:1 bet with her PokerStars stablemate and there were a “dozen witnesses” who could back her up.

The following day, she tried to cancel the bet, offering Mercier a grand and an apology.

Mercier refused the money, and later confessed to Derbyshire that he wasn’t aware Selbst was anywhere near as intoxicated as she claimed when the bet was made.’

I think this response misses the point.

It supposes that had he been aware that she was as drunk as she claimed, things might have been different? And I agree, that makes sense. However, as soon as Selbst tells Mercier she wants to back out of the bet, and gives her reason, then I believe Mercier should have asked for his $10k back, saw that no harm was done, and moved on.

Derbyshire writes that it would have been out of order had Selbst tried to overhype her level of drunkenness to ‘get a better price in buyout negotiations’, or had Mercier took advantage of her drunken state when making the initial bet.

I don’t think any of this matters. As soon as Selbst tells Mercier, she was drunk and made a mistake he should have allowed her to cancel the bet. The amount of money she offered him to buy out of the bet is irrelevant. Had it been me I wouldn’t have accepted a penny. How could I take her money once I knew it was a mistake?

Is money worth it?

Is getting one over someone else worth it?

While I agree with Derbyshire that Mercier ‘has no real responsibility to take care of Selbst when she’s had one too many,’ I do think he has a responsibility to assess the situation, have some understanding and compassion, and let that be the end of it.

There is no ‘cutting her a break’. There is no bet. She wasn’t compos mentis. It all smacks a little like Veruca Salt demanding an Oompa-Loompa, and that’s why I wouldn’t have hedged my bets if I was Selbst. I would have sent his 10k chip in the mail and forgotten all about it.


views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of