Vanessa Selbst Is Having Serious Regrets About Her Massive Prop Bet

3 years ago
Vanessa Selbst Regrets
16 Jun


She made a mistake… or make that two in a three-day span back in January 2016. Both involved massive prop bets against two poker players and the possibility to win three World Series of Poker bracelets in one summer. And now, having the sweat of her life, she regrets them.

Of course, we are actually talking about Vanessa Selbst and her crazy bets, one against Dzmitry Urbanovich who gave him 200-to-1 odds to win three gold bracelets and the other against Jason Mercier. The $2M prop bet against the Polish rising poker star is old and not really that interesting since he has never quite threatened Selbst so far. The other however, the 180-to-1 bet against Mercier is much more interesting and could have turned into a real nightmare for Vanessa if one Ray Dehkharghani wouldn’t have denied J-Merc heads-up. Yet the bet did leave some deep wounds that may never be healed between the once good friends. So what really happened? And what’s the beef between Selbst and Mercier?

Selbst Wanted To Buy Out For $100,000, Mercier Refused

Several days ago, after winning the 2-7 Draw Lowball No Limit Championship, Mercier revealed that he made a $1.8 million prop bet with Selbst. Basically, if Mercier wins three WSOP events this summer, he will get $1.8 million, if he doesn’t, he will have to pay Selbst $10,000.

Vanessa wasn’t quite happy his ‘friend’ bragged about the bet and tired of hearing the same old ‘what a stupid bet you made’ story she tweeted out:

Extremely drunk? Sober? Buy out? What is Vanessa talking about? Well, apparently she made both prop bets while being drunk at the Poker Caribbean Adventure, back in January of 2016. After dealing with Urbanovich and realizing what a mistake she had done - although she did brag about it - she got drunk again and tried the same therapy this time with a much experienced tournament player in Mercier. The following day, she tried to buy out for $1,000 but Jason wanted to hear none of that.

Fast forward after Mercier won the 2-7 No Limit Draw Championship, Selbst approached Mercier once more and this time she made a more ‘generous’ buy out amount of $100,000. J-Merc again refused. You can read the whole story from Vanessa’s point of view in the tweets below:

Mercier didn’t like what he heard and reacted immediately on Twitter saying Selbst is grossly exaggerating the facts and she should take responsibility of her actions, drunk or not drunk.

Amidst all this turmoil, the four-time WSOP bracelet winner was closing in on his second summer title at Event #20: $10,000 Seven Card Razz Championship. He reached the final table and the heads-up play against fellow pro from Kansas Ray Dehkharghani. Can you imagine Vanessa’s anti-sweat session?

Mercier Loses Heads-Up But Did The Stress Affect Him?

Fortunately for Selbst though, Mercier lost the heads-up battle with Dehkharghani and a big chance to make the second half of the WSOP really, really interesting for all poker enthusiasts. He even had a 2-to-1 chip advantage heads-up but in the end it was Dehkharghani that won the gold bracelet. After the tourney, the bracelet winner had some interesting thoughts about his heads-up opponent. He said all those prop bets actually brought his downfall in the Razz Championship event:

He started off as an underdog, and did very well early, and had me down about 2 to 1. Then, when he lost his chip lead, it was really clear the stress really set in and affected him. It wasn’t a matter of my capitalizing on that, but I do believe the weight of (the side bets) affected him negatively in the match. It was palpable."

Dehkharghani also added Mercier did become frustrated several times at the final table and he blamed the prop bets for that. J-Merc though said he couldn’t have done more heads-up and didn’t want to talk much about what happened between him and Vanessa Selbst. ‘Different opinions on prop-betting,’ he said after finishing second.

Vanessa on the other hand must have learned a very valuable lesson: never bet against Jason Mercier.

More Side-Betting Action, Mercier Loses Half A Million Dollars

Besides the huge $1.8 million prop bet, Mercier had plenty of side-betting action during his second final table run. He did win $168,936 for his second place but allegedly lost around $500,000 for failing to secure his second gold bracelet of 2016. He now knows it will be very hard for him to take down three events and make WSOP history after being defeated heads-up. The four-time bracelet winner said:

It's almost impossible to win three when you get a second-place because that means you're going to have to get heads-up four times."

He will continue though to chase those two pieces of hardware and register for every huge buy-in, small-field WSOP event. So far, only five poker players managed to win three bracelets in one summer: Puggy Pearson (1973), Phil Hellmuth (1993), Ted Forrest (1993), Phil Ivey (2002) and Jeff Lisandro (2009). Could Jason Mercier be the next?

What do you think? Can J-Merc win the $1.8 million prop bet? Should have he been more sympathetic with Selbst and allow her to buy out? What would you have done in his place? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Florian is a freelance journalist and avid poker player with a strong passion to create unique and appealing stories.He is an experienced researcher on various topics, from business and the financial markets to psychology and the gambling industry.He blogs at more


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