Jason Mercier Bracelet Bet vs. Vanessa Selbst

jbutler

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So Jason booked a bet with Vanessa months ago in which she laid him 180:1 (Poker News reports that it's Vanessa's $1.8MM to Jason's $10K) that he would not win 3 bracelets during this year's WSOP. He's binked one so far and is currently sitting first in chips in the final 9 at the $10K Razz event.

Vanessa and a few others have been relentless on Twitter arguing that he should let her buy out of the bet because she was drunk when she booked the bet. Here is how Vanessa describes the relevant events:

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I haven't seen anyone disagree strongly with the core facts she presents above. She has evidently recently attempted to buyout for $100K and Jason declined.

It's beyond me that anyone would think that Jason is somehow morally or ethically compelled to let her buyout for any amount other than one he expects to be at worst neutral EV for him. People are all over this talking about her risk of ruin, but she has likely sold a ton of the action off at this point and, if not, would certainly be able to if he actually does bink bracelet number 2.

FWIW this is apparently one in a number of big money bracelet bets Jason has booked for this series. Among others, Negreanu has talked about Jason's bets this year are giving him Ivey bracelet bet deja vu. If nothing else, it will make the $10K Razz final table a fucking sweatfest and it will keep people watching Jason for the rest of the series.

2+2 Thread on the bet(s) here. Bits about the Jason bet specifically are later in the thread.
Vanessa's Twitter here and Jason's here. Click through to "Tweets & replies" for both for the full exchanges.
WSOP $10K Razz final table updates here.
Poker Strategy article on the bets here.
Additional Poker News article here.
 
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jbutler

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And the $10K Razz is down to the final table of 8 players (@Puggy you have a fellow Finn in there :)). Chip counts below.

They are at 12K/24K/3K, so Jason is not only the chip leader, but has 66 big bets which is just massive. Of course, Racener has 48 bets and Dehkharghani has 34, so they are easily in contention as well, but this will be a hell of a final table sweat for Vanessa's side. Live stream starts at 2pm Vegas time today.

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Marius L

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This makes it more fun sweating the razz final table at least!
 

jbutler

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I really dislike Selbst, don't really know why. Hoping Jason gets two more braclets.

Her attitude and demeanor are pretty irritating to me as well, but she is obv insanely skilled. But yeah, I hope Jason hits two more just because she's handled this like such a little bitch. Total LOL at that she "expected him to be more compassionate". Ridiculous.

Too bad it's VS. If I were Mercier and win, I'd prefer some of the other players owing me a million +

I would say in terms of ability to collect - particularly given the public nature of this whole thing - Vanessa is in the top 3% of players I would trust to pay. The vast majority I would expect to at least try to negotiate a lower payout.
 

jbutler

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Although I did notice that Jason has a bible verse reference in his Twitter bio:

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Hopefully he's referencing an as yet unpublished Ivey book, but I have a feeling its Philipians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Looks like Jason is the one getting freerolled after all.
 

Ghoti

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Haven't read all that stuff yet, but pretty funny--you know she made the bet thinking she had an edge, possibly a big one. Now the edge starts to wander in the other direction and all of a sudden it's unethical if he doesn't let her buy out. Solid logic.
 

courage

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She's very talented but irritating and prideful and in this case a whiny bitch.

If I were Mercier and binked Razz I'd offer a buyout for half. lol 100k.
 

Mr Tree

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I'd have a lot more sympathy for her if she wasn't, you know, a professional gambler.

Think she would let some of her opponents in the poker arena take back some of their regrettable bets?

Suck it up Sally.

For what it's worth I love the bet for Mercier before you even consider how he's done this year. How many events are remaining and I wonder what an equitable buyout would actually be if he snags #2 at razz?
 

jbutler

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She's very talented but irritating and prideful and in this case a whiny bitch.

If I were Mercier and binked Razz I'd offer a buyout for half. lol 100k.

If he binks Razz I would say a buyout for half would be about right. I think he'd be about even money if he commits to playing a full schedule of all the small field events and I'm certain he will do that if he's one bracelet away from $1.8MM.

Can't wait to root for him tonight.
 

keshaldra

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I remember reading about this, but I thought the bet was that Dmitry couldn't do it, not Jason?

Ahh, I see she wagered both.
 

jbutler

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I remember reading about this, but I thought the bet was that Dmitry couldn't do it, not Jason?

Ahh, I see she wagered both.

Which doesn't do much to help her argument.

"You see, I was very drunk and hadn't considered how dumb such a bet might be."
"Why'd you get so drunk."
"Because I'd woken up remembering this really dumb bet I'd made the previous night and wanted not to think about it."
 

jbutler

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@jbutler

Serious question. If you're drunk, can you (legally) enter a binding contract (bet) with someone? Or is "legally binding" not really the issue here?

I'm not being a smart ass, genuinely curious.

Quick non-boring (but also obv non-exhaustive) answer: no if the other party was aware you were drunk, but if the complaining party had a regular practice of entering into and collecting or paying off bets made while drunk then that past practice could be deemed a waiver.
 

Ben

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180-1 seems hugely +EV for Vanessa to begin with (maybe I'm wrong, but I would guess true odds more like 500-1.) Now that he looks to have a shot of actually doing it, expecting a buyout is just ridiculous.
 

jbutler

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180-1 seems hugely +EV for Vanessa to begin with (maybe I'm wrong, but I would guess true odds more like 500-1.) Now that he looks to have a shot of actually doing it, expecting a buyout is just ridiculous.

I think you're probably right, but regardless of the true EV, imo it's a dumb bet. How much does her life improve upon winning $10k. Literally not at all. How much does it suck to lose $1.8MM. It sucks a LOT.
 

Mr Tree

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I think you're probably right, but regardless of the true EV, imo it's a dumb bet. How much does her life improve upon winning $10k. Literally not at all. How much does it suck to lose $1.8MM. It sucks a LOT.
THIS is why I love the bet for Mercier regardless of EV. Losing $10K to him is small potatoes. Winning $1.8 M is meaningful. And while he definitely was never likely to win the bet it was never out of the realm of possibility.
 

jbutler

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THIS is why I love the bet for Mercier regardless of EV. Losing $10K to him is small potatoes. Winning $1.8 M is meaningful. And while he definitely was never likely to win the bet it was never out of the realm of possibility.

Yeah this is how I've been thinking about it too. The upside is just so big for him and it does nothing but increase his motivation to achieve professional goals that he should be shooting for anyway.

One of the wealthiest people I know personally still buys $10 in Powerball tickets every week.
 

lnlver

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At this point in time, she could probably buy an insurance policy from Lloyd's of London for about $900,000.
 

jbutler

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At this point in time, she could probably buy an insurance policy from Lloyd's of London for about $900,000.

Right now I'd say Jason is maybe 25% to take the Razz bracelet and close to a flip to win another since there's so much time left in the summer. I would think a fair buy out figure before the table gets started is in the range of $225k.

But then again, I didn't think her previous offer of $100k buy out was unreasonably low and he obviously did, so obviously Jason thinks pulling 3 is more likely than I do.
 

lnlver

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I based my figure on a payout of $1,800,000. Is this the correct payout amount? (I was being slightly facetious.)
 
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