After a scandal involving suspected cheating – via linked anal beads – at the highest echelons of chess, it’s poker that is in turn in the spotlight amid strong suspicions of similar practices, says The Independent. And the same method could well be at the heart of this new scandal.
The scene is set in a Los Angeles casino, around a “cash game” table where you arrive with the stake of your choice and leave at your leisure, grow your winnings or we have a few Leave feathers in the shop. Garrett Adelstein, considered one of the best players in the world at this type of table, actually accuses Robbi Jade Lew, one of his opponents, of cheating.
Under Adelstein’s nose and beard, he won a pot (that was the total stake) of $269,000 (or €273,000) thanks to a decision so brazen it couldn’t just raise questions. All filmed and shown live on the internet thanks to an online poker game broadcasting site.
The facts happened when Garrett Adelstein had a 7 of Clubs and an 8 of Clubs, an average hand but one you could play well with, while Robbi Jade Lew had a Jack of Clubs and a 4 of Hearts or a terribly weak hand would have . The moment of the flop came when the first three cards (out of five) on the table were dealt: a 10 of hearts, a 10 of clubs and a 9 of clubs.
Since Adelstein had four consecutive clubs, thanks to his own hand and the cards on the table, the odds of winning became gigantic: it was possible for him to make a straight (five cards in a row), a flush (here five clubs) or even a straight Flush (five clubs in a row) which is an exceptional hand. Lew, she almost didn’t stand a chance.
The surprise was total when Adelstein, who bet a lot, found that Lew decided to “call”, that is, make the same bet as him without raising. Sheer recklessness, so much so that commentators momentarily wondered if the camera hadn’t misinterpreted his handwriting. You only “pay” when you think you can play better than your opponent; when we want to bluff, we raise hoping he folds.
On the way to the lie detector?
The next two cards came to naught, eventually reducing the value of Adelstein’s game to zero, suddenly beaten by Robbi Jade Lew – who then, thanks to her valet, won the highest card present that entire round. The kind of unimaginable win: nobody bets that much money without even having a small pair, nor enough hope to make a nice combination in the extreme.
Stunned at the table: “I do not understand what is going on”says Adelstein. “Garrett, it looks like you’re trying to kill me”, replies Robbi Jade Lew and observes the doubting and dark look of his counterpart. After all, an inexperienced player unfamiliar with the rules or the chips would be able to make such an outlandish decision as Lew’s, but then again, it’s absolutely amazing that a fairly experienced player like her would make such a decision could.
The real argument erupted off-screen, and allegations of cheating began to fly. In a lengthy statement, Garrett Adelstein later claimed it was him “clearly abused”without being able to prove his allegations. Was Robbi Jade Lew wearing a vibration system as he suspects? The poker player acknowledges that this is impossible to demonstrate. HCL, who organized the game, offered to use a lie detector to try to make a decision and claimed no“no evidence or clues” regarding possible fraud.
Lew responded to the allegations by offering to challenge Adelstein one on one at a poker table: “After being deleted I want to play against you. The whole world will be able to watch me read your game.” Through this defense, the player is implying that she managed to win the disputed hand because she managed to decipher her opponent’s behavior and therefore understood that he didn’t have anything quite solid in her hand.