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Poker Pro’s $42k Flip Leads to Stiff Penalty for Philadelphia Casino

SugerHouse Casino

SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia faces a stiff $32,000 penalty for a video involving poker pro Doug Polk and commercial real estate manager Jeremy Kaufman.

The video, which was live-streamed back in March 2017, showcased Polk and Kaufman taking part in a $41,000 10-card stud “coin flip” after shooting an episode of Poker Night in America at SugarHouse.

Poker pros often like to gamble by doing flips in Hold’em, PLO or Stud. The idea is that each player is randomly dealt a single poker hand and the best hand wins. Ten-card stud is particularly dramatic because every card is revealed one by one. Polk live-streamed the hand for his popular YouTube channel. The video now has over 100,000 views.

Earlier this year the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board came down hard on the casino over the incident and fined SugarHouse $32,000, using the video as proof in the verdict.

The reason for the penalty? Ten-card stud is not an authorized game in the state of Pennsylvania.

You can watch the video in question below but the editing is a bit rough:


Polk Apologizes for Video

Since the $42,000 flip occurred, several supervisors for the casino were dismissed and the dealer was warned.

With news of the $32k fine breaking this week, Polk took the time to apologize for the part he played in the hand and the resulting video on 2+2 poker forum:

I just thought it would be a fun thing to stream that people on my channel would like seeing. Especially coming from Las Vegas where flips are completely acceptable, I didn’t really think that it could cause any issues. Once again, I apologize that my actions caused harm to others, even if it was inadvertently.

The hand itself played out in dramatic fashion. In this particular 10-card stud flip, each player started flipping over cards one by one.

In the hand Kaufman spiked an early pair with pocket eights but Polk got the lead back with a pair of aces. Kaufman hit two pair with eights and fours but then Polk hit two pair with aces and tens.

At this point, with just two cards left, Kaufman offered to buy out of the bet for $22,000. After some negotiation, Polk accepted $25,000 to end the bet early. It proved to be the right choice.

With the bet settled, Kaufman flipped over his final two cards and ended up hitting a straight on the very last card. As luck would have it, he would have won the entire $42,000 if he stayed in the bet. Instead, Polk took home $25,000.

This is how it looked with all 20 cards revealed:

  • Polk: 10h-As-2h-6d-7c-Ac-10c-7h-Jc-3d (Two pair)
  • Kaufman: 5d-8c-8d-4d-Kc-3c-Qs-4h-6s-2d (Straight)

Coin Flips Have a Long History in Poker

Poker has always had a close relationship with gambling and even the game itself has some elements of chance.

Coin flips in particular have a special connection to poker. Some of the most popular hand matchups such as overcards vs pairs (JJ vs AK for example) are referred to as “coin flips” or “flips” because each player has around 50 percent equity to win.

Some poker players wanted to gamble even more at the table, however, so they invented a way of doing coin flips using a traditional 52-card deck and basic poker hand rankings for Hold’em, PLO and Seven-Card Stud.

Generally, players would agree to such a coin flip before the hand was dealt and the rest of the players at the table would agree to fold. The players involved in the hand would essentially be all-in blind.

The dealer would then put out the board (in the case of Hold’em and PLO) and the player with the best hand scoops the pot. Some jurisdictions, such as Nevada, allow flips while others do not. It’s always best to speak to a casino representative before you do a flip.

Coin flips were even easier online where software handled the dealing. Flips were particularly popular on the old Full Tilt Poker software where high-stakes pros like Phil Ivey and Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies regularly gambled for up to $100,000 each flip.