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Postle at the Center of Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

Postle at the Center of Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

Stones Gambling Hall in California announced that it was halting its live stream and launching an independent investigation after cheating allegations caused an uproar in the poker community.

The announcement, made over Twitter last Thursday, said the casino hired attorney Michael Lipman to lead the fraud investigation. Before entering private practice, Lipman was an assistant U.S. attorney and chief of the Southern District of California’s fraud unit.

The investigation will focus on allegations that one of the players, Mike Postle, had access to the live-stream data and was able to see other players’ hole cards live. Postle denied the allegations on Twitter and went on Mike Matusow’s podcast to defend himself.

In the podcast, Postle said that people didn’t understand his unique play style and that the stacks sizes posted on the stream – that people used to calculate his win rate – are often inaccurate.

“Absolutely, absolutely, 10,000 percent,” Postle said when asked if he was innocent. “Can I go 100,000 percent?”

The controversy started when a former Stones employee and poker player, Veronica Brill, asked poker pro and streamer Joey Ingram to look into Postle’s play. Brill suspected Postle of cheating and said that she repeatedly reported her concerns to Stones Gambling Hall, but its initial investigation turned nothing up.

Ingram started reviewing hours of footage live on his show and found several hands he considered suspicious. Ingram posted his findings on Twitter and other TwoPlusTwo and Reddit users joined in on the investigation and posted their results online.

Online sleuths calculated Postle’s winnings, his win rate and even came up with a date the alleged cheating started – July 18, 2018. In a graph, they posted Postle’s win rate on the stream over the famous Potripper graph.

 

Potripper was one of the super-user accounts from the Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker cheating scandal from back in 2008. That cheating scandal was also broken by online poker sleuths. TwoPlusTwo users analyzed thousands of hands and found that a number of accounts had access to a back-end “God mode” that let the users see everyone’s hole cards.

Former World Series of Poker Main Event champion Russ Hamilton was implicated in the scandal and recordings released years later allege to show Hamilton admitting to robbing players of millions of dollars.

That “God mode” is what Ingram and others suspect Postle had at the Stones Gambling Hall. Live streams have special decks where every card has its own unique RFID chip. That data is transmitted to the live-stream booth where it’s converted into graphics and superimposed on a video stream. This is usually done on a 30-minute delay to prevent players from seeing cards and commentators report on the delayed stream.

The allegation is that Postle had live access to the cards, which would have required help from someone who had access to the stream data. The story gained so much traction that it was even featured on SportsCenter:

Other pros like Haralabos Voulgaris, Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu said they believed that Postle cheated. Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 World Series of Poker world champion, initially defended Postle. Moneymaker had played on the stream and knows Postle, but after reviewing some of the hands in question, Moneymaker said he wasn’t so sure he was innocent.