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Poker Player Takes Chips From Opponent's Stack As A 'Prank,' Gets Disqualified From Final Table

Italian Gaetano Preite Punished For Prank On Friend


Preite via blog.peoples.itAn apparent “prank” during the late stages of a major poker tournament this past weekend cost one poker pro a large payday.

Italy’s Gaetano Preite, who has lifetime tournament earnings of nearly $700,000, was deep in the People’s Poker Tour main event in Malta when he says he decided to try to have some fun with his friend, Nicola Luigi Abrusci, who was also still alive in the event. It had just reached the final table.

According to Facebook comments from Preite, he decided to take and hide some of Abrusci’s chips shortly before players had to bag their chips to resume play the following day. Preite said he left the table to go talk to some friends and let them in on the prank he had just pulled, but when he got back to the table Abrusci had already bagged his chips without noticing any were missing.

It turned out to be a joke that couldn’t be undone.

Preite said he informed everyone that he had taken the chips as a prank, but tournament staff didn’t find it amusing and they ruled to disqualify him from the final table. Ninth-place prize money was then distributed to the final eight players, as Preite was left with nothing.

The tournament had a €133,000 prize pool.

Preite called the situation “regrettable and surreal.”

“Unfortunately, I was told that despite my intentions [being] obvious, [the] behavior is absolutely not allowed according to the rules,” Preite said (translation).

“Now I understand that I may have risked too much for a simple joke,” he said, adding that he “respect[s] the decision” but believes the punishment to be “too severe.”

Abrusci even took to Facebook to say the disqualification was “excessive.”

Poker players forfeiting their prize money for misconduct involving the tournament chips actually isn’t unheard of. Last year, Chan Pelton took a single 25,000-denomination chip from his stack during heads-up play in a $1,000 buy-in event in Florida, and later he was made to forfeit his $47,061 first-place prize. Pelton said he took it as a souvenir.



over 3 years ago

Appropriate punishment imho. One of the most important and iron-clad rules of the game is you NEVER touch another players chips, and especially when the other player isn't present. This could have easily been an angle, maybe not for a whole stack like in this case, but imagine a player taking a few large denomination chips, if not caught he keeps them, if caught "hey it was just a prank!". Deservedly punished, and should send a message if it even needed to be sent, that touching another players chips will be severely punished.