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Poker Room Employee Latest To Be Implicated In Stones Gambling Hall Live-Stream Cheating Scandal

ESPN Runs Segment About Mike Postle's Alleged Cheating On SportsCenter

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Mike Postle in a 2008 WPT Event in Tunica, MississippiIt’s rare that mainstream media reports on poker, but last week’s news bombshell about an alleged cheater who had infiltrated a low-stakes, live-streamed cash game has captured the attention of even casual gambling enthusiasts.

Mike Postle, a former casino employee, has been accused by insider whistle blowers of cheating the Stones Live Poker game in Northern California out of upwards of $250,000, rarely playing above stakes of $5-$5 no-limit hold’em for the last couple of years.

Although charges have yet to be filed, the developing story was picked up by ESPN, who ran a segment with Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter, explaining the allegations.

Van Pelt, who admitted he was just a poker novice, ended his reporting with a question that has been on the minds of many poker players since rumors of cheating began to surface.

“If you show up to play pick up basketball, and you never, ever miss a shot, for a couple of years, wouldn’t you go play in the NBA? If you are some sort of poker god, who almost never loses, who makes the right call or fold virtually every single time… If you were [that] good, why would you be playing in games only with a video feed… at a $1-$3 table at Stones Poker Room? Why wouldn’t you be in Vegas winning all the money in the world?”

Although innocent until proven guilty, in the court of public opinion, at least on social media, there are very few players standing in Postle’s corner. Poker Hall of Famer and 2003 WSOP main event winner Chris Moneymaker initially came to his longtime friend’s defense, but after reviewing the evidence has changed his mind, saying, “I think he did it.”

In addition to hand breakdowns down by poker personalities like Joe Ingram and Doug Polk, numerous other players have come forward to say that Postle is guilty, including Daniel Negreanu, Jason Koon, Matt Berkey, Scott Seiver, Christian Harder, Haralabos Voulgaris, Sam Greenwood, Bart Hanson, Dan Shak, Phil Galfond, Brandon Shack-Harris, and Ryan Riess. Matt Salsberg summed up the poker world’s thoughts best.

The initial sign of trouble for the show came from Veronica Brill, a frequent commentator on the stream who first noticed the suspicious play from Postle.

Brill’s concerns were quickly brushed aside by management, who assured her and others that the games were on the up and up after an internal investigation “found no evidence that any cheating had occurred.”

The lack of accountability has led some to believe that Production Manager and Stones Live Poker Tournament Director Justin Kuraitis is also involved in the scandal. Internet sleuths have discovered that Kuraitis was present for most, if not all of Postle’s winning sessions. In fact, a two-month stretch where he was in Las Vegas lines up well with a small downswing and limited playing schedule from Postle.

Questions sent to Kuraitis’ Twitter account went ignored. Postle plans to release a statement on Mike Matusow’s The Mouthpiece podcast Friday night.

Stones opted to run one more live stream game the night after the allegations went viral, even including Postle’s brother in the line up. The casino announced another show the next day, before social media pressure forced a cancellation. The Stones Live Poker Twitter account even changed it’s profile photo to one of their logo behind bars, in an attempt at poking fun at themselves that many called tone deaf.

Stones has since announced they are halting the live-streamed games and use of RFID playing cards while they conduct another investigation. But despite claims that the fact-finding team would be independent, it took less than an hour for disappointed poker players to discover that the team’s leader, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lipman, is also the Stones Casino owner’s personal defense attorney.

While most of the poker world agrees Postle cheated, what they can’t agree on is how he allegedly carried out his scheme. Theories range from an accomplice signaling him with a buzzer tied to his leg, to an RFID reader in his keys. Some believe he was using bone conducting headphones sewn into his hat to listen to cues, while others are convinced he had a video player in his lap tuned to the live broadcast.