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‘Poker Shark’ Linked To Banned NBA Player Jontay Porter Arrested

Authorities Allege Long Phi Pham Tried To Flee Country


The gambling saga surrounding banned NBA player Jontay Porter became murkier last week when a self-described “poker shark” was arrested for his alleged part in coaxing the former Toronto Raptors forward into tanking his game to benefit prop bettors.

Porter received a lifetime ban from the NBA and now Long Phi Pham (also known as “Bruce”), of Brooklyn, was jailed last week by a federal judge on fraud charges. Federal officials allege Porter owed significant sums of money to Pham, 38, and others involved in the gambling scheme.

Pham was arrested on June 3 after attempting to board a plane for Sydney, Australia.

“I think he is trying to flee the country to evade prosecution,” federal Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak said during a hearing last week.

Inside The Bet-Fixing Scheme

Pham was arrested with $12,000 in cash, two cashier’s checks worth $80,000, and several betting slips. His bail was set at $750,000 and he faces up to 20 years in prison.

His attorney Michael Soshnick said Pham was simply heading to Sydney to play in a poker tournament at The Star Casino. Soshnick also told reporters that Pham said he was among the “one percent of poker players in the world.”

Pham is listed in the Card Player tournament database with just over $11,000 in live tournament winnings.

Soshnick wouldn’t comment on whether Pham knew Porter, but authorities argue that he helped coordinate the player’s lack of participation in at least two games to affect betting.

“Federal prosecutors allege that Porter had racked up large gambling debts in the beginning of the year to co-conspirators, and was encouraged to clear those debts by throwing games in order for certain bets to hit,” the New York Post reported.

Porter removed himself from two games on Jan. 26 and March 20 with his stats reaching the under on his player prop betting totals. Federal authorities allege Porter and a co-conspirator made a $10,000 parlay under prop bet on the Jan. 26 game.

“The disgraced NBA player allegedly communicated with the group of co-conspirators through the Telegram group chat app when he notified them before another game — this time on March 20 against the Sacramento Kings — claiming that going to say he was sick to leave a game early,” the Post noted.

Court documents also allege Pham and associates made similar bets at Atlantic City casinos, with the intention to share some of the profits with Porter. The investigation into the case and other possible suspects continues.