HCL Poker Scandal Explodes with More Info and New Allegations

2022-12-21 16:50:30 By : Mr. Jennifer Chen

It started as a wild hand on the Hustler Casino Live cash game stream at the end of September. Robbi Lew and Garrett Adelstein then found their way into one of the largest scandals in poker, one with cheating allegations that attracted the attention of people well beyond the poker community.

The last week has produced so many new developments that it has been difficult to keep up, even for players in the know. We’re going to try to bring everyone up to speed here.

Robbi Lew, a relatively new person on the high-stakes cash game scene won a huge hand through seasoned pro Garrett Adelstein. It happened on an evening livestream at Hustler Casino in Los Angeles, captured by the producers of the Hustler Casino Live evening broadcast.

Of course, it was far from a simple oddly-played hand.

What happened afterward took an interesting and possibly suspicious play into a full-blown poker scandal.

The Cliffs Notes from the beginning are as follows:

My thoughts on the hand in question from today’s livestream, screenshots 1-4 (of 6) pic.twitter.com/gWQOI6sg4o

— Garrett Adelstein (@GmanPoker) September 30, 2022

My thoughts on the hand in question from today’s livestream, screenshots 5-6 pic.twitter.com/Hb1Kh6xuFd

— Garrett Adelstein (@GmanPoker) September 30, 2022

An update pic.twitter.com/uxLb6pbi7D

— Hustler Casino Live (@HCLPokerShow) October 2, 2022

As all of this was happening, the mainstream media got wind of the hand and the implied scandal surrounding it. But before it made many reputable news sites, celebrity gossip television show Inside Edition ran with the story.

The @RobbiJadeLew hand on @InsideEdition, looks like poker has jumped the shark again! ? https://t.co/fSPYDWevjw

— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) October 4, 2022

As Hustler Casino Live, which is, importantly, a separate entity from Hustler Casino, began putting the investigation into motion, they kept in touch with the poker community. On October 6, HCL’s High Stakes Poker Productions put together a team of experts to begin auditing the technology and security used by the show. Specifically, they hired Bulletproof Gaming Laboratories International for the technology end of the investigation. The goal was twofold:

The well-known Los Angeles law firm of Sheppard Mullin was also on the case, retained to provide legal and investigative guidance.

That was all well and good until the last paragraph.

“During a review of video of the Sept. 29 hand between Robbi and Garrett, our investigators observed an employee of High Stakes Poker Productions removing chips from Robbi’s stack after the broadcast had concluded and while Robbi was away from the table. Today, during our investigation, the employee, Bryan Sagbigsal, admitted taking $15,000 in chips from Robbi’s stack. We immediately terminated Mr. Sagbigsal’s employment and contacted Robbi and the Gardena Police Department to file a criminal report. Robbi told High Stakes Poker Productions and the Gardena Police that she does not wish to pursue criminal charges against the employee. Without a victim, Gardena police told us they do not intent to pursue a criminal prosecution at this time.”

High Stakes Poker Productions offered to reimburse Lew for the stolen funds, as it was their employee who stole from her. It appears she will take them up on that offer, but it will be handled by a third party, such as an attorney.

If that wasn’t all enough drama, things took some very odd turns.

Here's Bryan's entire thread in case it gets deleted. pic.twitter.com/Hqb9arXL3l

— Melissa Burr (@burrrrrberry) October 7, 2022

So I got a message … @Joeingram1 pic.twitter.com/4S2zvR5BmQ

— Robbi Jade Lew (@RobbiJadeLew) October 7, 2022

Meanwhile, Adelstein had posted a very long, link-filled forum post on Two Plus Two with evidence of cheating. He tried to prove that Lew or Chavez (or both) coordinated with Sagbigsal during three HCL sessions, and that Lew coordinated with Chavez on both of the streams on which they both played. He asserted that they used verbal and nonverbal communication to do this.

In addition, Adelstein implicated others in suspicious activities.

Some clarifications regarding last week’s @HCLPokerShow events. pic.twitter.com/db91bf6XBz

— Nik Airball (@nikairball) October 7, 2022

Garrett Adelstein Report on Likely Cheating on Hustler Casino Live: https://t.co/nGPgDuSqdx

As an aside, @DGAFPokerPlayer has been a friend for over a decade and I have never questioned his integrity. From the evidence I have seen, the accusations against him are baseless.

— Garrett Adelstein (@GmanPoker) October 8, 2022

Importantly, in Adelstein’s tweet (and another one), he stood up for Billy (a player typically known only as DGAF). Allen Kessler had been posting tweets examining DGAF’s poker history on livestreams, his movements and body language. This had riled up some of the public, putting a previously-unwarranted microscope on this player. Adelstein defended DGAF and noted on Twitter, “I’m as heartbroken and jaded as anyone, but that doesn’t make it ok to destroy people’s reputations without clear evidence. … Let’s be better.”

The scandal started with the analysis of one hand and two players, and it naturally evolved into a deeper examination of those two players, their history, and other players at the table.

However, in the days since then, the scandal has blown up. Not only is the mainstream media taking the situation to the non-poker public with slants that only muddy the situation, the poker community itself has gone a little wild. People at every level of poker have analyzed hands, body language and movements, tweets, social media follows, finances, and relationships.

Those who want to keep up must read through hundreds of pages of Two Plus Two forum posts and listen to more podcasts and videos than would be humanly possible. Joey Ingram has posted several marathon podcasts, which contain very important interviews from people involved at all levels of the scandal. Daily podcasts like Only Friends examine hands, talk to security experts, and try to bring the public up to speed on the latest developments. There are other articles, like the LA Times piece on Lew, and other podcasts, like PokerNews’ interview with Lew, and even hours of HCL co-owner Nick Vertucci talking about the situation and promising to say more at a later date.

For anyone with a full-time job, it is too much.

To date, there has been no concrete proof of any wrongdoing except Sagbigsal stealing chips from Lew on the set of HCL. Everything else is subjective and circumstantial…and everyone has an opinion.

The truth will surface eventually.

In the meantime, poker vlogger Caitlin Comeskey came up with the best summary thus far.

By subscribing, you’re agreeing to let us send you customized marketing messages about us and our advertising partners. You are also agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Tight Poker is the most trusted online poker guide, offering exclusive site reviews and the best poker content available for players of all skill level.

© 2022 TightPoker.com All rights Reserved. Trust in Your Bets, Gamble Responsibly. For visitors 18 Years and Older

Our Recommended Poker Sites Have Been Verified By The Likes Of:

© 2022 TightPoker.com All rights Reserved. Trust in Your Bets, Gamble Responsibly. For visitors 18 Years and Older