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Stones Gambling Hall in Sacramento, California says it will not livestream poker games pending an investigation into cheating allegations made against one of the game’s players, Mike Postle.
Postle has been a regular on “Stones Live,” a live poker game streamed on Twitch. His success in the game has raised eyebrows.
The original accusations were made by Veronica Brill, another poker player who has played with Postle on “Stones Live.” Since then, others have come forward with similar complaints.
Brill has no specific accusation of what Postle is doing and even admits that she can’t be sure he is cheating. So why does she think he is cheating? His results are too good, according to Brill.
She said (and several professional pokers players who talked to CNBC, agreed) no one could do as well as he has, for as long as he has, on these livestreamed games.
Postle has not yet responded to CNBC’s request for comment. He has defended himself on Twitter as well as on a poker podcast, “The Mouthpiece with Mike Matusow,” saying “it is absolutely impossible for me to be doing what they’re claiming. It is 1000% impossible.”
Poker commentator Joey Ingram made two YouTube videos, totaling 10 hours, examining Postle’s play. He estimates Postle won $250,000 over more than 250 hours of play in relatively low-stakes games. Poker pro Matt Berkey said that is a win rate of 10 times what the greatest players in the world could be expected to win in the same games.
Postle disputed the amount he’s won, saying it’s less than half the $250,000 that Ingram claims.
It’s not just that Postle is winning, it’s how he’s winning, that is drawing suspicion. Ingram, Berkey and others have spent hours reviewing hands Postle played and found several times where Postle made a fold or a call that wouldn’t seem “right” but happened to work out in his favor.
Berkey said Postle made plays no pro would ever make, and he did them often, and they worked. Poker is a game of incomplete information. Berkey said Postle played “as if he had perfect information.”
Stones Gambling Hall said it has hired an independent investigator to look into the accusations.
In a statement Stones Gambling Hall said: “We temporarily halted all broadcasts from Stones. We have also, as a result, halted the use of RFID playing cards.”
The RFID cards contain chips, that combined with readers in the poker table, transmit information about each player’s hole cards, so that viewers can see the cards on the broadcast (which is on a 30-minute delay to protect game integrity).
At this point, there is no specific allegation, no “smoking gun” as Berkey said. But many pros are pointing to those RFID cards and the hole card information, saying it’s just not possible for Postle to play the way he does and win the way he does.