Cheating or a Crazy Poker Hand? Hustler Casino Live Scandal Still Ongoing
Unless you’ve been living under the rock for the past few days, you must have picked up on the latest controversy rocking the poker world.
In case you’ve somehow missed it, it was a crazy poker hand that kicked things off, as Robbi Jade Lew made an incredible hero call against none other than Garrett Adelstein, one of the Hustler Casino Live regulars who is also considered one of the best live cash game players around.
The scandal even captured the attention of the mainstream media, with the likes of BBC reporting on the hand, so things balled out of control quickly.
The likes of Doug Polk and Joe Ingram took it upon themselves to analyze the hand and Robbi’s play in the smallest detail on their YouTube channels, trying to make sense of her decisions and figure out if she was somehow cheating.
Many of you will remember the Mike Postle cheating scandal, which also took place in a live stream setting. So, given the history, it’s not that outrageous that people out there (Garrett included) would think something unsavory was going on.
Are we facing a similar situation now, or was it just a crazy hand of poker that we should use to remind ourselves why we love this game so much and why there is still a lot of money to be made?
The Sickest Hero Call of All Time?
To start at the top, let’s rehash the hand in question. The action folded to Garrett in the $400 straddle, and he decided to raise it up to $3,000 with 8♣7♣.
Robbi was the only player still active in the double straddle, and she decided to defend with a pretty bad hand – J♣4♥. Not the most GTO decision, but not the strangest thing we’ve seen an amateur player do by far.
The flop came a good one for Garrett in 10♥10♣9♣, giving him an open-ended straight flush draw, and he fired a c-bet of $2,500.
Robbi wasted no time calling. In fact, she snap-called, as if she wanted to tell Garrett he wasn’t getting rid of her that easy. At this stage, she is probably not thinking about her hand. It seems like she’s really adamant about not getting bluffed.
The turn is seemingly inconsequential 3♥, and Adelstein fired again, this time for $10,000. And this is where things started to get a bit out of control.
Robbi clicked it back, making it $20,000 to go. This play makes very little sense with her particular hand, as there is almost no chance she’ll ever get Garrett to fold for that price.
The bet is more consistent with an amateur thinking they’ve paired up and wanting to see where they’re at, potentially getting to a cheap showdown.
Why would she think the 3♥ on the turn helped her? In the hand before, she had J♠3♠, and it’s not that outlandish to think Robbi still had that hand lingering in her mind.
But now the fun part comes, and this is where all the controversy starts.
Garrett took little time to jam over the min-raise, reading it for exactly what it was (or was supposed to be), making it another $110,000 for Robbi to call.
At this point, Robbi seemingly looks back at her hand, and this is where she would have to realize she wasn’t holding a pair – but it’s not entirely sure she really double-checked her hole cards. The motion was there, but her eyes were fixated on the board.
Eventually, she makes the call, they run it twice, and Garrett misses all of his outs. Hands are tabled, and Robbi scoops with J-4 high. Everyone is in shock, but Adelstein seems to be dumbfounded. He can’t believe what he is seeing and seems convinced he got cheated somehow.
Let the Controversy Begin
From this point on, things started to take a turn for the ugly. Garrett is convinced there is no way anyone can make that call without cheating, and Robbi doesn’t help her situation as the chips are counted, and the table banter ensues.
She doesn’t say that she misread her hand or anything of the sort. Instead, she maintains that it was an intentional call with jack high, as she believed that Garrett had absolutely nothing.
And if you know anything about poker, you have to be suspicious about that statement. Even if she knew Garrett’s exact two cards, she was barely a favorite going to the river. Against his entire range of hands in that situation, she is drawing super slim.
This isn’t where the controversy ends, though.
As Adelstein remains convinced he was cheated, Robbi later decides to pay him back? She actually gives him his money back, which is fairly unprecedented in live poker.
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
Some equate this to an admission of guilt. After all, why would she give the money back if the hand was fair and she made the sickest hero call, well, ever?
Taking Things Down a Notch
In the next few days, almost everyone in the poker world chimed in with an opinion. Some, like Polk and Joey, did in-depth investigations to try and come up with a definitive answer.
As is always the case in these situations, some are convinced Robbi cheated, others are certain of the opposite, and nobody knows for sure.
There’s also been a lot of discussion about Garrett’s behavior after the hand and if he handled himself professionally. Also, was he in the right to take the money back without any real evidence?
I could go on and on with this article, going into different theories and speculations as to what might have happened. It wouldn’t bring us any close to the truth, though, so I will wrap it up with my own take on the things, for whatever it is worth.
And let me preface this by saying that the poker world just loves drama!
Everyone’s been talking about this hand for days, dozens of videos have been made analyzing it, and I’m sure there is more to come.
But let’s try and look at this from a different perspective.
An amateur (and yes, she is an amateur player despite a bit of experience she may or may not have) makes what she thought was a hero call.
And if she held a pair of threes, it would be a crazy, but not an unbelievable, hero call. She beats all flush and straight draws and clearly wants to “get” Adelstein, so fair dues.
At some point after making the call, Robbi realizes she screwed up, and she has nothing. Do you go on record saying you misread your hand in a quarter of a million pot? Or do you go with the flow and stick to the story you made a super-sick call?
Here’s the thing – as long as there was no cheating going on, she owes no apology to Garrett or anyone else. She doesn’t need to apologize for playing a hand really bad and getting super lucky (and yes, those are both true statements).
Garrett blocked me. Guilty as charged. What an honest man. He cornered me & threatened me. If he has the audacity to give me the death stare ON camera, picture what it’s like OFF camera. I was pulled out of the game & forced to speak to him in a dark hallway. Full details to come
— Robbi Jade Lew (@RobbiJadeLew) September 30, 2022
Its’ poker; all sorts of things happen, and it’s what makes the game so great. Garrett, Andy, and every other pro at the table want to play the players who call them down super light and/or misread their hands in crucial spots.
There is no real evidence of cheating here (apart from the somewhat wild “vibrating chair” theory). Plus, if someone were to cheat, would they really pick that spot? Of all the spots they could pick?
As to why she gave the money back, it’s hard to say, but again, would a cheater do that? Different people react differently under pressure, and maybe she felt that having too much “bad blood” wasn’t worth it. Who knows?
Nah. A scumbag cheat out to rob people isn’t giving the money back.
A rich, female noob, under pressure in a dark back room who doesn’t want to deal with conflict might.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) October 3, 2022
I can certainly understand where Garrett is coming from. I play in some super wild games for much smaller stakes, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a call similar to that one.
It’s crazy, unbelievable, and hard to explain. But was it cheating? I just can’t see it.