Famous Poker Cheats – Have You Heard These Names?
Cheating in poker is as old as the game itself. That is likely why, when laypeople hear the game discussed, they think of it as a magnet for shady characters are up to no good.
Various poker movies have also played a massive part in stimulating this image, as there is rarely a poker-themed film that does not involve a card cheat. For a casual viewer, this adds an extra layer of excitement and intrigue,
The reality is that, nowadays, most experienced players are so well-versed in poker that they know all the tricks. If someone tries to cheat, they're usually caught rather quickly. Even if they don't catch them in the act, cheaters' results over the long period usually tip their hand.
Still, examples of clever players pulling fast ones on hosts, competitors, and online platforms exist. Yes, there are cases of people even cheating at gambling sites, and we are not only talking about casino bonus abuse. What follows is a list of some of the most notorious card cheaters that the poker industry has encountered in recent times.
Cedric Rossi & Jean-Paul Pasqualini
In 2013, Global Poker Index decided to suspend Cedric Rossi and Jean-Paul Pasqualini based on video evidence that showed the pair engaging in suspicious activity during the 2009 Partouche Poker Tour Main Event.
The video in question showed the two Frenchmen hailing from Corsica, giving each other hand signals en route to winning the top two spots in the tournament.
This is what's known as collusion in poker circles, and it's not only frowned upon, but it's strictly against Texas Hold’em rules. Exchanging information with another player about their hole cards can provide a tremendous edge over the competition but can also get you disqualified in short order, as demonstrated by the above example.
Lusardi is the man behind the 2014 Borgata Winter Open tainted chips scandal. Authorities arrested him in January of that year, once Borgata officials learned that he was the culprit that let loose $800,000 in fake poker chips around their tables during the event.
The Winter Open had a prize pool of $2 million and instantly got canceled following the discovery of the counterfeit chips. It appeared that Lusardi attempted to flush $2.7 million in fake chips into the toilet, but many got stuck in the casino’s transporting pipes and never made it through.
Lusardi was never convicted for this particular crime, but he got a five-year sentence for a different offense connected to pirated DVDs and copyright infringements.
Russ Hamilton is a former WSOP champion who defeated Hugh Vincent in heads-up play in 1994 to win $1 million and his body weight in silver.
In 2008, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission released a statement claiming that they have evidence that the online poker room Ultimate Bet defrauded players out of $22 million.
The software the operator used allowed access to opponents' hole cards. Hamilton was one of the main benefactors of this scam, as he was a part of the platform’s management. He even admitted to the whole scheme on a private phone, making it clear he stole the money from players with no intentions of giving any of it back.
The Ultimate Bet scandal was one of the biggest in online poker history, seriously shaking the players’ trust. After all, this was one of the biggest poker rooms at the time, and if something like this could happen there, it could happen anywhere.
Playing under DooshCom, Darren Woods perpetrated an online poker scheme from 2007 to 2012, where he would use a VPN service to create multiple accounts on gambling sites and manipulate games.
Funnily enough, Woods inadvertently blew his whole system by using one of his gaming sessions in a tutorial video he created.
A player that participated in that game recognized his screen name in Wood’s tutorial and slowly uncovered his scheme.
Woods got charged with thirteen counts of fraud and got sentenced to 15 months, with the caveat if he did not pay £1 million in restitution, he would get another six years added to his sentence.
Billy the Egyptian
In 2018, police got called to the Alea Casino in Glasgow by several angry poker players who accused an individual by the moniker Billy the Egyptian of using a tiny camera to read an electronically marked deck of cards. The Egyptian, a known player, was in cahoots with a croupier, scamming the other players at his table. However, no arrest got made.
If this story sounds somewhat familiar, that's because it resembles the more recent Mike Postle cheating scandal. Postle was also accused of having access to the players’ hole card information by somehow exploiting the RFID technology in the cards used to stream the games in real-time.