Garrett Adelstein Opens Up on Twitter, Provides Some Answers

garrett adelstein opens up

5 minutes

Last Updated: March 26, 2023

If you've been following the high-stakes poker world as of late, you probably know there's been a lot of drama left and right.

One man who's been in focus for a little while now is Garrett Adelstein, a high-stakes pro and once the main star of the Hustler Casino Live stream.

Garrett decided to walk away from the game for a while after the infamous J-4 hand, focusing instead on other things in his life.

Ever since, people have been speculating about the reasons behind this decision, and fans have been wondering if and when Garrett would come back.

This discussion sparked once again when Nick Vertucci, the HCL stream co-owner, came out saying that Adelstein wasn't welcome to the stream, at least for the time being.

While Nick didn't exactly say Garrett was banned, he made it pretty clear that he and his business partner, Ryan Feldman, thought it best not to have G-man in their lineups, despite the fact Adelstein has a massive fan base among regular stream viewers.

The controversy didn't end here, either. A couple of days later, Doug Polk invited Nik Airball, another HCL high-stakes regular, to his podcast. This invitation was sparked by Adelstein's not-so-kind Twitter comment about Nik's qualities as a poker player and a human being.

Nik responded in kind, stating that Adelstein was a completely different person behind the scenes, claiming he was only interested in his own EV and even berating amateur players when the cameras weren't running.

Garrett Is Done Biting His Tongue

Prior to the Nik Airball podcast, Adelstein didn't have much to say on social media, save for a few short comments (including the one mentioned above). However, hearing Nik talk about him and his character prompted him to take it to Twitter and offer some clarity.

The embedded tweet includes the full (rather lengthy) response, and I'll just try to capture the essence of it here. You can (and should) read the whole thing if you want to better understand Garrett's perspective here.

The first point that he focuses on is the “zero-sum” nature of high-stakes games in any given place, as there is a finite amount of money that everyone's fighting for.

He also “admitted” to having a role in setting up lineups for some streamed games (one of Nik Airball's accusations), saying that he offers “zero apologies for his game selection skills.”

The sustainability of these shows, especially at the highest stakes, is dependent upon the game maintaining several recreational players… These soft games are mutually beneficial to all parties aside from the pros who can't get into said games.

While admitting he had some say in who gets invited, Adelstein also denied that he had “control of the lineups,” explaining that if that were the case, those lineups would look much different.

Should I Sing Other Pro's Checks to Be a “Nice Guy?”

In the second half of his explanation, Garrett said that he emphasized, to some extent, with those pros that believed they were left out solely because of him, once again emphasizing that his role in picking the players has been widely overstated.

garrett adelstein speak up on twitter

At the same time, he made an interesting point that, instead of accusing him, those players should perhaps look into the reasons they're still not getting invited and how they can better add value to a live poker stream.

Finally, he addressed a very important point regarding the fans, digging deeper under the surface. Garrett explained that, from a fan's point of view, it was great to see him battle in tough lineups against great players, but that's not what being a professional is about.

My job is to ethically win at the highest rate I can. Poker is not a team sport, and I'm not the CEO of a company contemplating between increasing my employees' pay vs. my own. The other pros are my competition. Should I sign their checks just to be a nice guy?

In conclusion, Garrett Adelstein admitted that the whole “politics” of poker have often had him wonder if he were cut out for it, but being a true fan of the game himself, he knows he'll eventually return to the felt.

What It All Boils Down To?

All the drama surrounding Garret Adelstein, live stream politics, and the talk of “what's good for the game” has created a lot of stir in the community over the past week or so. And, while there are currently two camps, a lot of Garrett stated in his tweets is simply facts.

True professionals are always after the best possible, most EV setup. They may be willing to give a bit of it away to get in really good games, but there is a limit to this “goodwill.” No pro would be willing to go as far as to accept playing under losing conditions just to be a good sport.

At least not for any significant amount of money.

Being a poker fan myself, all I care about is seeing fun, deep-stacked games with huge pots. I also love good table banter, needles, and everything else that comes with the territory. But I also understand that these guys aren't paid actors.

They join the games with their own money, and they put six and seven figures on the line. If poker is their primary source of income, it comes as no surprise they'll be looking for their own interests first. Their livelihood depends on it.

It may all look like fun and games while those cameras are rolling, but having a bad night where you lose in the vicinity of seven figures hurts. After all, poker players are just humans, not some mathematical robots who can just shrug it off every single time.

All this is to say is that I can see both sides of this argument. I can understand why some players (and even fans) aren't happy with some of the things that have been surfacing.

At the same time, I can fully understand it, and it doesn't come as a surprise. Garrett's explanation may not sit well with some, but I would venture a guess that this is what most professional poker players think.

Some may be better at hiding it, but as Adelstein aptly put it, high-stakes poker is a “bloodsport played for boggling amounts of money.”

You may take the other guy's money with a smile on your face and a rehearsed phrase to make them feel better, but it is usually only done to ensure you keep getting invited. At the end of the day, it's all about that EV, no matter how you put it.

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