Let’s be honest: There was always an aura of semi-legality around poker. There’s a reason Doyle Brunson was pointed a gun several times during the game.
And although poker is not usually associated with violence these days, there are a lot of crooks in it.
There’s a lot of nuances to poker. It is played all over the world, and since the first online poker rooms were created, it has become a truly global phenomenon. Notions such as baking, money transfers and borrowing have become commonplace in the ever-growing poker community. Tournaments and cash games have become bigger and the spinning sums of money in the poker world are larger.
Ideal conditions for cheating. Given the number of cheat options and the huge sums of money that can be pocketed, it’s no wonder that there is an army of cheaters in poker. We’ve made up the top ten most known cases of cheating in poker history.
The oldest cheater in poker
Randolph Smith, nicknamed Soapy Smith, was born in 1860. He was a famous crook and bandit who had his hand in many crimes. He was also a poker player who robbed players … by law.
Many of Slippery’s scams took place in Denver, Colorado, where Smith was politically active, and where he had significant influence and connections with many corrupt officials. When Davis Hanson Waite was elected Governor of Colorado, good times seemed to have come to an end for Slippery. But no: thanks to his many connections, Smith got himself a deputy.
At the time, Smith owned a network of underground gambling halls, where foul play was conducted 24 hours a day. After his election, Governor Wate ordered the closure of all saloons, gambling houses and other such establishments. However, not only did it not stop the underground games, but on the contrary, it gave Smith even more room for maneuver. Using his position as Deputy Sheriff, he began raiding his own gambling halls and arresting players with large sums of money. Then he let them go free, and they were just happy that they didn’t go to jail without even thinking about the money they had just lost.
Beking cheating on the Blonde Poker forum
Any player who comes across a bouncing game knows it’s the surest way to become a victim of poker fraud. Usually it’s a small amount of money that avid ludomans lose at the casino.
One of the best known examples of this type of fraud dates back to 2010. A regular guest of the British poker forum Blonde Poker – Neil Blackley, who enjoyed the respect of the rest of its participants, created a baking theme, through which he collected 70,000 pounds from 40 people for betting in a betting office.
Week after week, Blatchley published posts about how great his betting system works, and praised tens of thousands of pounds of income. This lasted several months until several people finally asked him to provide proof that he was actually betting and winning. At first Blatchley joked at these curious people, but then, to everyone’s surprise, confessed that he no longer had any money. He lost some of it at the casino, and spent some on entertainment, such as a family vacation in Miami.
The universal cheater
In the case of Neal Bleachley, people gave almost a hundred thousand pounds to a man just because of his online reputation. And the next member of our hit parade is a real station wagon. Like other crooks, he has a wide field of activity, and poker is just one of the applications of his talents.
Peter Falcon’s record is impressive. He has cheated a lot of people in both poker and everyday life, for large sums and not so much. His victims include Betsy Superphone, the creator of the phone sex industry, and Louis Anderson. Peter became widely known in the poker community after he lured $37,000 from Nollan Dalla, a writer, journalist, WSOP media director.
An incident at a Barcelona hotel
It turns out that poker players can be a target for profit for the most unexpected people in the most unexpected places. This strange event took place during the 2013 ETP Barcelona at the Arts Hotel, where many poker players lived.
The first one to sound the alarm was Finnish pro Jens Killonen after an unusual incident in the above-mentioned hotel. His laptop was stolen from his room and later returned, which in itself is strange. But it turned out that while the thieves had the laptop, a special program was installed on it. Even more surprisingly, other professionals staying at the Arts Hotel reported that the same thing had happened to them.
The staff of the hotel did not show much desire to help the players when they complained about the theft. The management of Arts Hotel did not give important security footage, and tried to present the situation as a trivial matter. The investigation carried out by PokerStars’ security experts was inconclusive, but it is likely that many pros were very close to losing a lot of money if the cheaters’ plan worked.
An airport scammer
In the most recent case of cheating, which has attracted public attention, involved Michael Borovets – a truly incorrigible cheater. Unlike the above “colleagues”, Borovets did not try to invent insidious schemes with the installation of spyware or deception, entrusted to him the funds of people.
Since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Borovets has lost everything he could in pai gow poker. To continue to satisfy his addictive passion for gambling, he has been earning money wherever he can by borrowing it from a multitude of poker fans and never returning it.
The poker community started talking about him when a forum user under the pseudonym “Gzesh” wrote about his meeting with Borovets at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Borovets approached him with a long and unlikely story that he had flown to Vegas for a job interview with a single company and he really needed $300 in cash, which he promised to return in double. After Gzesh shared this information with the rest of the forum users, Borovets himself appeared, admitting that he had been cheating people for years for money to play with.
Ali Tekintaggak became famous in the poker world in 2010 after winning the first prize of $300,000 at the WPT Barcelona. But just a few months later he was accused of cheating at the Patrouche Poker Tour in France.
It turned out that Tekintambak had hired fake reporters to cover the events at the tables to look at his opponents’ cards and tell him about them. This is one of those rare cases when the actions of crooks got into the lenses of video cameras, and you can see it in the 27 second of the video clip below.
What’s even more striking is the fact that Tekintaggak was eventually sentenced to three years and five months in prison for numerous episodes of cheating while playing poker. And that’s how rare it is.