As the fuss following the accusations of cheating against poker player Robbi Jade Lew somehow still rumble on, an investigation by the casino in which the game took place has revealed an employee dipping into Lew’s stack as the brouhaha went down. He took $15,000, before later being caught.
To catch you up on the previous story, during a livestreamed high-stakes cash game of Texas Hold’em, pro Garrett Adelstein accused Robbi Jade Lew of cheating after the latter played an extremely weak hand in a very peculiar way, securing an enormous $269,000. The accusation made little sense, given that had Lew been cheating, almost all information she could have gained would led her to throw her cards away, not continue to call with them. Either way, Lew repaid the money after claiming Adelstein “cornered me and threatened me,” (something Adelstein denies), and the streaming company has launched a full investigation.
According to a statement released by High Stakes Poker Productions, a company that streams games from the Hustler Casino in Vegas, they have “assembled a team of experts” from Gaming Laboratory International’s Bulletproof for their investigation, which will include auditing their tech and security. At the same time, they’ve retained a law firm called Sheppard Mullin to guide them during this.
“The investigation will seek to determine: 1) If there is evidence that any players used any compromising technology in our streamed games; and 2) How secure our system and protocols are.”
The production company then promises to immediately improve anything that’s found wanting, and that the whole investigation will be “transparent.” Which is why it then goes on to report some extraordinary news they’ve already found: A completely separate crime that took place at the same time.
When reviewing video of the infamous poker hand, High Stakes’ investigating team spotted an employee of theirs “removing chips from Robbi’s stack after the broadcast had concluded and while Robbi was away from the table.”
The individual involved, Bryan Sagbigsal, has since admitted to taking $15,000 worth of chips from Lew’s stack. He was then immediately fired, and the company informed Lew and the Gardena Police.
However, at the time it was announced Lew has chosen not to press charges, meaning the police have said they will not be pursuing a prosecution.
Since then, Lew has changed her position on pressing charges. She tweeted over the weekend making a statement, explaining that at the the time she was called by detectives, she had a “split-minute decision to make,” and had based her choice on learning he had no “priors.” However, Lew says that since then, “I have received new information that has caused me to reconsider,” and that she plans to follow up on the incident Monday (today). She concludes,
“Until then, I am going to attempt to take a much needed 2 day mental health break. Have fun in my absence. If there’s an emergency, don’t call me.”
Regarding the accusations of cheating, which Lew has denied (in many confusing, sometimes contradictory ways), the reason the investigation will need to be so thorough are because the situation is so peculiar. Adelstein was on a draw for both a flush and a straight, with even the potential of both, while Lew merely had an over-card. Adelstein had so many outs that he was 70 to 30 ahead on the flop, and still 53 percent to win on the turn. Lew was, to all intents, drawing dead.
For Lew to have gained any useful information in a hand where, despite having the better pocket cards, was still behind on the draw, she would either have had be getting inaccurate information causing her to think she were ahead, or incredibly primitive information that only told her that her hand at that time was the better one. And in a weird twist, to have known the primitive information would have required the most elaborate cheating.
All the most obvious methods to cheat in such a circumstance would require having someone else know what cards were in Adelstein’s hand. There are two realistic ways to know that. Have a friend who simply peeks, then signals the information to Lew, in which case she should have known to fold because she was behind. Or, to somehow have hacked into the RFID information in the cards, and then with this data be sent some sort of signal that might, say, buzz an object in her pocket should she have the better hand. In which case, it would have been the most incredibly elaborate set-up, used in the very strangest way.
Or, you know, she just played really weirdly for a vast amount of money, and got lucky. Seemingly, with an investigation this thorough, there’s a good chance we’ll find out if the more peculiar possibilities are eliminated, at the very least.
Meanwhile, High Stakes offered to repay Robbi Jade Lew the money that was stolen from her, although it’s not been made clear if she has accepted. (We’ve asked.)