Stones Gambling Hall pulls plug on livestreamed poker games after cheating allegations against regular player

Key Points
  • Stones Gambling Hall in California said it will halt the live streaming of poker games pending an investigation into cheating allegations made against Mike Postle, one of the game's players.
  • The original accusations were made by Veronica Brill, another poker player who is a commentator and has also played with Postle on "Stones Live."
Jeffrey Coolidge | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Stones Gambling Hall in Sacramento, California says it will not livestream poker games pending an investigation into cheating allegations made against one of the game's players, Mike Postle.

Postle has been a regular on "Stones Live," a live poker game streamed on Twitch. His success in the game has raised eyebrows.

The original accusations were made by Veronica Brill, another poker player who has played with Postle on "Stones Live." Since then, others have come forward with similar complaints.

If someone is displaying a probability of cheating on a live stream you don't make the entire room not be able to use their cellphones in an attempt to reduce everyone's anxiety and then still promote the player as one of the best.

Brill has no specific accusation of what Postle is doing and even admits that she can't be sure he is cheating. So why does she think he is cheating? His results are too good, according to Brill.

She said (and several professional pokers players who talked to CNBC, agreed) no one could do as well as he has, for as long as he has, on these livestreamed games.

Postle has not yet responded to CNBC's request for comment. He has defended himself on Twitter as well as on a poker podcast, "The Mouthpiece with Mike Matusow," saying "it is absolutely impossible for me to be doing what they're claiming. It is 1000% impossible."

There is so much I want to say and now so much that I am forced to say which involves gloating about my 16 year poker career. One that involves me being so successful everywhere I've played including online, that I've been accused of having an unfair advantage...

Poker commentator Joey Ingram made two YouTube videos, totaling 10 hours, examining Postle's play. He estimates Postle won $250,000 over more than 250 hours of play in relatively low-stakes games. Poker pro Matt Berkey said that is a win rate of 10 times what the greatest players in the world could be expected to win in the same games.

Postle disputed the amount he's won, saying it's less than half the $250,000 that Ingram claims.

It's not just that Postle is winning, it's how he's winning, that is drawing suspicion. Ingram, Berkey and others have spent hours reviewing hands Postle played and found several times where Postle made a fold or a call that wouldn't seem "right" but happened to work out in his favor.

Berkey said Postle made plays no pro would ever make, and he did them often, and they worked. Poker is a game of incomplete information. Berkey said Postle played "as if he had perfect information."

Stones Gambling Hall said it has hired an independent investigator to look into the accusations.

In a statement Stones Gambling Hall said: "We temporarily halted all broadcasts from Stones. We have also, as a result, halted the use of RFID playing cards."

Stones Gambling is committed to the integrity of our games. We have been alarmed by allegations of unfair play occurring during the streamed broadcasts of our "Stones Live" games and have acted quickly to investigate.

The RFID cards contain chips, that combined with readers in the poker table, transmit information about each player's hole cards, so that viewers can see the cards on the broadcast (which is on a 30-minute delay to protect game integrity).

At this point, there is no specific allegation, no "smoking gun" as Berkey said. But many pros are pointing to those RFID cards and the hole card information, saying it's just not possible for Postle to play the way he does and win the way he does.

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