Bracelet Winner Michael Lech Reports Being Banned by Winning Poker Network

Arkansas poker pro Michael Lech is continuing his public attacks on the grey-market Winning Poker Network after he reported being banned by the network one week ago for as-yet-undisclosed reasons. Lech, the winner of one World Series of Poker bracelet and eight WSOP Circuit rings — in addition to other honors — disclosed the ban on May 10 while professing his innocence regarding the reasons for the action.

Eight-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Michael Lech claims he remains unaware of why he was banned by the Winning Poker Network one week ago. (Image: Twitter/miguel_fiesta)

In his initial post, Lech disclosed that three separate accounts — one each on the WPN’s America’s Cardroom, True Poker, and Blue Chip Poker skins — had been frozen. Lech’s Tweet of a WPN message he received disclosed the beginning of the situation:

One of the comments to the initial post came from WPN CEO Phillip Nagy, who told Lech to take up the matter with WPN security:

Nagy’s refusal to talk publicly about the reasons behind Lech’s banning is standard operating procedure for online poker sites and their executives.

Therefore, the only way the reasons behind such bans generally become public is for the banned player to disclose them him or herself. Lech, though, in a follow-up Tweet, today, stated that WPN security will not disclose to him the reasons for the ban:

The veracity of Lech’s claim cannot be independently determined. However, Lech did not respond to two separate inquiries into the situation, despite his having made the matter public.

‘Woman scorned’ aspersions proliferate

The lack of information on the reasons behind Lech’s WPN banning have led some of his friends and followers to launch accusations at his former girlfriend, Canadian poker pro Vanessa Kade. Comments mentioning Kade by name have been deleted from Lech’s @miguel_fiesta Twitter feed, but several “woman scorned” mentions remain there, on discussion forums, and even on at least one prominent poker-news podcast; none of those aspersions provide any evidence whatsoever of Kade’s alleged and purportedly vengeful involvement.

Kade’s fame has risen sharply in recent months following her March victory in PokerStars’ 15th Anniversary Sunday Million tourney, worth a $1.5 million payday, and her becoming a spokes-player for America’s Cardroom after she called out her former site, GGPoker, for supporting and sponsoring the wildly misogynistic behavior of poker-playing Instagram bad boy, Dan Bilzerian.

Kade denies responsibility for anything to do with Lech’s banning. Commenting directly to CardsChat News following Lech’s first Twitter post, Kade wrote, “This issue is between Michael Lech and ACR Security – I’m sure they’ve probably already seen it, but I’ve passed his posts on to that team.”

Lech also appeared to blind-reference Kade and possibly clear her of potential involvement in a Tweet made later on Sunday:

The situation remains jumbled. Not only is Lech one of the more prominent pros to receive a site ban in recent years, he is held in generally high regard by his fellow pros, at least a couple of whom were among those offering comments supporting him or joining into the Kade-targeting aspersions.

Written by
Haley Hintze
Contributing writer Haley Hintze is a 20-year veteran of the poker world, a Women in Poker Hall of Fame finalist, and two-time Global Poker Awards finalist.

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