Mike Postle was an unknown, low-stakes poker pro out of Northern California before late September. He is now an infamous player who allegedly cheated his opponents out of hundreds of thousands of dollars on live-stream, and also the subject of the top poker story of 2019.
On Sept. 28, Vernoica Brill rocked the poker world with a wild tweet storm. She alleged on Twitter that a player at Stones Gambling Hall – we’d later come to know his name as Mike Postle – had been cheating for months in Stoves Live live-streamed cash games.
You take that player off the stream while you launch a proper, objective, investigation done by a third-party. Once it's shown that the player has not been cheating you make your investigation public and let the player back onto the stream.
— Veronica Brill (@Angry_Polak) September 28, 2019
So much good happened in poker this past year. The WSOP Main Event, poker’s most prestigious tournament, had 8,569 entries– the second most in its 50-year history.
Phil Galfond introduced the #GalfondChallenge, a heads-up challenge that will excite poker fans when it begins next year. And Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 world champion and one of poker’s top ambassadors, finally made the Poker Hall of Fame. Many others, however, will remember 2019 as the year a low-stakes poker player allegedly pulled off an elaborate scam.
Postle Forever on Santa’s Naughty List
Last week, we put Mike Postle atop Santa’s poker naughty list — a list he might belong on every year from now until the end of eternity, especially if the cheating allegations are proven true. We’ll stick with “alleged” until the courts determine otherwise, but most in the poker community have already made up their mind that Postle is a cheater.
Postle made Santa’s naughty list because he potentially cheated his Stones Gambling Hall opponents out of hundreds of thousands of dollars from July 2018 to September 2019. His accusers claim he used some sort of device, potentially with the help of an individual or individuals working for Stones Live, to gain access to opponent’s hole cards.
Having access to an opponent’s hole cards makes the game of poker easy. If you had that information, you’d always know the right play to make, and would rarely lose.
Postle consistently made the correct decision on the river during the Stones Live streams. The likelihood of the best poker player in the world almost never making the wrong decision on the river over dozens of cash game sessions is improbable, let alone a low-stakes grinder who is unknown to most of the poker community.
Turning a Bad Situation into a Positive
Postle’s cheating scandal is undoubtedly a black mark on the game, but there is a positive aspect to this unfortunate situation.
We’d like to give a hat tip to Veronica Brill, who bravely outed Postle on Twitter. If not for Brill coming forward, despite knowing she’d face some backlash, Postle may have gotten away with it for much longer.
Joey Ingram also deserves some credit for leading the public’s investigation into the cheating scandal. The YouTube podcaster shared countless hours of Stones Live footage with his followers. His hard work even drew the attention of Scott Van Pelt, an ESPN SportsCenter host.
Postle allegedly cheated other players out of a boat-load of money. There’s no doubt a scandal of this magnitude is bad for the game, but the usually contentious poker community came together to ensure he didn’t get away with it — and to potentially prevent another major cheating scandal in the future.
Let’s hope when we write an article on the top poker story of 2020, we can write it about something more positive. Perhaps, the US legalizes online poker nationwide? We can dream, can’t we?