(OPINION) Reality Check: Mike Postle Isn’t the Only Player Cheating on Poker Live-Streams

Few still believe Mike Postle is innocent of the allegations brought forth by Veronica Brill that he cheated during numerous Stones Live streams. So, instead of continuing to produce evidence – I believe we already have enough – I’m going to hit the poker community with a bit of a reality check that might not sit well with some of you. I have no doubt that other players are cheating on various live-streams.

Mike Postle cheating poker

Mike Postle probably isn’t the only poker cheater. (Image: YouTube/Jonathan Little)

Doug Polk said he’s been receiving private messages about other potential live-stream cheaters. He dropped a heavy dose of reality on his Twitter followers about those who play on live-stream shows.

Polk is correct. There are people – the tech team – that have access to hole cards in real-time. Players have to trust that those with access to their live, face-down cards aren’t sharing that information to another player at the table. And I’d be naive to think Postle is the only one who has found a way to cheat.

More Cheaters Than You Know About

Former Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa was busted for using a corked bat in 2003. During a regular season game against Tampa Bay, veteran umpire Tim McClelland discovered a piece of cork had been inserted into the barrel of Sosa’s bat, which violates Major League Baseball rules.

Corking a bat can help a batter drive the ball. It would certainly give a hitter an unfair advantage. A fly ball to the outfield fence might have enough carry to go over the fence for a home run if the bat is corked. MLB took action, suspending Sosa for eight games.

Sammy, unsurprisingly given his questionable character, refused to own up to cheating. Instead, he claimed it was a mistake. Apparently, intentionally cheating is considered a “mistake” to the now disgraced former baseball star. He accidentally mixed up his batting practice bat with his game bat, or so he said. Yeah, sure, Sammy, that sounds totally plausible. Only Mike Matusow would believe such a ridiculous excuse.

No one with a functioning brain believed Sosa’s lame excuse. And I’m a Cubs fan, so this isn’t coming from some hater. Sammy’s excuse is about as believable as when Postle claims the Stones Live producers exaggerated his winnings.

But any time a cheating scandal comes up, such as with Postle, I think back to the Sosa corked bat incident. Sammy, a player that only a myopic Cubs fans would deny used steroids during his 18-year career, hit 609 homers, good for ninth of all-time. He claims he only once used a corked bat, but I, and pretty much anyone who has the ability to think logically, believe that is utter B.S.

If Postle Can Do It, Anyone Can

It’s highly unlikely that the one time Sosa used a corked bat, he just so happened to get caught. And it’s equally unlikely there haven’t been many other hitters who have used corked bats. Most just haven’t been caught.

For every cheater who gets busted, there are probably a dozen who don’t. It’s not just in baseball or other sports. I guarantee it also happens in poker. Postle got caught thanks to Veronica Brill outing him, and then poker industry professionals such as Joe Ingram, Matt Berkey, and Doug Polk putting in the time to investigate the claims.

But, like in baseball, there are most certainly many other poker players who are running similar scams on live-streams. The difference between those individuals and Postle is, unlike Postle, they’re probably smart enough to dump some chips from time to time so that they aren’t so obvious.

Postle was greedy and careless. Perhaps, he thought no one would ever catch him because the Stones Live streams don’t get many viewers. Honestly, he probably never would have been caught if he would have occasionally made some poor decisions on the river.

He wasn’t smart enough to dump chips once in a while. He should have called off an occasional river bet with the worst hand or bluffed into the nuts. Instead, he always made the correct play based on his opponents cards on stream when facing a river decision.

I always say that if you aren’t intelligent, you shouldn’t commit a crime. Dumb criminals end up in jail. It’s clear that Postle isn’t the brightest bulb on the block. I’m not going to call him a moron, but I have no doubt he isn’t a Mensa member either.

You Can’t Completely Stop Cheating in Poker

I love the game of poker, but I’m not naive enough to believe I’ve never been cheated at the table in my 16 years of playing. Chances are pretty good you’ve been cheated at some point as well.

Cheating doesn’t only happen on live-stream shows. It also happens in regular cash games at just about any casino in the world. Players collude with other players, dealers collude with players, and as we saw with Postle, players can find a way to view an opponent’s hole cards on a live-stream.

No matter what precautions are put in place, certain players will find a way to cheat. Performance enhancing drugs are banned in professional sports and athletes are required to take random drug screens. But, some athletes find a way to beat the system and use PED’s. The same thing will always happen in poker, unfortunately, even after Postlegate.

You Can Still Take Precautions to Minimize Cheating

Even if some players get away with cheating in poker, we can all work together to prevent it from happening as much as possible. PokerGo took a smart step in the right direction by banning the use of electronic devices at WSOP Europe feature tables.

I applaud Poker Central’s efforts to prevent cheating, especially during a major poker series. Plus, we’re all too attached to our cell phones anyway. A few hours with no phone or Internet access won’t kill the players at the feature tables.

There are many other ways to help prevent cheating in poker. I approve of banning the use of cell phones during live-streamed events. Postle is alleged to have used some sort of electronic device during play on Stones Live in order to cheat. Perhaps, requiring security to check out the electronic devices each player brings to the table would be a smart idea.

Another way to help combat cheating is to continue calling out the cheaters. If you know or suspect a player is cheating, even if it’s in your local low-stakes games, let a floor manager know of your suspicions.

By publicly outing cheaters, it might make others think twice before cheating. No one wants to end up like Postle or Russ Hamilton. Once you get caught, you will never be welcomed back into the poker community. And that’s the way it should be.

Jon Sofen
Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.

Comments

jsnake716 wrote...

I really do not like “journalists” who write stories like this one. Yes, people with the ability to think critically can come to the conclusion that “cheating” does happen, and not just at poker, in many areas in life, people are willing to take an unfair advantage. This article just feels like a shameless pile on, the author does not produce anything suspicious, he just tells us, yeah, if you play poker, you must be dumb, it is obvious that cheating is rampant. The same person who wrote this anti-poker article claims he “loves” poker?? Really?? It sure does not come off that way. I would like to see this author write a story about how the poker community rallied together to gather as much evidence as possible from the public information, yes, these people who make their living from poker actually did the right thing, even though it brought negative attention to their source of income. How many other industries did the opposite when faced with a couple of bad apples. I think people who enjoy poker should feel reassured that the community will not sit back and cover up for someone who is obviously taking advantage of the game. OK- rant over.

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akfishkiller wrote...

cheating at poker is a joke.dealers flash cards to off duty floor people,they hold out cards in slugs on bottom of the deck to name a couple.the latest is frontrunning presidential comments in the options market with payoffs in the 80m to 1.5 B

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