The recent weeks have been tough for the Hustler Casino Live stream. While some of the players involved in the games have been controversial, the accusation that members of the HCL team have been in any complicit with the cheating allegations has been hard to bear.

With multiple live streams behind them, a passionate and loyal fanbase and a demanding schedule, an investigation by the California Bureau of Gambling Control (CGBC) was perhaps the last thing the venue needed. This week saw some closure on the matter, at least outside the players directly involved.

A Fortnight of Furores

The Hustler Casino Live stream has quickly turned into one of the most popular out there, especially in a post-Postle phase of live streaming that is under intense scrutiny. The HCL stream has attracted thousands of fans online, especially on YouTube with its delayed-live stream proving immensely popular.

All was going well at HCL until last week, when the now-infamous hand between Garrett Adelstein and Robbi Jade Lew caused the mother of all bunfights. These emotional and forthright arguments eventually led to Garrett Adelstein compiling evidence of cheating and the poker world flip-flopping between believing him or Lew. There was even a separate investigation into the ‘palming’ of $15,000 from Lew’s stack by an employee, Bryan Sagbisal. He was subsequently sacked and may now face criminal charges, but that isn’t the only issue facing the players involved, or the team behind its broadcast.

HCL have since launched a full-scale investigation, not least because the authorities are now involved too. Here’s their statement on the matter this week.

Players Call for Streaming to Cease

The feds might be happy with HCL returning to our digital screens, but that doesn’t mean everyone is. Matt Berkey is just one example of a player who believes that until there is more work done, the streamed games should not return.

On Twitter, the Solve for Why founder said: “With Cali Gaming turning a blind eye, the responsibility to pressure stream houses to act in good faith is greater than ever. I firmly believe HCL gains more by being both the most popular AND most secure as opposed to continuing w/a black cloud of impropriety over their heads. I stand by the fact that HCL should shut down until they remedy their security failures, if for no other reason than to be the industry leader in both entertainment and security.”

Berkey is not the only one that believes infrastructure of security measures and transparency of practice are paramount for the show to go on.

Those is charge of HCL have come under fire all week for what has been allowed to take place. Both Feldman and Vertucci will be needed to help investigate the firing and probable prosecution of Bryan Sagbisal, who is likely to face criminal charges from Robbi Jade Lew after he stole $15,000 from her stack. The money was returned, but the damage was done.

Vertucci Defends Continued Operation

“In the heat of it, they didn’t even think anything was wrong.”

It was on his own podcast this week that Nick Vertucci defended the venue as he explained why he thinks that play should continue after discussing the jack-four hand.

“Nobody knew what was happening,” he said. “No players even thought there was a problem. Matter of fact, if you watch their interviews or talk to them, I’m not saying they feel that way now, but in the heat of it, they didn’t even think anything was wrong. If we stop the game or we stop the stream for two or three months, yeah, there is big monetary reasons that’s not good for us. But that’s not the reason, although that would have been considered, believe me. But the reason is because we didn’t know what happened. We just have one person saying one thing and nobody else saying it at the time.”

That’s certainly not the case now, of course. The world and his poker-playing wife have joined in on the debate. Players and fans alike have seen their opinions change on whether Lew was cheating Adelstein or not. The matter has attracted criticism for sexism, bias and impartiality – on both sides.

The investigation into what happened between Lew and Adelstein continues, as will the charges levied against Sagbisal.  During that time, the CBGC has permitted HCL to remain in operation and streaming is a part of their business plan. Whisper it quietly, but of all the controversial decisions in this mess, The California Bureau of Gambling Control might have made the most important move of all.

Joe Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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