In a rapidly expanding scandal rocking the poker world, Mike Postle has been accused of using hole card access to cheat fellow players out of more than $250,000.
The alleged incidences of cheating occurred at Stones Gambling Hall, a casino located in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights, during live streamed cash game sessions. That allegation was made by poker pro and former Stones Live stream broadcaster Veronica Brill in a series of Twitter posts published on September 28.
Stakeholders Speak Out on Social Media
According to Veronica Brill’s social media feed, her experience watching hours of play prominently featuring Mike Postle as the game’s regular big winner sparked suspicion that something was amiss:
“Am I sure that this player is cheating? No.
Do I think that there is a greater than zero % chance that he is? Yes.
Have numerous professional poker players voiced their concerns to me regarding this player? Yes.
I wanted to take him off my line up last year because of suspicions but was assured by the guy running the stream that he wasn’t cheating. All the videos are up. You can decide for yourself.”
Brill provided a compilation of video clips showing Postle’s suspect play on the live stream, with every decision he made appearing to be correct based on his ostensibly unknown opponents’ hole cards. From there, poker personalities like Joey Ingram and Doug Polk launched investigations of their own, poring over dozens of hours of Postle’s play without “cherry-picking” certain clips.
Mike Postle’s Perfect Play
Within days, those investigations – combined with similar analysis from poker pros like Matt Berkey, Scott Seiver, and Haralabos Voulgaris – provided demonstrable evidence that Postle’s perfect play couldn’t be possible given poker’s basic statistical probabilities.
Ingram eventually compiled a graph showing that Postle had a chips voluntarily put in pot (VPIP) rate of over 60 percent when the average culled from thousands of tracked players is less than 30 percent. Furthermore, Postle was shown to have won more than 1,000 big blinds per 100 hands played (BB/100), despite no other legitimate player tracked exceeding 150 (BB/100).
The poker playing artificial intelligence program Pluribus which defeated a team of top pros earlier this year only managed a win rate of 5 BB/100.
And per Ingram’s data, the only poker player ever documented to attain a win rate remotely close to Postle’s was the infamous “PotRipper” account on Ultimate Bet. PotRipper had a VPIP over 90 percent and won slightly more than 500 BB/100, but was eventually proven to be a “super user” account who used insider access to gain access to all opponent hole cards.
Justin Kuraitis Refutes Veronica Brill
Brill went on to say that she previously voiced her concerns to Stones tournament director Justin Kuraitis, who also supervised the Stones Live stream while occasionally providing commentary. Per Brill’s account, Kuraitis dismissed her complaints out of hand, claiming she simply failed to understand Postle’s use of advanced poker strategies.
Justin Kuraitis went on to use the official Stones Live Poker account on Twitter to refute Brill’s claims against Postle:
“Earlier this year an accusation was made that a player was cheating in our game.
We conducted a full investigation & found no evidence that any cheating had occurred. Stones Live stream remains a secure poker streaming platform.
The recent allegations are completely fabricated.”
However, within days of Brill going public, Stones Gambling Hall reversed that position by suspending all live streamed games and launching an internal investigation.
Mike Postle Addresses Poker Cheat Accusations
As for Mike Postle himself, the accused cheat initially took to Twitter to defend his honor:
“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 by a handful of local individuals who convinced someone it was true, and to ultimately attack me publicly in the process with nothing but speculation on a tiny fraction of hands that are questionable at best.”
But after pledging to provide video evidence of his own showing losing sessions and incorrect plays, Postle ceased all Twitter activity as of September 29.
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Alleged Cheat
Based on the available evidence, Mac VerStandig – an attorney specializing in poker and gambling industry law – has already filed a class action suit against Postle, Kuraitis, and Stones Gambling Hall’s parent company.
The suit seeks $30 million in damages based on the alleged cheating scheme’s impact on 25 plaintiffs who claim to have been bilked by Postle.
In the suit, Mac VanDerstig and his legal team describe Postle’s alleged criminal activity as one of the worst scandals to ever plague the poker world:
“This case concerns Mr. Postle’s systematic use of one or more electronic devices, for the purposes of cheating, while playing in broadcast games of live poker, to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from fellow players.
This case represents the single largest known cheating scandal in the history of broadcast poker … (and) is brought with hopes the discovery process will reveal why Stones appears to perpetually covered up for Mr. Postle.”