The Scandal of Cheating That Shattered the Poker World

The Scandal of Cheating That Shattered the Poker World

Mike Postle

He had to hurry because he was late. Stones Gaming Hall is a small casino in Sacramento’s suburbs between Popeye’s and 80 Interstate. The 42-year-old man with the night face was immersed in a poker game there. September 21, 2019, the tournament attracted several elite players to the casino’s poker parlor, a dimly lit environment designed to resemble an Old West saloon. Stones was live-streaming the match on YouTube and Twitch. One businessman from Las Vegas had taken a chartered jet here with $50,000 in cash. Postle, though, was easily the night’s chip leader when he appeared on Stones’ live stream and was crushing the competition as usual.

After five hours of the show, an odd hand surfaced. Each player was dealt two cards face down (called “hole cards”) to begin the game, as is standard procedure in Texas Hold ‘Em, the most popular poker variant aired on television. The following three rounds of dealing five community cards face-up included betting opportunities. The flop is the first group of cards that are face up and consists of three cards. The dealer would then add one card (known as “the turn”), then another (“the river”). Each participant has two cards face down (their “hole cards”) and five cards face up (the “shared array”), and the goal is to make the best possible five-card hand utilizing these two types of cards.

However, seven out of the nine players folded before the flop. After receiving the queen of diamonds and the jack of hearts, Postle extended his hand. Marle Cordeiro, a Las Vegas professional with a large online following, was his only obstacle.

The flop brought Postle the spades 8, diamonds 9, and jack of diamonds. Postle now held a pair of jacks and needed only a ten to complete a straight flush (8–9-10-jack-queen). There was a requirement for two additional shared cards to be dealt with. When the 4 spades appeared on the turn, Cordeiro bet $600.

Of the nine players, seven folded before the flop even came. After receiving a queen of diamonds and a jack of hearts, Postle extended his hand. Only Marle Cordeiro, a specialist with a massive online following and a home base in Las Vegas, would stand in his way.

The flop gave Postle a pair of jacks and one ten short from a queen-high straight. Two paired cards remained. After the turn card was the fairly meaningless 4 of spades, Cordeiro made a $600 stake.

The best poker hand, known as “the nuts,” was held by Cordeiro, making Postle’s unusual surrender the correct play. After all of the cards were delivered, she had a 96% probability of keeping her advantage after she had a queen-high straight with the diamonds 10 and the queen of spades that she had been hiding before the river.

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