Accusations of cheating in live games are quite a thing right now. While chess is embroiled in the most curious accusations of cheating, it now looks like it’s the poker world’s turn. After an extraordinary moment in a live high stakes cash game, people are accusing poker pro Robbi Jade Lew of somehow cheating to win a hand worth $269,000.
While the popularity of broadcast poker has certainly waned in the years since Chris Moneymaker blew up the World Series of Poker with his shocking win in 2003, there is still a fair amount of interest in watching obscenely wealthy players wager the GDP of developing countries. over a hand of cards. During such a live streamed game from BETMGMa showdown between once Instagram model Robbi Jade Lew and one-time Survivor contestant Garrett Adelstein, both pro poker players, ended up in stunned bewilderment across the table, and even the world, when Lew Adelstein’s all-in called on the turn, for a quarter of a million dollars, despite not having more than the pair on the turn . plate.
At that moment, Adelstein looked utterly furious, stared at Lew and didn’t speak for minutes. Lew has since claimed that she was “taken out of the game” and “forced to talk to him in a dark hallway.” She also stated in the same tweet“He cornered me and threatened me.” Adelstein has denied this version of events. After this, Lew offered to refund Adelstein the money, which he accepted.
Since then, wild and unproven allegations of cheating have been made, including, of course, that she used a “hidden vibrating device.” Because god knows, you can no longer suggest that someone is cheating without implying that it is vibrating suggestively.
Before we go any further, let’s split the hand in question first. It is without a doubt a very peculiar one. It’s heads up after only Adelstein and Lew are left in the hand and everyone else has folded to the blinds with a pot of $4.5k. Adelstein has suited connectors, 7 and 8 clubs, while Lew has junk, J clubs and 4 hearts. Adelstein raises to $3,000 and Lew calls. A strange call, but maybe assuming she already has $400 in, who cares. These numbers may seem crazy, but they are relatively low numbers as Adelstein is behind a stack of $813k and Lew only $133k.
The flop comes out at 10h, 10c, 9c, giving Adelstein quite a few draws, and Lew absolutely nada. It is also important to note that Lew currently has the winning hand. However, Adelstein has so many draws, with the potential flush, straight and even straight flush, that the odds gave him a good head start, 70:30 to win the pot. He bets a soft $2,500, at this point only seems to be testing the waters, trying to see where Lew’s hand might be. However, Lew plays so erratic that this isn’t really something he’ll be able to do.
So Lew calls with rags, but again, it’s still “only” $2.5k. Looks like she’s messing around, instead of somehow gaining insight into Adelstein’s hand. Because, let’s not forget, he’s right and Lew is way behind. If she’s cheating right now, she’s doing it in an extremely strange way. Knowing what cards Adelstein currently has would ensure that any sensible player would fold and not call.
A 3 Hearts then comes out on the turn, and the For real equalizes everything. Adelstein is only 53:47 ahead, making this a complete coin flip. However, if a Club, a 6 or a Jack had fallen, Adelstein would have had the nuts. Heck, a Jack could have tricked Lew into thinking she was leading the way, and put her in a much more dangerous position. Adelstein, who now has a one-card draw, bets $10k. Again, it’s a good bet, he has nothing at the moment, but wants to stay to see the river. Then Lew raises. It’s an insane move, it doesn’t make any sense, but if you’ve ever seen Gus Hansen at a table, you’ll be very familiar with someone making aggressive moves in a playful squat.
And, in my misinformed opinion, I don’t think it would be a bad move for Adelstein to fold at this point. He’s hunting, and from his perspective it would be reasonable to assume that Lew was slowplaying something here, trying to lead him on, get him to do the raise. Heck, trip-10s would be my immediate guess. Maybe that 3 on the turn would have hit her pocket 3s, or more likely, she could have had a much better flush draw herself. He’s 8 high here, it’s not like this is a crushing takedown of an epic hand. However, annoyed by Lew’s minimal re-raise, Adelstein moves all-in. He has decided that he wants to read and wants to push her off.
Lew’s call is insane. But you could also say, maybe she had an incredible lecture about Adelstein. Maybe she had found something and she was absolutely sure she was leading the way. The point is, we don’t know. Lew then does a lot of pantomime, she explains a time chip, she thinks about it as if she has to make an important decision, despite almost certainly – from her perspective – drawing death. Would be a Jack on the river something, but not much. And yet, for whatever reason, she calls for her entire stack.
They run the river twice, giving Adelstein twice the chances of finding his flush or straight. But in the end, Lew wins the lottery and doubles up with Jack high on both rivers. Adelstein’s shock is extraordinary, just sitting and staring, which Lew later described as a “death stare.”
Now clearly no one has provided any evidence of cheating, nor do we have any idea what the truth of the situation could be. Robbi Jade Lew is definitely embracing the moment and trolling people via her Twitter account, not least earlier today when she said, “Call it cheating, lying, scheming…IDC. But when I hear the word #suss again, must I might change my story at least five more times.”
It is certainly true that Lew’s explanations for the move at the table make no sense. Lew claims she played Adelstein, not the cards, but that wouldn’t make sense since she just calls and doesn’t raise. When challenged as to why she thinks she’s ahead, she gives answers that don’t really make sense, not least when she mixes her hand with the river on the turn. But all this can easily be attributed to standard table nonsense, or just the adrenaline rush from such a ridiculous hand.
More importantly, Adelstein’s allegations simply make no sense. What would a buzzing device have told her? that he is a far better hand than her, with so many outs that she was still behind with the higher card? Any bit of information, beyond the impossibility of knowing which river cards were coming, would have led her to fold. If she was cheating, she just wouldn’t have made the extremely bizarre decision to go all in.
Adelstein hasn’t been shy with accusations since then. He directly suggested that there could be a “vibrating device in her pocket”, although he did not suggest what such a device might have told her that would lead to this series of events. He too said in a statement“Of course I’m going to accept my money back after I’ve clearly been scammed.”
Even more curiously, Lew refunded him the money, which Adelstein accepted, noting, “If I thought there was a chance I wasn’t being cheated, I wouldn’t have accepted the refund.” He also throws around other unproven and far-fetched theories, such as “card reader hacking,” while never trying to explain why having information would have led to her decision.
Meanwhile, Lew has clearly been having fun and giving multiple versions of events to explain her game. She retweeted one who said she thought she had J3o instead of J4 said “it worked” while acknowledging a lot of other people who have pointed out seeing her make similar quirky plays over the years. And, as I noted above, she went on to suggest that she will continue to change her story as the accusations keep flying.
We’ve reached out to both players to ask for their perspective on the incident, and specifically what cheating would have accomplished in this particular situation, and we’ll get an update when we get back to you.