Friday, October 4, 2019

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

Apologies if this is a bit rushed and unpolished but I'm in Vegas at the moment and wanted to chime in on the Mike Postle debate while it's still front page news.

I'm not going to go into hand history minutiae - there are loads posted by Doug Polk and Joey Ingram which go into far more detail than I could possibly manage. There are also lots of figures compiled by people with far too much time on their hands which detail wins, losses, VPIPs and other stats ad Infinitum. 

As a caveat I have no relationship with anyone mentioned in this blog, I've never met them and probably haven't even corresponded on social media with them, albeit I follow a few on twitter and subscribe to some you tube channels. 

I'm also not a lawyer - although a few years ago I sat on a committee related to my job which was mostly populated by lawyers and in general conversation one of my fellow members was shocked when she discovered that I'm not, nor ever have been, a qualified solicitor. 

So if you've been living in a cave for the last couple of days an allegation of cheating was made by Veronica Brill ( against a player by the name of Mike Postle ( that Mike was cheating on a live streamed game at Stones Gambling Hall in northern California. Veronica is a long time presenter and commentator at these games and has presumably been building these suspicions over a reasonable amount of time. 

The allegations are that Mike (whether alone or with collusion from someone at Stones) has access to the RFID technology and therefore is aware of what hole cards each player is holding. Stones originally brushed these concerns under the carpet by stating that they'd carried out an internal review and determined that the allegations were baseless which is a red flag in itself - they didn't give any details of any review and if it's conducted internally any potential wrong doer is firstly alerted to an investigation and secondly is potentially conducting the review against their own wrongdoing - quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Stones presumably thought this would make the matter disappear but Veronica made her allegations public, after which they were picked up by the wider poker community and deeper investigations were conducted by various vloggers which picked apart hands played. The results are astounding. 

-Mike has had 69 documented sessions in 2019 and lost money on 7 of them (mainly due to a few "hero calls" from other players holding marginal hands catching naked bluffs
-Mike didn't lose an all in river situation over the entirety of those sessions. Not one
-Mike seemed to make incredible laydowns against strong opponents and bluffed into weak ones. Not overly remarkable in itself but happening multiple times and against multiple opponents it's pretty unusual. 

Mike himself claims that he plays an extremely high variance form of poker using his amazing live reading skills. Fine. But high variance entails the occasional high loss, something we never see over the sessions analysed. Not once. As to his live reading skills he spends the majority of his time staring at his crotch or with his hands clasped to his hat. 

A lot of discussion has taken place around those last 2 points - has he got an app on his phone that he's using to see a live version of the stream which is normally delayed to ameliorate this situation? Or does he have some form of receiver in his hat that an accomplice is using to send him information? 

No one apart from Mike knows this and no one will probably ever find out. If the perpetrator(s) is smart he will have destroyed any evidence and just deny that it ever existed. Stones have now announced a second "external" investigation which is apparently being headed by the casino owner's personal attorney. 

But as to the smoking gun - any layman, let alone a lawyer, will know that the absence of a weapon doesn't mean that a murder hasn't been committed. The chances of finding that smoking gun are minimal but there is so much circumstantial evidence - either Mike is the greatest poker player in the world or a cheat. And if he's not a cheat I'm the King of England (hint - the only thing that runs through my veins is of the high alcohol, rather than blue variety). 

So now back my original title (and point). Veronica has received a great deal of abuse on the internet for even voicing these allegations. She's been attacked, threatened and ridiculed and even had very upsetting personal history brought up by those who don't believe her accusations. This is disgusting but I know the deepest darkest corners of the internet are populated by vile individuals intent on making everyone as unhappy as they obviously are. 

What would have happened had Veronica not voiced her concerns? How long would Mike's amazing win streak have continued? No one knows. But what we do know is this - our game is based on trust. Trust that the playing field is level, trust that each individual is working alone, trust that no one (even the casino) is trying to favour one player over another. So if someone is even suspected of breaching that trust we all have a duty to speak up without fear of repercussions and keep speaking up until our voices are heard because without this trust our game is dead. 

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