Postle-gate one of the top poker stories in 2019
After nearly a year of drama that started in a California poker room and made its way to the courthouse, the legal portion of the Mike Postle cheating scandal came to an end this week after the majority of plaintiffs in the lawsuit accepted a settlement offer.
Terms of the settlement were not announced (and only 61 out of the initial 88 plaintiffs signed off); however, it has been reported that the amount each player received was “nominal” and likely nowhere near the $10 million requested for damages in the initial lawsuit.
Cheating said to have occurred on Live Streamed broadcasts
Postle is accused in the lawsuit of having been able to receive hole card details electronically through either a hidden communication device in his cap or to his cellphone which was in his lap for most games. The games took place at Stones Gambling Hall in Citrus Heights, California, and were streamed live online with commentators in another room. Over $250,000 was won by Postle in No Limit Hold’em games where the blinds were generally between $1/$3 and $5/$5.
“Mr. Postle’s winnings on the Stones Live Poker broadcast, and his correlative play of poker, have been so exceptionally outstanding as to lead the commentator to note his seemingly mystical abilities on numerous occasions,” the lawsuit states.
One of those commentators was Veronica Brill. Watching and commentating on the matches, the play Brill saw just didn’t make sense. After voicing her suspicions to the casino and getting nowhere, Brill set the online poker community on the hunt and the results left few in doubt of Postle’s guilt.
While there were many hands that seemed impossible to explain without having inside knowledge of an opponent’s cards, one had that stood out had Postle holding four-five off-suit against Chris Moneymaker and another player – both of whom were holding Big Slick (Ace-King). After both of the players moved all-in, Postle made a seemingly impossible call for $3,400 holding five high – a call that only makes sense knowing the cards your opponents have to cancel each other out.
The scandal made headlines beyond the poker world
While the initial investigation largely took place online, the alleged cheating burst into the mainstream media with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt dedicating an over three-minute segment to cover the scandal on a SportsCenter broadcast last October. Take a look at the video below for a summary of the accusations laid out in language for those new to the game of poker.
Big thanks to @notthefakeSVP for doing such a great job explaining the Postle situation on Sportscenter in a way that anyone can understand. I appreciate the shout out for the investigation. Hopefully we get to the bottom of this soon.@Angry_Polak @haralabob @BarstoolNate pic.twitter.com/3pf6QJnXSI
— Joey Ingram #passion (@Joeingram1) October 5, 2019
Shortly after this video appeared on TV, a lawsuit was filed in civil court by the players who lost to Postle during the broadcasts. The judge dismissed the lawsuit earlier this summer citing California’s policy “against judicial resolution of…gambling disputes.” The settlement this week formally ends the legal process.
Alleged cheater breaks silence
Throughout the initial scandal, as well as, many of the court hearings along the way, Postle has been conspicuously quiet offering only one brief interview early on with Mike Matusow’s “The Mouthpiece” podcast. He reached out to the local newspaper, The Sacramento Bee, via text message after the settlement was announced.
“This all goes way beyond just my innocence (and) I’ve been waiting for many, many months on this and I’m anxious for this to come out,” Postle told the Bee.
Unfortunately for those looking for that explanation, they’ll have to wait a bit longer. Postle will be teaming up with producer Mike Broome, known for TV reality shows Ultimate Beastmaster and The Biggest Loser, to create a documentary telling his side of the story.
Poker community reacts to settlement
Even before the case started its journey through the legal system, the vast majority of poker pros online had come to the conclusion Postle had been cheating. This week’s settlement will do little to change those viewpoints but nevertheless social media was active with thoughts on the saga’s latest twist.
One of the defendants in the lawsuit was Stones Gambling Hall’s tournament director, Justin Kuraitis. He released a four-page statement on Twitter calling out a number of poker commentators and professionals. Daniel Negreanu was one of those called out and he hit right back:
First of all, I have no clue who you are or why I was mentioned.
After reading this, however, it just seems way more likely that you had to of known this dude was cheating. Oh, and cheating he was.
No one loves their crotch that much bro. GTFO
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 15, 2020
The scandal is not over yet but anymore information will likely have to wait a while as Broome’s documentary is still a year or so away from coming out on Netflix if the rumors are to be believed.