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Poker’s cheating allegations took a weird, wild turn nobody saw coming

Theft, threats, and a scandal that won’t go away.

An ongoing investigation into an alleged poker cheating scandal has taken a turn nobody ever expected. Now an employee of Hustler Casino Live, who ran the event, has been fired after allegedly stealing $15,000 in chips from Robbi Jade Lew on the same night she allegedly cheated. It’s only getting weirder from here.

On September 29th two players, Robbi Jade Lew and Garrett Adelstein faced down a pot with absolute trash in their hands. Adelstein was bluffing, Lew called him on it — and it led to an all-in face off that caused Adelstein to lose his chips. While it was definitely a bad beat, the nature of the hand left people wondering why Lew went so hard on a hand she had no chance of winning until the river, and Adelstein stoked the flames by saying he felt his opponent cheated.

This led to a frankly stupid discussion in which men on the internet, targeting Lew with harassment, insisted she not only knew what Adelstein’s hole cards were — but the entire flop. This would have required numerous people being in on the cheat, all working in concert to ensure she won, by feeding her information. They claim this came from a vibrating ring on her finger, which took us deeper down the stupidity rabbit hole. Lew said she’d gladly have her ring inspected by a jeweler — but somehow things got even more bizarre from here.

It was ridiculous to have Hustler Casino Live open a formal investigation into an incident that showed no cheating other than one player’s word. However, the preliminary findings did find something — theft on the inside. Bryan Sagbigsal, a staff member of Hustler Casino Live, was caught on security camera taking three $5,000 chips from Lew’s stack after filming had finished, which she wasn’t looking at the table.

Naturally, because the internet is full of amateur sleuths dying to find their Zapruder film, some are claiming Sagbigsal isn’t a thief — but that he was collecting payment from Lew for playing a role in the cheating scandal. There are all sorts of wild claims ranging from “yells” which don’t turn up on any video stream, to a “filing cabinet theory” which alleges Sagbigsal moved a piece of furniture on set to allow his desk to see the hole cards of players.

Of course, while there are some wild theories to build this narrative, they miss the biggest element here: THAT THIS WOULD BE THE ABSOLUTE STUPIDEST PLAN IN THE HISTORY OF CHEATING!

Seriously, this is some Ocean’s 11 (Brain Cells) shit. Suppose for one moment that Lew and Sagbigsal had colluded on a plan to cheat Adelstein, and suppose they agreed on a payment for providing Lew with information only Hustler staff knew.

WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU FURNISH THIS PAYMENT BY HAVING SAGBIGSAL STEAL CHIPS OUT OF LEW’S STACK DURING A LIVE EVENT, WITH CAMERAS EVERYWHERE, RATHER THAN, I DUNNO ... PAY HIM AFTER THE FACT WHEN NOBODY WAS WATCHING.

The desperation to believe this is a huge cheating scandal has led its proponents to ignore all semblances of logic in favor of mental gymnastics to find a way that proves Lew cheated. Still, there is no evidence at this time that she did anything wrong during the hand.

Buckle up, because it’s about to get even weirder.

Andrea Chang, a reporter for the L.A. Times who spoke to Lew following the event tried to expand on the story by speaking to Sagbigsal, who is also a Los Angeles native. When she found him and asked about Lew, he threatened to stalk her.

Lew claims she initially told detectives she didn’t wish to press charges against Sagbigsal, but since changed her mind upon learning he has a criminal record. This is the new breeding ground for theories, with critics saying that it proves Lew was trying to shield her accomplice until the story got too hot.

In short: This is all exceedingly dumb, it just won’t end, and still there’s not a shred of evidence Lew cheated outside of Adelstein’s claims, which are all conjecture.

Lew is taking what she calls a “mental health break,” which if you look at the replies to her tweets from misogynists is totally understandable. After that she’s attempting to clear her name by taking a polygraph test live on stream, to be conducted by a third party. This has reached a point where Lew is having to bend over backwards to defend herself against baseless claims from a man who lost a poker hand and got pissy about it.

The whole situation is gross.