Mike Postle and Stones Poker Cheating Allegations: Here’s What We Know
Allegations of a cheating scandal featuring Mike Postle, a regular at the Stones Gambling Hall, have taken over the poker world the past few days.
Postle is a regular on the livestreamed cash games at Stones, which feature $1/$3 and $5/$5 games, sometimes with an ante. On these streams, Postle has consistently been heralded for bizarre plays that have work out well for him. He is considered to be one of the biggest winners in the game.
The allegations were brought forward by Veronica Brill, known as Angry_Pollack on Twitter. In the tweets, she alleges that Stones failed to launch a proper investigation when brought forward with complaints.
If someone is displaying a probability of cheating on a live stream you don’t make the entire room not be able to use their cellphones in an attempt to reduce everyone’s anxiety and then still promote the player as one of the best.
— Veronica 2.0 (@Angry_Polak) September 28, 2019
Postle and Stones whole-heartedly deny cheating:
Postle himself responded with an emotional thread on Twitter, claiming that he has been a long-time winner both live and online and utilizes exceptional live reads while implementing a high variance style:
There is so much I want to say and now so much that I am forced to say which involves gloating about my 16 year poker career. One that involves me being so successful everywhere I’ve played including online, that I’ve been accused of having an unfair advantage by a handful of 1/2
— Mike Postle (@Mike_Postle) September 30, 2019
Stones also issued a statement backing Postle and whole-heartedly denying the allegations and claiming that an investigation has already occured:
Earlier this year an accusation was made that a player was cheating in our game
We conducted a full investigation & found no evidence that any cheating had occurred
Stones Live stream remains a secure poker streaming platform
The recent allegations are completely fabricated
— StonesLivePoker (@StonesLivePoker) September 29, 2019
Justin Kuraitis, the tournament director of the room, issued similar sentiments on his personal twitter:
It is unfortunate that these allegations were made public w/ absolutely no evidence
The reputation of my team & an exciting/fun player are now being publicly mobbed
We have taken every step to ensure game integrity including consulting w/ respected streamers & I.T. firms https://t.co/kZjXs1be6E
— Justin Kuraitis (@JFKPokerTD) September 29, 2019
Siever reacts to Stones’ denial:
These responses from Stones sparked outrage from the poker community, including from famous poker pro Scott Siever:
Got alerted to this Stones cheater, watched hands from @Joeingram1 and @haralabob , Q isn’t if he cheats, it’s how you could possibly play at the casino that claims there was no cheating ever again. Anyone playing there deserves their fate.
— Scott Seiver (@scott_seiver) October 1, 2019
Once the allegations started to heat up, Stones changed its course.
.@StonesGambling is suspending all broadcast of poker play, including live streaming, while we expand our multifaceted investigation with outside experts.
This investigation will be thorough & detailed. We will report the outcomes when they are available.
— StonesLivePoker (@StonesLivePoker) October 2, 2019
Joey Ingram gets involved:
The scandal has drawn interest from many in the poker world, including poker pro and podcaster Joey Ingram. Ingram spent hours reviewing the footage and analyzed it on his YouTube channel here.
Throughout the video, you can see several strange hands where Postle makes very out-of-line players that work. Some of these hands can be seen here:
One of the most INSANE hands from Mike/the show w/ all their memes
The show somehow changes the graphics at the end of the hand & says there was an error because Mike told them the RFID was incorrect. This is the 3RD TIME they allege this error happened always in Mike’s favor. pic.twitter.com/UOnYYhB2lq
— Joey Ingram 🤙🏻🤙🏻 (@Joeingram1) October 2, 2019
Postle’s win rates on the show:
In addition to this, Ingram found that Postle has had some pretty insane results while playing on the stream. According to Ingram, Postle made $93,200 on live streams in 2018. Highlights from this time frame include Postle being +36,120 in 52 hours at $1/$3 and +56,800 in 64 hours at $5/$5. During this frame, he recorded 34 winning sessions and two losing ones.
Mike’s 2018 results found so far on stream
— Joey Ingram 🤙🏻🤙🏻 (@Joeingram1) October 1, 2019
To put this into context, poker pro Matt Berkey weighed in by saying that even during the best stretch of his low-mid stakes career, he never came close to winrates like that:
Just to provide a little context to this in 11 years of grinding 2/5 & 5/10 (’03-’13; pre Ivey room; pre evolution of poker; pre solvers) my biggest upswing ever was 65k over 45 sessions (~275 hrs), the vast majority of which were 5/10/20 uncapped. I won 29 lost 16. Chew on that.
How could someone pull off cheating on a livestream?
The most difficult question to answer in regards to the allegations is how the cheating would have occurred. The best case so far comes from the poster ‘RedOak’ on 2+2 who believes that if cheating occurred, it came from someone feeding Postle the information. RedOak writes the following:
A friend of mine is an electrical engineer for a slot machine gaming company. This is what he has to say about the matter:
“I know a lot about RFID. I’ve designed circuits using it. The claim of RFID misreading an 8 as a 7 is ridiculous. It doesn’t work like that. RFID tags have a long string of numbers. For example 2839489359595. That number would correlate to a specific card. Let’s say that is the 8 of hearts. The 7s would each have another long string of numbers that would be unique to each of them. The 7s could be numbers such as 8347382020, 28493847393, 1930384394, and 28494839393. If the RFID misread, the overwhelming odds are it would come up with a blank card as the numbers have to exactly match for each card in the deck and it would require reading the card a second time. There’s virtually no chance a misread would come up with a 7.
It’s possible to read RFID with a phone, but it requires an additional antenna. It would be possible to modify a phone to integrate the antenna. It would be relatively easy for a casino to detect whether there was an extra RFID reader at the table if they wanted to check.
It’s far more likely that he’s got someone communicating with him. To be able to read RFID across the table and distinguish between all of the cards would almost require some magic. If you have 2 RFID tags and try to read them at the same time, it’s difficult to put it mildly.
In order to read RFID tags, the reader has to be transmitting a signal. It would take a simple RF sniffer to detect such a device. The casino could easily find someone to check for that. If they’re using RFID, it’s something they should be checking.
I’ve designed some wireless equipment for casino use. Most casinos are beyond paranoid about hacking and most are afraid of wireless stuff. If they’re using RFID, it’s beyond negligent for them not to be checking for cheaters.
It would take a very sophisticated device to be able to read all the cards on the table. I kind of doubt that’s what he’s doing. It’s far more likely that someone is cluing him in from outside. There are literally thousands of people who could write a custom phone app to send him hole card data.”
We will continue to update the story as more information becomes available.