As many of you already know, there has been a cheating scandal at Stones Gambling Hall. The accusations are against Mike Postle and Stones Gambling Hall. A lawsuit for $30 million has been filed against Stones Gambling Hall, which includes 25 plaintiffs.
The Situation (not referring to the dude from New Jersey)
Nothing has been proven yet, but it seemed odd to other players that Postle won 94% of the games he played for 13 months. At first glance, it seemed as though he won approximately $250,000 over this time frame. If you’re on heater and playing out of your mind, you can win 94% of poker games for a few weeks, and maybe a few months if you’re not playing that often.
I have had several double-digit winning streaks in my poker career, but I have never been able to win 94% of sessions over a 13-month time frame. In order to do that, you would, well … need to know your opponents’ poker hands. At least that would seem to be the case.
After all, it’s not against the poker rules to win too much. And maybe Mike was using a new poker strategy. Only one problem. If you were playing that good, wouldn’t you want to move to poker tournaments, where there is much bigger money to be made? Just a thought.
Winning 94% of poker games would make Postle the best poker player of all time. I’m not saying this isn’t possible. Though unlikely, it’s still possible. It’s something that must be determined in a court of law. It’s not my area. I’m just here to make you aware of the situation because it’s a big topic in the poker world. You can also read all the comments below from others in the poker community and then judge for yourself whether Postle is innocent or guilty.
Stones Gambling Hall Live Broadcast
What’s amazing about this situation is that it took place on Stones Live Broadcast from Stones Gambling Hall. Then again, that’s the only way someone could potentially cheat. Well … that’s if we would like to maintain naïve minds and pretend the world operates as it did in Leave It to Beaver. But let’s stick with this potential poker cheat strategy for now.
You would think someone wouldn’t risk cheating when they’re on camera. Not only was the player in question on camera, but the game was being broadcast. If the plaintiffs are correct, this is how it went down.
Postle had a communication device in his cap, which sent a signal to the cell phone in his lap. The cell phone in his lap would show him the hole cards of his opponents. If you watch the games he played, which are publicly available, he made the correct decision almost every time.
He would fold monsters, call for a lot of money with very weak hands, and raise to get an opponent off a hand when he knew an opponent was weak, and so on. Either he is a Poker God or he was cheating at poker. Time will tell.
What really made people suspicious is when he kept looking down in his lap prior to acting. A player named Veronica pointed out that something seemed off with Postle. Once she got the ball rolling, Doug Polk, Joe Ingram, and Matt Berkey all did an incredible job at analyzing Postle’s play at Stones Gambling Hall.
Ingram went to hands played prior to July 18th, 2018. Prior to that date, Postle had made many poor decisions, wore different types of clothing, sported a different cap, kept his phone on the table, and had a more open body position.
From that date forward, Postle made very few poor decisions, changed his clothing, switched hats, kept his phone in his crotch, and had a much more closed body position. You could say that these were all coincidences, but those would be a lot of coincidences.
Even if that were the case, let’s look at one hand in particular that took place during the live feed at Stones Gambling Hall. Keep in mind that this is one hand out of many, so it doesn’t mean much. I just want you to really think about this play.
Postle had T7 against three opponents on this flop: 432. It was a three-bet pot and he raised everyone out of the hand. Be honest with me here. Would you ever make that play against three strong opponents? Or any three opponents?
According to Ingram, it looks like Postle had 77 winning sessions of 87 sessions between July 2018 and September 2019, and that he won more than $330k. That winning streak also included 22 consecutive winning sessions.
All of these sessions took place at Stones Gambling Hall. I can’t confirm if he was cheating or not. Nobody can. But I can tell you that he wouldn’t have had those stats at Harrah’s Cherokee.
It sucks that this had to take place. You never want to see people fleeced of their money in an unfair manner. At the same time, I truly appreciate how the poker community rallied together to get rid of the cheat. We just want a fair game. Is it fair? It depends where you play. There are certain poker rooms I won’t play in, and I will never play online.
As far as online gaming goes, I do believe you’re safe in regulated states. Outside of that, nobody has any clue how easy it is to cheat with online poker–except the cheats! I have been informed by more than one anonymous source that I shouldn’t play online poker outside of regulated states. I trust these sources very much, but I will never reveal them.
Not a Joking Matter
Getting back to Stones Gambling Hall and the Postle situation, I made a joke about it on Facebook and a few people contacted me privately to say that their friends work at Stones Gambling Hall, and that they need to put food on the table for their families.
I understand that, and I appreciate the messages, but I have to look out for my fellow poker players, who are also trying to put food on the table.
Also, very few of my posts are surface messages. The real reason I posted that had nothing to do with the past. There is nothing we can do about the past. It had to do with the future. I wanted other poker rooms to know that if they get caught in a scandal related to cheating, it will be made public.
Obviously, my posts are only going to have a very minimal impact, but I’m going to try to help the poker community any way I can.
Stones Gambling Hall Thoughts
I’m now going to embark on a project I have never embarked on before with a poker article. Going to let my poker audience “write” the second half of the article. I’m about to pause my writing so I can post a question on Facebook about the Stones Gambling Hall cheating scandal and then post that information here.
I think this will be cool to try one time because it means everyone will be getting involved. Some might point to suspicious poker hands, others might point out other cheating in poker incidents, and others might go on a rampaging vent, which is what I always find the most entertaining.
The Following People
Before I tell you about the following people, I would first like to say that this is the weirdest article I have ever written. Started writing it yesterday, let it sit overnight, and now I’m back to it. I usually just go with the flow, but I lost my flow because I needed to ask my audience a question.
I usually want you to Feel Me Flow like I’m Naughty By Nature. Know what I’m sayin’? Treach is probably the most underrated rapper of all time, which is largely due to O.P.P. (Other People’s Property). It was such a big hit that it hurt his long-term reputation. From that point on, Naughty By Nature was seen as mainstream, even though they weren’t.
I’m not sure how I went from Mike Postle to Treach, but it’s a poker journal (hence the name pokerjournal), which means I write my thoughts in a journal. These thoughts don’t always involve poker strategy and poker rules. Sometimes they involve rap songs from decades ago.
As far as The Following People, that’s not a weird title for a horror story or anything like that. It refers to the people who voiced their opinion on Postle, who many see as a poker cheat. But I did write The Following People as the title of this section because I wanted it to seem all important and shit. And these are important f*ckers.
Am I swearing too much this morning? My bad. It just seems to fit the current poker world vibe with people focusing on cheating and greed. It’s not a great vibe at the moment, but everything is cyclical, so that will change. And I can tell you that there is nothing different about the poker world. I have worked in Finance and Energy.
Both of those industries have more untrustworthy people than poker. It’s not even close. The difference is that there are people in the poker world that I actually trust.
Anyway, I still haven’t gotten to The Following People. Sorry, my mind is all over the place this morning. What I want to say is that the people who left the following comments on the Stones Gambling Hall situation are poker players, Floor people, dealers, Tournament Directors, as well as other folks involved in the poker industry in one way or another. They know and understand the poker world and what makes it obvious when someone is cheating at poker.
Let’s get to those comments.
Opinions on Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Scandal
If you only read my opinion on this, it wouldn’t mean nearly as much as reading opinions of many others in the poker world.
This is what I posted on Facebook about the Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Scandal…
Important: I might use your reply for a poker article on pokerjournal. Please only reply if you’re cool with that. Thanks!
Do you think Postle is innocent or guilty? Either way, feel free to add any thoughts you have on the situation.
Below are the replies…
Brendan: Definitely guilty, I’m just not sure exactly how he did it.
Clint: He obv was using tech and playing as an advantaged player. Almost like “god mode” on the old online sites … Not good for the game, and should be ostracized from poker.
Katherine: Don’t know enough of the details to make an informed judgement.
William: The law of numbers says he’s guilty, not sure how that could be ignored.
Patrick: Guilty and I’m betting there is more than 1 accomplice. Unfortunately greedy makes the world go around.
Sherry: Guilty fool! (Cool)
Brandon: As I have said before … it doesn’t matter what we “think” it matters what we can “prove”. And right now all we have is hearsay, on the subject at hand. Yes, a lot of hands look quite ridiculous, but none of us really know if he is a “poker god” or not.
All we can do is sit back and rule a baseline decision on what we physically see, but until there is actual proof, nobody knows for sure. Can’t wait to see what they pull off the equipment logs etc. A majority of everyone says he’s guilty, some say he’s innocent. Guess we will just have to wait and see what the final verdict is. Good luck to him, he’s gonna need it.
Andrew: For the lawsuit he and others are named in the burden of proof is much lower and it would seem they already have that. They only need 51% of a jury to agree.
Barry: After seeing a few hundred examples, this guy is 100% GUILTY. End Off. He & some of the Stones staff are ruined, whatever a Non-Poker Jury decide.
Brandon: I am not saying he is innocent nor am I saying he’s guilty, but yes if he was to be found guilty there are others involved for sure.
Anonymous: Andrew, while I think he was cheating, I wouldn’t convict solely on his results and seeming god-like play… it would take something concrete, like texts, a confession, or a clear explanation of how he did it and some evidence of it…
Andrew: To prove beyond a reasonable doubt? Yes that will be difficult. To pile up a mountain of evidence that shows foul play was a part of it and get a majority of a jury to agree? Very doable I’d think.
Vicki: Brandon, in a criminal court of law people are convicted on circumstantial evidence all the time. What we have is (at the very least) circumstantial. Now, explains instincts vs odd to a non poker playing jury is the main issue I see.
Ronnie: Guilty, guilty, guilty … I think look at it from this standpoint, if he had that much success and maintained it was completely legit, he would be adamant about defending his honor and accomplishments.
Secondly I think if he was honestly winning legit he might be so inclined to offer to play the same cash game, same stake’s, same players and compare the results but doing it with no announcers and no phone in his lap, and no table that reveals the hole cards. At the end of a few weeks compare playing styles, win/loss ratio, profit/losses … then we should get an accurate reading.
Vicki: Ronnie, this is a very open minded and all around great response.
Garrett: The numbers scream guilty.
Steve: Based on everything I’ve read and watched … Guilty AF.
Travis H: There’s no possible way he’s not 100% guilty. I’d bet my life on it.
Raquel: Guess some people don’t have real poker skills, only way to win!
William: Someone who thinks he’s not guilty, please explain. I would love to hear.
Keith: Innocent until proven guilty.
Brian: Innocent or guilty would in my opinion be for a court to decide, the real question we should be asking in the poker community is would you be willing to sit down and play with someone who you suspect to be a cheater?
Me: Brian, Nope.
Anonymous: Brian, no.
John: It appears as though a majority of the poker community finds him guilty. However, a player last night whom I will name nameless brought up a good point. Try to find a jury who knows nothing about poker and get them to believe he’s guilt of successfully pulling off a bluff with some sort of assistance and hold him liable for damages. That might be a tall order to pull off.
Me: John, Good point.
Jed: Anyone who BELIEVES he’s innocent either knows/likes him, or hasn’t researched enough of the hands. Period. What can be proven without a doubt, is different. So – at the end of the day – another scumbag is going to get away with it Cheers!
Jessica: I actually know Mike personally, and while it does look suspicious, I can’t find it in my heart to say he’s guilty. I also can’t say he’s not. I guess we’ll have to see, but unless they can prove that he had inside help, it’s all just circumstantial.
Travis: Jessica, I’ll say it. He’s guilty as sin. You know it. He knows it. Everyone’s knows it.
Jessica: Travis, I actually don’t know it. If I did, I’d say so.
Travis: Jessica, then you’re not very familiar with poker. Those of us that are, know he’s guilty.
Jessica: Travis, I deal poker for a living. And have dealt to him many times… he asked for an opinion. I gave mine. Also, I never said he wasn’t guilty. I actually just don’t know that he is.
Mark: Travis, Jessica is not just a poker dealer. She is one of the best.
And be assured if you ask for her opinion, you will get her opinion. I suspect the only time she withholds or tempers her opinion when asked is when she is professionally required to do so.
Jessica: Mark, thank you for the kind words. I just don’t believe in saying someone is guilty of something that could potentially ruin a man’s life if I don’t know 100% he is guilty. If he did do it, he should pay the price. If he didn’t, his reputation and livelihood is being ruined by circumstantial evidence, that looks very suspicious. I like the guy. I can’t help it.
Travis: Jessica, it’s not just circumstantial when it’s hundreds and hundreds of instances. The greatest players in the world can make one or two of the plays he pulled off and Postle did it over and over and over. Not to mention all the weird physical tells. I understand you keeping it professional and I can appreciate that, you’re probably a fantastic dealer, and for that I thank you.
But denying the mountains of evidence against him because you know him personally is like putting blinders on. I know you don’t want it to be true, I didn’t either at first, but he did it. Watch the videos. Once you see it it’s impossible to unsee it. It’s so painfully obvious.
Travis: Jessica, not to mention the AWFUL showing he made on Mike Matusow’s podcast. He sounded as guilty as any 13 year old kid trying to talk themselves out of a mess. It was cringeworthy listening to him side step and bs his way around the real issue.
Erich: Watching the footage, I don’t see how anybody could conclude that he wasn’t cheating.
Anthony: Miss Leo knows the truth. The Cards Don’t Lie. (Phone number for psychic included).
Me: Anthony, She has never been wrong! At least based on my experiences.
Marcus: Once people started looking at him as a fish with information & not a good player doing what good players do, the lines checked out a bit more. Not sure how, but no doubt yes.
Chris: Guilty AF. (Someone get me that technology).
James: This is a stupid question, even my cat spotted he’s a cheat.
Lisa: James, your cat must have an IQ over 10!
James: Lisa, I’d go for sub 10 but could still spot this.
Jay: 100% guilty. Anyone that has watched enough hands and understands poker would agree. He is way off the scatterplot of amount won/hand for the stakes being played (even higher win rate than the known cheater on UltimateBet online). Why would he be looking in his lap each time an important decision is being made (instead of thinking and looking at opponent)?
Jay: Either way his poker is done. If found not guilty, then a few poker players might take him out back to have a conversation (I know I would if I had been in that game). I just can’t understand how people playing long enough in that game hadn’t already noticed such suspicious activity.
Anonymous: I believe he is guilty, but I also believe that at this point (with the exception of if he used text messages that can he can be ordered to divulge) he won’t ever be proven to have cheated. If you use my comments use an alias for my name.
Jason: If his win rate is 5 times higher than potripper, a known cheater, than how is he not cheating. Especially in a live game. Potripper was playing 10 tables at once. This guy is just playing one.
Robert: I think the evidence points towards the probability of cheating, but I haven’t played with him so I don’t know for sure.
J.W.: Innocent until proven not to be God.
Chris: That win graph was one of the biggest red flags.
Starr: It’s on the disgusting side guilty. Not only was he doing it but he was also uncontrollably laughing in spots where he’s making ridiculous plays because he knew 100% they had to fold. Convincing a jury won’t be too hard. They may not know hands but the prosecuting team can get someone who can analyze it perfectly to them and also seize his phone. If he was streaming the feed I believe it will show on his phone.
Also if his friends from Stones was involved they can check if they were communicating during those hands. I honestly feel like the only way for Mike Postle to recover any ounce of dignity and return ever to the poker world would be to admit it and apologize. Work on paying everyone back.
Everyone is human and makes mistakes–most people not this big but he can recover by doing the right thing. As it stands I would get off the table if I ever ran into him. Pretty gross behavior.
Me: Starr, Well said.
James: Starr, that mobile will be long gone. Don’t get off the table without the cheating he’s very average.
Charles: I’m 50/50 on Mike’s innocence. I’m 90/10 for Justin. When I have played my best and ran my best I was a 70% winner. So it’s not impossible for a guy to run a little hotter against some players that he had history with and some reads. But I have to agree that it’s super suspicious. If he’s that good wouldn’t he move up in stakes?
Me: Charles, Justin? Timberlake? Bieber?
Charles: Tyler, no, the floor man at Stones.
Steven: Charles, Actually if he cheated wouldn’t he move up in stakes would be more accurate. Lol
Phill: No, he’s just really really really really really really really really good.
John: Is that a serious question?
Ian: Guilty. The most amazing part to that is that none of us noticed … it was sooooo obvious.
Me: Ian, Someone did.
Ian: Tyler, true lol but it took a looooooong time.
Va: Ian, I think people noticed but were reluctant to speak out loud about it or to the right people until it was way too much to avoid not saying something.
Steven: Innocent until PROVEN guilty. Read the articles and the accusations and still haven’t seen one piece of prove of how he knew what others Hole cards were. So Innocent in my book.
Glen: Steven, Steven, will you come play @ Cherokee please! Also, I have 10 prime acres of land for sale near you for only 1k per acre. Send me 1k & I’ll let you have it all!!!
Matthew: Steven, watch the Solve 4 Why podcasts. Matt Berkey does a good job of breaking down how he could know that.
Steven: Matthew, a link?
Matthew: Steven, https://youtu.be/c-tn_g2wcRc
Matthew: Steven, start with that one then there are a couple more.
Steven: Matthew, Thanks. I’ll listen to it later tonight.
David: Easy eno9ugh to find some convincing stuff on youtube the bigger issues are were there accomplices, were they casino employees and did stones try to cover it up?
Me: I would lean toward yes, but who knows.
Glen: Poker is a game of observation (as is stated in the WSOP rules) and here in this situation, an objective observation of many of his hands show an extremely inconsistent style of play from the norm (recognizing many styles of normal play, he doesn’t fit any consistent style, his is “god-mode” or cheating).
Not only his hand plays but also his body movements & oddities with his phone on his lap & claims to be very observant of his opponents yet he’s constantly looking down rather than at his opponent. Not to take away from one’s individual style but he seems to get it right way too often. He acts perfectly when 99.99% of all top notch players would have gotten it wrong quite a few times or more.
That’s okay but even guys like Tom Dwan & Elky Grospellier have huge down swings (something that M.P. seems to avoid). There are way too many inconsistencies & when a guy like Jonathan Little calls him out through very detailed hand explanations, one must wonder about Mike’s guilt. So getting back to my original statement, as poker is a game of observation, it seems rather clear that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt!
My belief is that there will never be an open confession or any stone-cold proof (pun not intended) but many people have been shown to be guilty not only based on forensic evidence but also on circumstantial evidence. I believe M.P. & probably someone else at the casino are guilty of cheating (maybe Justin Kuraitis).
The circumstantial evidence is extremely overwhelming and anyone who thinks that he is not culpable based on circumstantial evidence alone is wrong as many court cases are decided based on this type of proof. “If it looks like a duck & walks like a duck”…
Bill: It’s amazing how many people here pretend to know what the actual facts are. Most of the comments I’ve read are based almost entirely on hearsay or their own interpretation of a video clip. Until there’s an indictment followed by a plea and then a trial where the real facts and evidence will be revealed it’s purely speculation as to his guilt or innocence.
I’m willing to presume innocence-just as our system requires-until there’s an admission of guilt or a guilty verdict from a trial. To put this in context, this pales in comparison to the Full Tilt scandal with Ferguson and Lederer. What happened to them beyond a slap on the wrist? Answer: Nothing. So honestly, I just don’t see this going very far.
Jason: Bill, this is definitely the biggest cheating scandal since ultimate bet. And remember those ppl you mentioned weren’t cheating the poker game. They were cheating the business they owned and worked for. Big difference.
Glen: Bill, enough speculation and/or circumstantial evidence is sufficient to lock a man up for life as long as that evidence meets the court of laws burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. But you are absolutely right that the FTP scandal is a behemoth in comparison to this small incident. And as you said, they got a slap on the wrist … Hell, Ferguson was awarded POTY a year or two ago, crazy!!!
Kris: Bill, the difference is that I would play Ferguson and/or Lederer. I would not play Postle. The standard for criminal conviction is high, where it’s lower in a civil suit, and for those putting up their stack against him it will be far, far lower.
Kevin: Guilty. You don’t even need to see a single hand. All you need to know is the guy won $1000/hr in low to mid stakes games for 270 straight hours. Not possible. Even more ludicrous is that his defense appears to be that he is one of the best ever. It would actually make more sense if he just claimed that he was on the run-good streak of a lifetime.
Jeff: As someone who is part of a production crew for Livestreams, I believe there is 0 chance he is innocent. And I believe there were at least 3 other people involved in the scam.
Eric: 100% he did it.
Nick: I watched a 3hour stream of Postle play and in that 3hours he make over 10 amazing plays (folds, raises, 3bet cold calls, and value bets were so clever) in one particular hand he value bet a 5high on the river which was the best hand, he got raised just like he wanted then shipped. Plays like that only happen so often but in a 3hour period he made all those plays you brag about to all your friends. In 3hour he made Phil Ivey look like a beginner.
Renee: Nick, how many other people have you analyzed with such scrutiny? What are those results?
Nick: Renee, Numerous. Watch endless on TV and YouTube. Poker After Dark is a perfect, you would see the best in the world play for an entire week yet you may only see one of those 10 amazing plays I seen from Mike “the God” Postle make in just 3 hours. And that one a random session I watched from a year ago. I could only imagine what he was doing when he got caught.
Thomas: 1000000% guilty.
Scott: How often did he play at non RF tables or did he exclusively play the twitch stream? If he played only RF tables the question would be why? Your on a huge heater why not venture into deeper waters and levels?
Charlie: No one runs that good for that amount of time. He’s definitely guilty until proven innocent.
Renee: Where there is smoke there is often fire. But until he’s proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt I’m not sending the man down in flames. I’m also not pitting my stack against his at a poker table anytime soon.
Charlie: No one plays 1-3 for a year and wins 250k+ except Postle. If anyone was ever running that good they would definitely go play a bigger game.
Aj: Guilty, next question. Let’s see him play at another house and compare his game then.
Va: VERY GUILTY!
Jimi: He’s for sure cheating, that I have 0 doubt about, but it hasn’t been proven yet, so like it or not he’s innocent. I believe that will soon change though.
Mark: Guilty. It’s not just what we see. It’s what we don’t see. We don’t see ill-timed shoves. We don’t see (with super-rare exceptions) failed bluffs. Also, we don’t see Postle falling to bluffs. Add this to all the suspicious behavior, and god-like plays, and there’s no other conclusion but that he’s guilty.
Me: Mark, Great points.
Thomas: guilty, I haven’t seen a lot of it, but from what I saw, even the best poker players in the world couldn’t do the stuff he did.
Nick: My favorite was Doug Polk’s analysis of a hand where Postle ships and his opponent tank calls with 3rd pair. Then Postle throws up his hands in disbelief the opponent called him with 3rd pair BEFORE his opponent tables his hand.
Because you don’t throw your hands up in disbelief when someone calls you with a hand they should call you with. You only throw your hands up when they shouldn’t have made the call but Postle did that before his opponents hand was revealed. So he knew what he had.
Me: Nick, Excellent observation.
Ron: I think way too much of this story is about Postle. Like the story should almost certainly be about who helped him and how. And from there how to make sure it never happens again. The implications of people being able to see your hole cards is a killer for Poker. If people can’t trust that system.
John: The poker milieu is filled with cheaters, addicts, thieves, hustlers, diabetics, borderline personalities, and other sick people. Some are nice people, I suppose. He cheated. Not exactly unexpected in this community. Be in this world but not of it.
Me: John, That’s any world. I used to work in finance. Way worse.
John: Tyler, Respectfully, that’s too vague and anecdotal to be useful. Can you be more specific?
Me: John, Unfortunately, I can’t, but it’s way more cutthroat and with a lot more cheating. I was also involved in energy. Scum of the earth (based on my experience). I can’t elaborate. Sorry.
John: Tyler, Well, there’s nothing more to discuss then.
Leif: Innocent until proven guilty, due process but sure looks suspicious and odds are just stacked against him. But how many other players don’t you see also doing same thing with others at poker tournaments?
For example that are suspiciously colluding to stack up. There is more collusion in poker than people think just not caught or exposed but his case is different. But I been saying that for years groups that do collusion and made it an art form. To many hustlers in this game.
But is kept quiet not to hurt the integrity and reputation of the game. But sooner or later it will explode about reality of it. Tip of an iceberg in my opinion.
Now you know how the poker world feels about the cheating scandal at Stones Gambling Hall. Stay tuned to see how it all plays out.
♠ pokerjournal.org / Tyler Nals