Joey Ingram Investigates Cheating Allegations In Texas Cardroom

May 28, 2022
Andrew Burnett

The unregulated world of Texas cardrooms has hit the headlines yet again, with Joey Ingram revealing that the Prime Social Poker Room in Houston is at the centre of cheating allegations...

After multiple shootings, authorities attempting to shut down poker, high-profile players buying cardrooms, and others selling them amidst claims of financial impropriety, it may come as no surprise that cheating has been added to the list of “Wild West” Texan problems.

This time it is compromised shuffling machines at the heart of the allegations, with a mix of management and players claiming that several players at the Prime Social Poker Club were using them to cheat in cash games.

“What I’m told by players, by former that, in March, Prime Social decided to install some shuffler machines,” Ingram explains, not unusual perhaps with a huge tournament series set to begin.

The shuffler machines were placed in the highstakes room and also some lower stakes cash games, however, and one player stood out from the rest.

“What I’m told is there’s one guy in the game, who’s just creating a lot of action, he’s just doing a lot of crazy things...” says Ingram. Although not winning money himself, some other unknowns at the table clearly were, and staff and regulars started to become suspicious.

Attention turned to the automatic shuffler, a brand known as the “Shuffle Machine 2”, which Ingram thinks is “exploitable” if someone can get access to it, later sharing a video on such nefarious possibilities...

Meanwhile, Ingram wasn’t the only high-profile poker hero to lift the lid on the situation, with Solve for Why founder Matt Berkey revealing on the “Only Friends” podcast, “We’ve known about this for a while, obviously...Landon [Tice] was actually in the game...”
“The allegations are basically that there were three recreationals, one of whom is alleged to be a known cheater in L.A...” explains Berkey.

The game in question, a highstakes NoLimit turned mixed NLHE/PLO affair, also involved Martin Zamani, the whistleblower at the heart of the Bryn Kenney cheating scandal.

“Landon told us there was some suspicion the game wasn’t on the up-and-up,” says Berkey, with Tice asking: “Who are you going to hold accountable?”

Management and others interested were unable to work out exactly how the suspected players were pulling off their scam – if indeed there was one, as no actual evidence could be shown, only the suspicions of admittedly experienced and knowledgeable people.

Ingram admits: “During my investigation, I've seen no proof of these players in action on camera doing anything they are accused of but as these accusations come from high management and other players in games that are still ongoing - I think it is relevant for people to know so that they can be aware what they might be walking in to.”

In Texas, however, poker exists in a grey area, whereby cardrooms only operate under a membership scheme – no rake can be taken, and there is less incentive for cardrooms to police things tightly.

With no regulatory body in place to turn to, things happen in Texas that would be highly unlikely to last long in, say, Nevada.

That being said, the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) allegedly investigated the Mike Postle cheating situation, but revealed nothing in public, so the situation varies wildly from state to state.

Indeed, within Texas itself the status of poker ranges from ‘allowed to operate with no restrictions’ to being raided and shut down for allegedly breaking State laws.

Doug Polk, Brad Owen, and Andrew Neeme recently became part-owners of the Lodge Poker Club in Austin, which by all accounts is wildly successful.

However, in Flint, just outside the town of Tyler, about 100 miles east of Dallas – the city where Mike Matusow recently invested in a cardroom – the Top Shelf Poker Room was recently raided and shut down, investigators claiming there was “probable cause” to believe illegal gambling was taking place on the premises.

Cheating and legal wrangles aside, Texas has also hit the headlines for multiple shootings in and around Legends Poker Room in Houston.

Players had to dive for cover after a gunman sprayed bullets through the walls into the cardroom, and this followed a previous incident in which a security guard tackled a man armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle on the poker-room floor.

If or when further details of the recent shuffle machine cheating allegations are revealed, we’ll bring you the latest updates, so be sure to check in regularly.

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