Nik Airball Talks Garrett Adelstein and Matt Berkey with Doug Polk

March 28, 2023
Mark Patrickson

It’s been a week full of drama for a few of the bigger names in the world of poker. This time the usual spate of Twitter fights has been garnished with some personal attacks and a podcast or two where someone has bluntly put their thoughts out onto the air. Anyone fancy heads-up for rollz over the next few weeks?

It all started with this week’s news that Garrett Adelstein will not be invited back onto Hustler Casino Live for the foreseeable future. That news was greeted by a rare statement from “Gman” himself who took a pot shot at Nick Vertucci by claiming that he has spent the last six months away from poker of his own volition and that HCL only wants to use his name for “clicks.”

The announcement was covered across all poker media with Doug Polk uploading a video that had Adelstein coming out firing shots and promising that he will return to the scene on a stream that he trusts and also taking aim at Nik Airball, a popular reg on Hustler Casino Live.

After calling Airball a “bad poker player and a much worse human being” it was only natural that Doug Polk would have him on for a live stream to allow him to respond in kind.

The show consisted mostly of Nik Airball setting the record straight as far as his thoughts on Garrett Adelstein stand and then he took aim at Matt Berkey, calling him a scammer and challenging him to a heads-up match.

"I don't really care, Berkey's a scammer. When you run a training site and you can't beat the games, you're a scammer. You're selling bullshit. It just is what it is, you're a scam artist."

Berkey responded with his own video only hours later, denying that he was scared to play Airball and extended an invitation for him to head over to Las Vegas where he would be welcome at any table he is playing at.

Now, we all know that this isn’t the same as a heads-up battle, so why couldn’t the pair get this on for the sake of some great content? Neither is a heads-up specialist, and Nik Airball even admits that he’s not good enough to take on the specialists like Doug Polk, but he really fancies this one.

Nik Airball Gets Personal About Garrett Adelstein

As for what Nik Airball had to say about Garrett Adelstein, it got quite personal with a few details. Airball had a lot to say about Adelstein’s pre-Black Friday career, calling him a bumhunter who avoided good players.

Now, whether this has truth to it or not is unclear. One thing is for sure and that is Adelstein’s reputation has always been one of a world-class player who has the respect of the high-stakes community, and Doug Polk made it clear he felt this way too. It’s also tough to criticise any player for looking for the juiciest games available. After all, isn’t that the whole point of the game when you’re playing for insane amounts of money?

Adelstein’s post where he slates Airball’s character did seem a little over the top to many and it’s understandable why Airball might have gone to town to fire shots of his own. Airball claims that Adelstein doesn’t even know him properly and their only interactions have been around the poker table where players are trying to make it entertaining for the viewers. Airball might come across as abrasive sometimes but this interview with Doug Polk certainly shows a different side of him away from the heat of battle.

Adelstein Responds

After all of the public airing of dirty laundry in recent days, Adelstein was back on Twitter again to make his points clear for everyone to see. He said he’s spent the last six months biting his tongue but didn’t have it in him that morning.

He starts by saying how he is seen as the primary adversary in the Los Angeles high stakes ecosystem where it is becoming increasingly difficult to win when there is finite money in the pool.

He continues by adding this is a reason why he has only played once or twice a week in the last decade when his first 15 years in the game were spent battling the best players in the world around the clock, contrary to what Nik Airball thinks.

Then there is an admission that he has worked with show producers to come up with the most sustainable line-ups, which basically adds up to making sure there are enough recreational players in the game to keep the bigger names happy to come and play. But he does make it clear that he did not control the line-ups, adding that he would never have allowed Nik Airball to play with him due to his trash talking.

Adelstein ends his statement by giving sympathy to those players who cannot get into these games because he himself has been shut out plenty of times in the past, but he reiterates that he is not responsible.

We doubt that this whole saga is anywhere near finished right now and the characters involved will have plenty more to say over the next few weeks.

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