You had to believe it to see it.
Well-known cash-game player Garrett Adelstein was in a Hustler Casino Live heads-up battle against newcomer Robbi Jade Lew.
Adelstein had 8-7 clubs and Lew had J-4 off-suit. The flop was a promising one for Adelstein. But what happened over the next few minutes was confounding, thrilling, and absolutely unbelievable.
And it’s led the California casino to launch an investigation that may include a lie-detector test.
Mediocre hands turn into monumental all-in
Adelstein and Lew were the only two players in the hand at the flop. The dealer turned over a 10 of hearts, a 10 of clubs, and a 9 of clubs. Adelstein was sitting on a flush draw and a straight draw.
He bet $10,000, and instead of folding, Lew raised to $20,000. The move surprised the announcer, who said, “She’s got one club and one heart, and wow, look at this, what is she thinking about here as she’s gonna raise it!”
Adelstein was having none of it and put Lew all-in. She called. With J-4 off-suit.
“Oh my god,” the announcer said. “What is going on here? Is it possible her hand might be misread in the card graphics?”
Lew and Adelstein then had a brief exchange.
“I have a [terrible] hand,” Lew said.
“You do,” Adelstein asked. “Yikes.”
“This is a pure bluff catcher,” Lew said.
And the announcer asked what everyone else watching the hand was thinking: “With jack high?”
Both players, and California casino release statements about hand
After Lew turned over her cards, Adelstein spent the next couple of minutes acting like he’d seen a ghost. He couldn’t believe what happened.
Later in the game, Lew and Adelstein had it out off camera and Lew returned the chips she won from the hand.
The entire scenario—from the flop to the fight—was unbelievable. And it left many people wondering: Did Lew win the hand legitimately, or did she cheat?
Adelstein accuses Lew of cheating
Adelstein believes it was cheating, per a statement, he put out on Twitter after the game. He alluded to the fact that Lew was wearing a device that vibrated when she had the best hand (because the game is livestreamed, someone could tip Lew remotely).
He said Lew’s plan was probably to raise him at the turn and win the hand at the river if he didn’t improve his hand. Adelstein wrote:
“But that all changed when I read her for extremely weak on the turn and made an unorthodox play by raising all in. At that point, she would know she still has the best hand if she had such a hidden device. And her lack of more in-depth poker knowledge made it so she didn’t understand that calling there would always be a dead giveaway she was cheating.”
Lew said Adelstein threatened her, claimed she thought she had J-3
Lew went to Twitter in the wake of the controversial game. Her tweets reveal the motive behind her call, and why she returned what she won.
Poker pro Matt Glantz tweeted the theory that Lew thought she had J-3, and, having hit a pair, thought she could beat Adelstein. Lew retweeted Glantz’s tweet on October 2, saying, “Nailed it.”
Assuming she won the hand legitimately, why would she return the chips to Adelstein?
Lew explained via a tweet on Sept. 30 saying:
“He cornered me & threatened me. If he has the audacity to give me the death stare ON camera, picture what it’s like OFF camera. I was pulled out of the game & forced to speak to him in a dark hallway.”
California casino says it’s launching an investigation
On Oct. 1, Hustler Casino Live released a statement on Twitter. It said it was “in the process of hiring a law firm to conduct a comprehensive investigation.” The firm will interview players and staff, and polygraph testing is a possibility.
Hustler said the investigation will be thorough and it will take time. It will release the results publicly when they are available.
However, the casino noted that, at the time of the tweet, they believed nothing nefarious took place.
“It’s important for us to reinforce that we have found no evidence of wrongdoing by anyone at this point,” it said.
Is Adelstein just a sore loser?
All things considered, Adelstein had a right to be frustrated. He lost to a jack high. During a live stream. At a table with greats like Phil Ivey.
But does that warrant threatening another player? No.
Does it mean Lew cheated? No.
Is it possible that Adelstein thought so highly of himself and so highly of his mathematical analysis that losing wasn’t in the realm of possibility? Quite possibly, yes.
Lew admitted on Twitter she thought she misread her hand. If that’s the case, she genuinely thought she beat Adelstein. But even if she didn’t misread her hand, several poker pros came to her defense, with one even detailing a similar hand that he lost to Lew.
With no evidence of cheating so far, Adelstein looks like someone who was beat and couldn’t handle it.