Prime Social Poker Club Players Under Suspicion of Cheating
The news broke on Joe Ingram’s popular Youtube channel last Thursday.
According to Ingram, he’s been told by local players and a tournament director that new shuffling machines were installed at the cash tables at Prime Social Poker Club in Houston, TX in anticipation of a large player turnout for their upcoming tournament series.
An unidentified player at the high stakes tables started to play a conspicuously large number of hands very aggressively. Regulars in the game also noticed that some players are consistently winning while they’re playing against this loose, brash, but losing player. This cast suspicion on the newly installed shuffling machines.
In the “spirit” of the infamous Mike Postle cheating scandal at Stones Gambling Hall over in California, the men involved feared that they might be able to relay information to an alleged culprit about other players’ hands at the table. Joe Ingram expressed his opinion in the video that this is in fact possible to do. He even called it “a common hustle”.
However, in a turn of events, the “action guy” in the high stakes game was banned from the room after players raised their concerns to the management. In the meantime, two players appeared at the low stakes tables, also equipped with the new shufflers. These - yet again - unidentified players started winning at a conspicuously high rate.
In response from the card room, the shuffling machines were turned off. According to the allegations relayed by Ingram, the winning sessions stopped for the players. When the devices got turned back on and the suspected cheats started winning again, all other players walked out of the room in protest.
You can watch Joe Ingram’s video on the latest cheating scandal below.
Since Ingram produced a thorough and entertaining investigation series in the aforementioned Postle cheating scandal back in October 2019, he’s gained a lot of credibility in the poker community as a quasi-investigative journalist.
In the wake of the fresh Prime Social cheating story, tournament director Justin Hammer and general manager Brent Pollack have already resigned.
Doug Polk Chimes In
Doug Polk, who is now a co-owner of a Texas poker room of his own, shared his take on the unfortunate situation on Twitter. With his inside knowledge, he confirmed that there is in fact a shuffling machine on the market that can track the order of cards. The model is called Deckmate 2 by the company Shuffle Master.
This dubious feature is included so it can automatically rearrange the deck to factory order once the dealing is done. However, it can be exploited.
Polk advises players to ask the dealer to riffle the deck a few times before each hand after the machine shuffle.
In the thread, he also expresses to have personal knowledge of incidents where Deckmate 2 devices were used to cheat at poker games, without mentioning specifics.
Poker is Booming in Texas Right Now
In the last year or so, poker rooms started to pop up left and right in the Lone Star State. The reason is venue owners found that as long as they don’t collect rake, they can host poker games without being labeled a gambling operation by local law enforcement.
Instead of rake, they charge membership fees to the club. Thus, with the new rooms, poker became extremely popular in Texas, the birthplace of Hold’em.
However, this lack of regulation is also behind the cases like this one at Prime Social. As Polk pointed out on Twitter, the shuffling machine manufacturer can only service licensed card rooms. Last year, Johnny Chan’s 88 Social also shut down abruptly in Houston, Texas due to player fund mismanagement.
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