The Mockery of WPT Fallsview: Mike Leah Bought his WPT Title?

1 year ago
The Mockery of WPT Fallsview: Mike Leah Bought his WPT Title
14 Feb

What should have been a celebration of his first-ever WPT title has rebounded in spectacular fashion for Canadian pro Mike Leah, accusations that he ‘bought’ his title at WPT Fallsview this week dominating the poker twittersphere and beyond, chip dumping collusion and deal-making the main talking points…

Leah, as reported yesterday, took down the Main Event after a heads-up ‘match’ against Ryan Yu which I described as involving “Yu holding a more than 2-1 chip lead, although that was quickly whittled down with a series of strange plays by the Toronto man”.

Strange indeed, and the reason has become clear - Yu deliberately dumping his chips to Leah - with Leah himself responding to the breaking controversy by tweeting a lengthy description of the events which led him to the title…

His Facebook post states: “I have no issue whatsoever with people debating POY, TOC, deal making ethics, WPT rules and whatever else they so choose. The one thing that stings me is the words 'buy a trophy/title' or something to that effect", Leah going on to describe exactly what took place behind the scenes – WPT rules not facilitating such a ‘deal’.

Leah states that he was offered a clean ICM chop by Yu, despite his rival holding a 90BB to 39BB chiplead, writing:

“Wow I actually get to be responsible and not just “flip” for 150k and I get a WPT title, a spot in the Champions Club, entry into the TOC and my 4th Fallsview title in 5 years… How could I not agree to this??”

With the WPT forcing them to play the match out, Leah explained how they arranged it so he would walk off with the title:

“Ryan & I figured the easiest/quickest way to get it over was just for him to raise/fold large portions of his stack. We did this in an extremely obvious way, making a lot of jokes and having fun. We were both extremely happy with the outcome.”

For poker fans, however, the heads-up affair was a mockery, Leah admitting as much himself:

“Now looking back I see how it’s embarrassing/disappointing for the WPT, reporting staff and even poker players/fans having ridiculous hand histories like that being posted on the website live updates and deciding the tournament that way.”

PartyPoker chairman Mike Sexton, the legendary face and voice of the WPT until last year, tweeted his thoughts…

…but the manner of the deal didn’t convince everyone…

Leah himself admits: “There has to be a better way to go about it. We were not trying to disrespect any parties involved but we were celebrating ours 'wins' – and made a decision in our own best interests,” and Joe Ingram looks set to be inviting him onto his next podcast to discuss the whole affair…

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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