Top 10 Poker Scandals of 2019 Part 1

1 year ago
Top 10 Poker Scandals of 2019 Part 1
12 Dec

Poker, as we all know only too well, has its dubious characters and dodgy incidents, but ‘top 10 scandals of the year’? Isn’t that rather a lot? It is, and unfortunately it’s the trimmed-down list!

Before we delve in, let’s take a look at the dictionary definition of a scandal…

Well, the top ten you’re about to see over these two articles fit that definition, some more so than others. Let’s kick off with what the New Year brought us, a legend of the game finding himself in a sticky spot…

10. Eli Elezra’s AMA Goes Bad!

Promoting a new book is easy…right up to the moment someone asks ‘where is that $835,000 you owe me?’

Eli Elezra, High Stakes Poker legend, took to 2plus2 to plug his autobiography ‘Pulling the Trigger’. It backfired badly, however, when first Cole South, and then Shaun Deeb, went public that he still owed them chunks of money from old loans.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Abe Mosseri entered the fray and claimed Elezra still owed him $835,000 and threatened his family.

Elezra’s stumbling defence convinced few outside his close friends and the book, and what was left of his reputation, sank without a trace.

9. Randall Emmett owes Fofty $million

To many it’s a scandal that Randall Emmett even gets poker airtime, but when it was revealed that he owed Curtis 50Cent Jackson a cool $1million, it was payback time for having to listen to his loud, cringeworthy schtick at the table.

The nickname ‘Fofty’ entered the poker dictionary and the loose-bowelled Hollywood producer cashed in all his markers to get the irate rapper off his back.

8. Talon White on the hook for $millions

When more than $20million in cash and crypto gets seized by the feds and the person in question has ‘no verifiable income’ it’s usually one of two types of people involved – a poker player or a dealer, and we’re not talking cards for the latter.

This time it was Talon White, described by his attorney as ‘a professional poker player’, at the sharp end of a $multi-million video piracy bust.

There’s been no word since the summer as to what Talon White’s fate will be, but once the Feds get their claws in, it’s usually very bad news.

7. Brandon Steven rivers a lucky break

Well-known poker pro and businessman Brandon Steven’s illegal gambling trials and tribulations may not seem that scandalous to the card-playing community, but the law didn’t agree this year.

The Wichita man received 3 years’ probation, 200 hours community service and a $1.1million forfeiture for his part in a $multi-million illegal gambling ring that included underground poker games.

6. Maurice Hawkins up to his old tricks again

It’s not the first time Maurice Hawkins has made such a list, and the $100k staking deal scandal wasn’t the only one to hit the headlines this year.

Despite being the most successful WSOP Circuit player of recent times, perhaps ever, the $millions won by Hawkins never seem to make their way to those who backed him – at least not without a very public outing.

Just as with last year’s staking deal problems, Hawkins somehow managed to quell the fire before it became too widespread, but how many strikes do the community give such people?

So, five down and five to go in the 2019 Poker Scandals top ten, and feel free to guess the top 5 still to come - number one should be a cinch!

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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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