The world of niche sports is having quite an interesting year. While the, the poker world now has one of its own. Robbi Jade Lew, who just recently started playing higher-stakes games, is being accused of cheating by Garrett Adelstein, a more experienced high-stakes player who regularly appears on live-streamed cash games.
In late September at the Hustler Casino in Gardena, Calif., Lew won a pot of $269,000 by what people are debating was either an insane hero call, or cheating. Adelstein had an open-ended straight flush draw and went all-in on the turn. Lew had a weak jack-high hand but also decided to go all-in -- something most poker players would've never considered doing.
On. Oct. 1, Hustler Casino Live released a statement saying it was hiring a law firm to conduct an investigation with staff and player interviews, a review of relevant records and possibly a polygraph test. A third-party cybersecurity company will also be involved.
An update on the investigation came Thursday, and it was a significant one. An employee named Bryan Sagbigsal was found to have taken $15,000 in chips from Lew's stack while she was gone and the broadcast was over. Sagbigsal admitted his guilt, leading to the immediate termination of his employment and a criminal report in the Gardena Police Department. Lew declined to press charges against Sagbigsal, so Gardena Police does not plan to seek criminal prosecution.
During the game, Adelstein did not hide his feelings and questioned the legitimacy of such an unusual situation. He asked Lew why she called all-in on the turn, and she said it was because she thought he didn't have anything.
Shortly after, they both left the table to have an off-screen conversation. Another player referred to as "Rip" left his seat and was heard yelling at Adelstein (Warning: NSFW language). Rip returned to the table to get his stuff, visibly angry, and told others that Adelstein made Lew give him the money back. They were confused as to why she would agree to it, because returning money is an unusual occurrence in poker. Adelstein also gathered his stuff and left.
Lew got back to her seat and others asked her why she returned the money.
"I said, 'I want minimal destruction. What's going to make you happy?' He said, 'To give me my money back.'" Lew told them.
Late at night on Sept. 29, Adelstein posted his thoughts on social media and explained his side of the story. Adelstein said he reviewed Lew's previous 11 hours of footage and thought what she did was "extremely out of character compared to prior hands."
"Not only did she never consider making a call anywhere close to this before, but she instead very often folded bluff catchers to river bets, only calling when her hand was quite strong. Now all of a sudden she is playing a 10x stack size compared to before and is calling a huge overshove with no pair no draw?"
Adelstein said the conversation they had offscreen after the game involved producer and co-owner of Hustler Casino Live Ryan Feldman. He said most of that conversation was Lew trying to justify the play, and Feldman told her that the video will go viral because of how unusual it was, which meant many more people would be questioning what happened. Adelstein then said Lew asked if he wanted the money back.
Adelstein said he considered this the closest he would get to a confession.
"TO BE CLEAR, I never asked her for a refund. I never even considered asking as it would be such an obvious admission of guilt on her end. But once she offered, of course I'm going to accept my money back after being clearly cheated ... If I thought there was any chance I wasn't being cheated, I would not have accepted the refund."
Two hours after Adelstein's posts, Lew posted a much shorter response to the situation. She said Adelstein "threatened" her offscreen.
"Garrett blocked me. Guilty as charged. What an honest man," she said. "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. Full details to come."
Garrett blocked me. Guilty as charged. What an honest man. 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. Full details to come— Robbi Jade Lew (@RobbiJadeLew) September 30, 2022
Shortly after that initial tweet, Lew suggested to Adelstein that once she is vindicated, they should face off again.
"Garrett, I've got an idea. After I'm vindicated, let's go heads up," she wrote. "The whole world can watch me read you all day."