Hustler Casino Live is the hottest livestreamed cash game show in poker these days. It just is. And that is the case on any regular day. Add Phil Ivey to the mix for a few days, and viewership increases exponentially. HCL had a big week on its hands.

On Thursday night of this week, HCL streamed a regular show that included Ivey, as well as regular Garrett Adelstein, Eric Persson, Andy Stacks, Ryusuke, Mike X, Rip, and Robbie Lew. They were playing $100/$200/$400.

The Hand

Then, this hand happened:

  • Garrett raises to $3K preflop with 8-7 of clubs from the small blind.
  • Robbi calls with Jc-4h from the big blind.
  • The flop comes 9c-Tc-Th.
  • Garrett bets $2,500.
  • Robbi calls.
  • The turn is 3h.
  • Garrett bets $10K.
  • Robbi raises to $20K.
  • Garrett reraises all-in.
  • Robbi uses a time chip to think about it and then calls all in for $129K.
  • Neither shows their hand but they agree to run it twice.
  • The river is 9d.
  • The second river is As.
  • Garrett shows.
  • Robbi shows for the win.

Obviously, this rundown of the action omits all table talk, facial expressions, and other context. The table was stunned, as was Bart Hanson in the commentary booth. Garrett was more stunned than anyone.

Garrett is a longtime regular in the game, and the amounts of money on the table are not particularly unusual for the HCL stream. As Hanson noted, though, Garrett is usually a friendly player and would have normally congratulated his opponent on the hero call. Instead, he stared at her, the other players, the cards, and the chips. He looked bothered and even asked her a few questions as the dealer was distributing the winning chips. He was unhappy with her answers.

The Aftermath

Garrett left the table and the room. A bit later, Robbi went to talk to him. She then returned to the table to pick up a rack of chips. Rip left the table to join them. Voice from outside the HCL studio increased in volume, as Rip removed his hat, yelling and cursing at Garrett.

Rip returned and told the table that Garrett made Robbi give him the money she won from him. As Andy questioned how he could “make” her do that.

Andy, Ryusuke, and Eric debated taking a break, as all of the other players had left the table, at least temporarily, but the three of them decided to play on. Garrett had packed up all of his chips to leave the casino at that point.

Rip, Robbi, and Garrett continued arguing as security personnel came to ensure calm prevailed.

Robbi and Rip ended up returning to the table, as did everyone but Garrett. Play continued until the stream’s regularly scheduled ending.

The Debates

For some in the poker community, there were two sides to the story. You either believed Garrett and believed that Robbi cheated in some way, or you believed Robbi that she genuinely played and won the hand as Garrett overreacted.

Of course, that is a simplification. In truth, there are many nuances to the situation and the debate that ensued thereafter.

Joey Ingram immediately took to streaming a live investigation of the issue that lasted more than nine hours through the night. He played the video of the hand many times, subsequent hands, and previous hands involving Robbi. He invited people to weigh in via the chat box and took calls from poker pros and even Robbi herself.

Matt Berkey and his Only Friends podcast broke down the situation and dug into the many big issues and subtleties of them. Doug Polk recorded a video with a clear slant. Everyone had an opinion or something to say about it.

Two Main Sides

As for Robbi, she spoke to the producers of Hustler Casino Live later in the Thursday night stream. She spoke to the camera, wanting to explain the hand from her perspective. Some of her major points included:

  • After the flop, she held the jack of clubs for the backdoor flush and straight draws.
  • After the turn, she mentioned a pair of threes in her table talk with Garrett. She explained that she believed she held a three instead of a four in her hand.
  • When Garrett shoved, she called because she’s known him to bluff in similar previous situations, and she saw him bluff on a draw earlier in the session. She thought her jack of clubs was a blocker. She also chose to run it twice in order to mitigate the probable loss.
  • She acknowledged that she won the hand fairly.
  • Upon talking to him after the hand, she urged Garrett to return to the game. She didn’t want to be the source of more drama, so she offered to give him the money back if they could just move on with the game. To her surprise, he took the money.
  • She felt that she could win the money back fairly.

Robbi posted on Twitter that she made a hero call and Garrett needs to get over it.

A few hours later, she posted that Garrett blocked her on Twitter. She then claimed that he had cornered and threatened her at Hustler Casino that night.

And today, Robbi challenged Garrett to a heads-up match.

As for Garrett, he posted a long statement, naming the various ways Robbi could have cheated, including via a vibrating device and hacking the card reader. “In the end,” he wrote, “there’s obviously no way at the moment to know exactly how I was cheated. Those that think cheating is impossible despite HCLs security precautions are misguided.”

In addition to asserting that the Hustler Casino Live technology could be hacked, he did clarify that none of HCL ownership was likely involved.

As far as a refund, Garrett said that he took the money back because was “likely the closest I would get to a confession.” Though he took the money back from Robbi, he also stated that he was “clearly cheated” and threatened several times by Rip. “If I thought there was any chance I wasn’t being cheated, I would not have accepted the refund.” He claimed that the refund was “an admission of guilt.”

While there is no third party in the mix, Hustler Casino Live did issue a statement of its own. They intend to look into the matter and prohibit all parties involved until it is settled.