It’s time. This will, sadly, be a recurring article featuring poker players behaving badly. There have been a lot of poker players in the news lately, some not so well known but others at the top of the game.

Some of the stories don’t necessarily deserve an entire article dedicated to a player’s bad behavior. Other stories deserve a lot of attention for their impact on the game, but those stories often have numerous plots and subplots, variations and developments, comments and reactions.

So, these episodes/chapters will feature those stories and incidences.

In fairness and for balance, there will also be a regular edition featuring poker players doing great things. There is a lot of generosity in the poker community, with players regularly lifting each other up and using their influence for good.

With any luck, there will be fewer reasons to write about the negative players and more fodder for the positive articles.

TMZ Sports Posts Hustler Fight

The fight was bad all by itself.

It took place at the Hustler Casino in the Los Angeles area. Players in a $2/$5 cash game couldn’t handle the table trash talk, and two of them began yelling at each other. One player said something about “yo mama” to the other, they attempted to punch each other, one may have landed a punch, and the other picked up a mini food table and hit the other over the head with it. A security guard tased – appeared to tase – the one with the table, causing him to drop it and fall to the ground.

Members of the staff and security teams handled the situation, and Hustler banned both players.

The situation was worsened by the fact that TMZ Sports picked up the story.

GGPoker Scoops Low

Poker sites have long feuded to attract the most poker players, to lure them to new action, to offer the best promotions. It’s the nature of any competitive business.

And then there’s GGPoker. As PokerStars kicked off its Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) with $78.5M in tournament guarantees, GGPoker launched its GG Online Championship Series with $150M guaranteed. So, GGPoker had to post this photo:

GGPoker versus PokerStars

Low blow.

Never mind that GGPoker took so many of its ideas straight from PokerStars (PokerStars had Spin & Go, now GGPoker has Spin & Gold; PokerStars had Sunday Millions, GGPoker came up with MILLION$; PokerStars is famous for its blog, so GG tried to launch a blog; and GG even took some of its pro roster straight from a pool of ex-PokerStars pros Negreanu, Grospellier, etc.).

Instead of trying to one-up everything a competitor does, perhaps it’s right to give credit where it’s due for paving the way.

Boris Becker Behind Bars

Speaking of former PokerStars-sponsored players that GGPoker signed, Boris Becker has been in the news. While he is no longer with GGPoker, he is no stranger to poker tables.

As it turns out, his bankroll management has something to be desired. A UK court recently sentenced the tennis legend to two and a half years in jail after finding him guilty of four Insolvency Act violations. When Becker declared bankruptcy in 2017, he was supposed to disclose all of his assets but failed to mention his £1M property in Germany, secret bank accounts, and stock shares. The judge also said Becker showed no remorse or acceptance of guilt, per the BBC.

Guilty of Gambling

Considering the case is now pending a new status conference in August, there will be no significant progress in the case in the meantime. The conference had been set for May 9 but is now postponed.

The United States filed an indictment in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California on March 3, 2022. The defendants were Gal Yifrach and Nick Shkolnik, and the charge was conducting an illegal gambling business.

Yifrach may be a familiar name to some in the poker community, as he has been a poker player for more than a decade. In live tournament poker alone, he began cashing in events in 2011 and 2012, when PokerStars and Full Tilt were forced out of the US market. His Hendon Mob profile shows a 2017 WSP Circuit ring, a 2018 WSOP bracelet, and WSOP final tables in 2019 and 2021. He is also known for his high-stakes play, having appeared on Live at the Bike and Hustler Casino Live.

 

The federal indictment alleges that Yifrach and his partner operated a gambling business with illegal video slot machines in California. The alleged activity began in March 2018 and continued through July 2020 with Yifrach directing much of the activity. Some of the proceeds from the business were then laundered through casino chips at a casino in Bell Gardens (most likely the Bicycle Casino, also known as the Bike).

Two of the people involved, Yosef Beshari and Efraim Journo, entered guilty pleas a few weeks later. They will receive their sentences on June 27, 2022.

Meanwhile, Yifrach appeared in court on March 9. The judge found that he was a flight risk and was sent to the US District Court for the Eastern District to be detailed until trial. However, his attorney appealed that ruling and secured his release pending trial. One person put up $50K unsecured bond and another put up $50K secured bond. He had to agree to a home monitoring program, limited movement, homebound status from 10pm to 6am each day, and more.

The previously-scheduled status conference for May 9 was recently postponed to August 15. Defendants’ counsel need extra time to study the 142,689 pages of discovery documents and recordings.

 

 

Jennifer Newell

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Jennifer Newell

Author
Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years.
Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs.