High Roller Controversy As WSOP Player Accuses Another Of Illegally Marking Cards

Written By Anthony Cicali III on June 22, 2023 - Last Updated on June 23, 2023
poker player scratching card wsop

In a stunning turn of events at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), high stakes poker player Andrew Robl has made an accusation that high roller poker professional Martin Kabrhel is a cheat.

Robl claims that Karbhel has been marking poker cards, most recently in the $250,000 high roller WSOP bracelet event. For those curious, yes, WSOP NJ is live in the state. One of the few with legal online poker in the US.

On June 18, Robl publicly posted on Twitter and made his claim that “I’ve seen him mark cards in every tournament I’ve ever played with him.” He even posted a picture in which he showed Karbhel staring at cards of other players.

Explaining act of marking cards in poker

The stakes were incredibly high in this particular event, as it was the prestigious $250,000 Super High Roller. While Kabrhel managed to secure a third-place finish, walking away with a staggering $2.3 million, Robl failed to cash.

Kabrhel is being accused of marking the back of cards to gain an unfair advantage. Card marking has long been recognized as a deceptive technique employed by unscrupulous individuals in live poker and various card games.

Generally speaking, a player discreetly leaves subtle marks on the back of specific cards they receive. When these marked cards subsequently appear in the hands of other players, the cheater can identify them and gain insight into their opponents’ holdings.

French poker player Hugo Lemaire posted a clip from the PokerGo Stream, in which it looks like Kabrhel is using his finger nails to mark the back of the cards.

WSOP investigates claim of marked card cheating

According to WSOP officials, an official investigation into the matter is currently underway. However, they are unable to provide further details until the investigation concludes.

Notably, tournament staff took immediate action by implementing a new rule that strictly prohibited players from standing up during final table play. This move was specifically aimed at preventing Kabrhel from gaining an advantage by examining potentially marked cards. During the tournament, fellow players Dan Smith and Chance Kornuth informed Kabrhel of this rule, which prompted him to stand up at one point. A tournament official had to intervene to ensure fair play.

Some players, such as three-time bracelet winner Chance Kornuth, thinks he may be angling instead of directly cheating. Angling occurs when a player bends a rule to gain a shady advantage that sometimes is legal.

In a tweet, Kornuth wrote:

“He stands up and makes a show of looking at players cards when he’s faced with almost any decision – he knows that he’s been accused of marking cards in the past and wants players to be thinking about that – a huge angle shoot. But let’s assume for the sake of This thread that Martin isn’t cheating…To have a strategy of making players think you are cheating is bad for the game on multiple levels. He gains an unfair edge and pushes the line of mental warfare too far. The floor does everything it can to protect players from angle shooters and to me what Martin is doing is the ultimate angle…To INTENTIONALLY give the illusion you are cheating in any event, especially the highest of stakes should not be tolerated.”

Martin Kabrhel fights back

After the allegations went public, Kabrhel went on the offensive to defend his position. This included taking legal action. He first pronounced his innocence through several tweets.

“I am not a cheater, this is not true!! This gossip is damaging me not only as poker player, but also my business activities and my family.”

Kabrhel went on to say: “That’s why I have decided to take legal action against Andrew Robl, because in such a professional tournament series as WSOP it is very easy to prove such accusations are pure lies.”

Why is Kabrhel so worried about his reputation? Because in Nevada, not only is his reputation at risk, but also being exposed as cheating a contested game in Sin City can lead to jail time.

NRS 465.083 is a critical Nevada law that explicitly forbids cheating in casino games, including poker. This law encompasses actions that manipulate the outcome of the game or disrupt the payment process. If a poker player is found guilty of cheating under this statute, they may face severe legal repercussions.

A first-time conviction under NRS 465.083 is classified as a category C felony, which can result in up to five years in prison. Additionally, the convicted individual may be required to provide restitution for any financial losses incurred as a result of their cheating. Furthermore, hefty fines may be imposed as well.

Stakes rise as legal battle begins

On Tuesday, Kabrhel raised the stakes. He employed the help of lawyer Daniel B. Ravicher and posted a defamation claim against the following:

  • PokerGo
  • Dan Smith
  • Andrew Robl
  • Chances Kornuth
  • Justin Bonomo

The full letter can be seen below:

To further his position on the matter, Kabrhel went on the controversial Doug Polk Podcast show on June 21 to talk about the allegations. In the podcast he told Polk: “I never cheated. I was not banned from any venue. … It’s completely untrue.”

As the investigation progresses, the poker world eagerly awaits the outcome of this high-stakes dispute, which has the potential to reshape the dynamics of the competitive circuit. PlayNJ wants to remind its readers, in the legal system, that people are considered innocent until proven guilty. Stay tuned for further updates as this drama unfolds.

Photo by PlayNJ; Hugo Lemaire Twitter
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Written by
Anthony Cicali III

Anthony “Eatahoagie“ Cicali is a freelance writer from Riverside, NJ. He has his undergrad from Stockton University. He's also a Twitch casino streamer and a professional East Coast poker player. Currently covers poker and casino-related topics for PlayNJ, PlayTexas, PlayNY, Playpennsylvania and more. Favorite sports teams include Phillies, Flyers and the Gravina Football Club. You can follow his gambling adventures on Twitter @Eatahoagie.

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