Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Interesting Take On Poker Tournament Chip Cheats and Scandals

Have you ever heard of Russ Georgiev? I have heard his name mentioned several times and come across it on the Internet; he claims to be a poker cheating guru and was supposed to write a big book about poker cheating about the time I released Dirty Poker in March, 2006. Well, I never saw the book and don't know if it ever came out, but in spite of that, the guy seems to have some solid views on poker cheats and cheating that coincide with my own. Today I came across this article of his that talks extensively about chip-cheating in major poker tournaments, which I had always claimed was significant, as evidened by the appearance of counterfeit tournament chips at the 2005 WSOP at the Rio Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas--not once but twice! In any event, I read the article and felt it was worthy of publishing on my site. What do you think?


I know that there is cheating going on in EVERY MAJOR TOURNAMENT that is played. I also assert that the chip count in EVERY MAJOR TOURNAMENT, from the World Series on down, cannot come out correct.

The reason? There are chips missing from the chip racks before that tournament starts! Those chips are the ones the casinos don't tell you about.

MISSING from the casinos' tournament chip racks!

Do you think the Land Based Casino's will do something about it after reading this article?

I am willing to bet as much as anybody that the chip count will NEVER come out right in ANY major tournament.


I will bet on it! Any takers out there? I didn't think so.

I, Russ Georgiev, gave Mike Caro (famous poker book writer) some World Series of Poker (WSOP) chips before the tournament started. Since I know there were chips being given about before the tournament how could their chip count at the end of the tournament possibly be accurate? IT CANNOT BE ACCURATE AS LONG AS THERE ARE CHIPS OUT!

I will not buy the part [they are souvenirs that are missing]. Cmon you can fool some of the suckers some of the time - but really you folks don't actually believe the excuses that Casino's give for having 10% more chips at the end of the tournament - DO YOU?

So how do poker players add chips to a tournament?

There are a few ways poker cheats can add poker chips to a big tournament. It is as easy as one two three. Cheaters can use chips from smaller buy-in events [believe it or not the tournament organizers use the same chips in the big events - how stupid is that] and stock up for the Tournament of Champions, in advance, at a minimal cost.

Every single tournament at the Bicycle Club results in millions of extra chips. Perhaps the Bicycle Club should invest in new poker chips and institute measures to audit them before AND after each tournament. The Bicycle is irresponsible, and management KNOWS the chip count is never correct in a tournament. Maybe if someone sued the Bicycle all this cheating in chip counts would be corrected. If big time poker tournaments were fortune 500 companies all the CEO's would be locked up in prison for financial inpropriety. Why is it that the Bicycle Club never tells the public how many chips are in play 5 minutes after the number of participants are fixed (or the number of rebuys over and done). Is it so difficult to believe that a poker room running a million dollar tournament has a clue as to how many chips in play every minute of the tournament - COURSE they do. Yet for reasons that are perfectly clear to me they will not tell anyone how many chips they have bought, nor how many chips they have on hand. If that information were known, it would certainly blow the lid off the CHIP SCANDAL has been going on for a long time.

There are several ways you can be cheated in a tournament, and I'm going to cover them right here for you.


1. In tournaments, there is collusion, where two or more players play in concert with each other to gain an unfair advantage. It is hard to detect and hard to prove and that type of cheating is not our my focus here but now you know it exists. And those people who claim there is absolutely no advantage to colluding in a multi table tournament have no clue what they are talking about ... and usually they are saying that because they are the one's right there colluding.

2. There is chip scamming, where a single player adds illegally obtained chips to his stack during play.

3. There is also a combination of collusion and chip scamming: teams of players passing illegally obtained chips back and forth during play. This type of cheating and the nonchalance of management when it comes to dealing with it is my main focus in this article.

First I would like to go into a little aside regarding how big an advantage it is to have an extra two or three thousand chips in any poker tournament where you started with a few thousand chips:

Do you realize what an incredible advantage it is if you begin a tournament with $5,000 in chips while the other players are starting out with only $2500? Your extra chips may not actually come into play in a given tournament, but they are worth their weight in gold if you need them. You can add and subtract from your stack as needed, depending on your chip position in the tournament. There is a lot of money at stake in tournaments, and team having extra chips to play with is ALWAYS involved.

But when you consider a group of players not only playing in concert with each other, but also handing chips back and forth to keep their teammates in the action, the advantage increases greatly. When you're in the middle of a tournament, and have $28,000 or $26,000 in chips in front of you, who's going to notice if a few thousand chips extra in the mix. It's easy to just palm a few and slip them into a pocket or down an open shirt. A FEW LESS CHIPS WILL LIKELY NOT AFFECT THE OUTCOME OF YOUR PLAY IN THE CURRENT TOURNAMENT, but those chips can be INVALUABLE in another tournament when you really NEED them. And it happens ALL the time. If you only have $2,000 early in a tournament and have another four or five thousand to slip in along the way, it WILL impact your chances in THAT tourney. During the break is when chips can be exchanged very easily. Before that it's a little harder, but it is done. An accomplice will have extra chips, and he passes them around to the team as needed. Chips are distributed amongst teammates who are up, and they pass chips to teammates who need them to remain in play.

Just a couple of chips can be vital in a situation like this. Another good time to add or remove chips is when a table breaks. Just pick up your chips, pull some out of a pocket and sit back down in your new seat. Or, you can get some from a teammate. Who's going to notice if you've got a few more chips than when you got up from another table? Getting past the first break is key. Then, everything possible must be done to keep the team going after the break. Everyone on the team is needed. However, just because you are on a team cheating in this manner does not guarantee you a win. Even with cheating, you don't win every time. The main objective in tournament team-cheating is to get to the final table. A good team can do it more than 50% of the time. The first goal is to get to the break, hoping that your partners don't need chips, but always watching to see if you can help any of them. One level at a time is conquered, keeping teammates in by passing chips back and forth, back and forth, even if only a couple at a time. The ultimate goal of the team is to make money. Most cheaters of this type prefer to keep a low profile, and will usually make deals for a split at the final table. Most cheats want to avoid any publicity that might come from a real win. At the final table, a deal is almost always struck to split the money. Some cheaters will then just lose intentionally after the deal is made. The winner MAY get a little more than the others, as well as the publicity and any additional prizes, such as trophies. As I said, the vast majority of tournament cheats would rather just have the money, but there is a small percentage who also want the glory. As outlined above, the most relied upon method for getting spare chips is to just remove them from a previous tournament. It is a tremendous advantage to have extra chips EARLY in a tournament. Like I said before - extra chips are worth their weight in gold. The best tournaments from which to procure extra chips are re-buy tournaments. There are plenty of chips to go around. A couple of re-buys may seem expensive but, since you can apply them at will when they are needed, it is an undeniable advantage and a bargain for the cheater. People that I know are always cheating tournaments in this manner.

Casinos know about them too but, obviously, they will not tell you. Casinos will tell you that the chip count is right, but they are lying.


An independent audit of the chips could easily prove this. Pat Fleming was caught in the Orleans tournament on videotape. What happened to him? Not much; he was barred from that casino, but is free to play other tournaments. Some punishment.

Think about how many people are doing this and NOT getting caught. Think about how long it has been going on. People complain to management, but management says, We didn't see it. So nothing is done. The casinos are participating in a CHIP SCANDAL! What are they doing to protect you, the honest player? NOTHING!

What about TEAM PLAY - how many players does it take to gain an advantage in a tournament?

As few as two players can have a big advantage, if they play correctly. A team of four players, even without any extra chips, can be lethal. They are just plain cheating - playing carefully (keeping their teammates' chip stacks in mind), and making plays to enhance each others' stacks.

The Casino's have video tape of every tournament and they have their chip racks - so you'd think they would know if chip counts vary and when - right? WRONG. They don't care.

The count NEVER adds up correctly at the end of the tournament. There are no telling HOW many chips are missing from every major tournament. Aren't you angry about this? Don't you wonder why the casinos aren't doing anything? How many chips are missing from various tournaments you ask? Russ Georgiev can't answer that question. But the Bicycle and the Rio (owned by Harrah's) can. They know how many chips they have bought over the years, and they know how many they have on hand. No one is accountable except the casinos and, since they won't take any action on it, they are party to a CHIP SCANDAL! You people who are serious about playing honest tournaments in the World Series of Poker or on the World Poker Tour then you should pay heed to this; demand that the casinos produce some evidence that their chip count is correct. They certainly have the information, and it would be very easy to do. But it won't be done because, if that information were known, it would be proof that they have participated in a CHIP SCANDAL over a long period of time! TOURNAMENTS are the MOST CORRUPT EVENTS in POKER. As I said, I personally gave Mike Caro some WSOP chips before it started. I also gave him some chips from the Legends of Poker Tournament. Can the chip count in these tournaments come out right? You already know the answer: HELL NO, IT CAN'T! THERE ARE CHIPS MISSING! I did not tell Mike how many more chips I have. And I can't tell him how many more are available. I only know about the ones I have, and about chips that are available to me. I do know that I can get chips for just about ANY tournament I want. But then, I don't play tournaments. Like I said, I think they are more corrupt than anything else in a casino. The casinos know how many chips are missing. They just don't want YOU to know. Even the "Johnny-come-latelys" know how to cheat the tournaments. And they do. The real questions are:

1. Will anyone do anything about this CHIP SCANDAL?

2. Is anyone willing to take on the casinos and demand that all their tournaments be run honestly?

3. Do you even care?

I do care - that's why I write about it and spell it out for all to see.

Russ Georgiev