Update 1:00 p.m. ET The now-fired HCL employee Bryan Sagbigsal will apparently appear on Joe Ingram’s podcast tonight. This simply gets more wild by the minute, and this should be can’t miss drama.
Update 12:15 p.m. ET This is very much drawing eyes to the poker world, but also to Lew personally. Here’s a full write-up on her in the LA Times this morning, where she reveals she was a biopharmaceuticals account manager before picking up poker.
Update 4:15 a.m. ET Lew went on Joe Ingram’s popular poker livestream to discuss all the allegations against her and the news of today’s arrest. And you’ve got to give her this: If she’s not telling the truth, she’s doing an incredible job of getting her story out there.
The impromptu interview was conducted by legendary sports bettor, former NBA consultant, and now third-division Spanish soccer team owner Haralabos Voulgaris (whom she called “Harry Potter” amongst other choice nicknames), as well as well-known longtime pro Shaun Deeb. They asked tough questions, and she seemed to have answers for many of them.
Everything from her backing deal, upcoming lie detector tests, and potential heads-up poker matches in the nude against Voulgaris and Bill Perkins were discussed. Lew also gets into the personal toll she says the last week has taken on her. It’s an amazing hour of broadcasting, and credit to all three gentlemen for both pressing and knowing when to pull back as well.
She might be a cheater, but if she is she might possess whatever gene Catherine Trammel had in Basic Instinct. Because she seems rather sympathetic and believable here.
Let’s hope we get an answer to what really happened.
Step aside, fired massage therapist for giving a nipple rub at the 2022 World Series of Poker, we have a new clubhouse leader for the weirdest poker story of the year.
The drama of the “did she or didn’t she cheat” hand between Garrett Adelstein and Robbi Jade Lew has broken through to mainstream sports coverage as well. But now it’s likely to explode once again, as the internal investigation undertaken by Hustler Casino Live has shown that one of their employees stole three $5,000 chips from Lew’s stack after play ended on September 29.
The theft and the story was confirmed by HCL’s owners Nick Vertucci and Ryan Feldman.
Lew put out a statement to PokerNews.com, saying she chose not to press charges against Bryan Sagbigsal, the HCL employee that took the cheques from her, saying that it was “unnecessary to damage a young man’s life” and wanting to move forward.
I received the following statement from @RobbiJadeLew regarding the recent @HCLPokerShow revelation that $15K was taken off her stack.— Chad Holloway (@ChadAHolloway) October 7, 2022
More coming an an article that’ll appear on @PokerNews. pic.twitter.com/8ik91wWwgh
So to recap, on the night of September 29:
- Lew calls down a 2x pot shove on the turn with Jack-high and no draw, but wins $135,000 anyway.
- Lew gives back the $135,000 to her opponent Garrett Adelstein, who somehow decides to keep it, but eventually donates it to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Los Angeles.
- Lew has an additional $15,000 stolen from her while away from the table after the session.
- One of the GOAT’s of poker in Phil Ivey played in this same livestreamed cash game that night, and absolutely no one cares anymore.
But why wouldn’t Lew press charges? And what was Bryan Sagbigsal’s job at HCL? According to well-known poker influencer Johnnie Moreno (a.k.a. Johnnie Vibes), Sagbigsal is someone that would have access to the RFID information of the cards during the livestream.
This is about as close as it gets to a smoking gun. This person that was terminated is one of the only people that has access to hole cards in real time. https://t.co/xD59Q6q588— Johnnie VIBΞS (@JohnnieVibes) October 7, 2022
During livestreamed poker, each of the 52 cards has a different RFID tag embedded in the card so the production crew can post the hole cards as graphics during the broadcast, but the players at the table won’t know what their opponent has as each card looks exactly the same while face down.
And Vibes would know as he’s played on HCL livestreams previously. The RFID tags are how poker player Mike Postle is assumed to have cheated at Stones Gambling Hall outside Sacramento in 2019.
While absolutely nothing is proven at this point, the appearance that Lew could be going soft on Sagbigsal because he is her cheating partner is certainly a popular working theory on Poker Twitter presently.
And it turns out Sagbigsal has a criminal past himself, according to PokerNews.
Sagbigsal, who also has written for the Las Vegas Chronicle, has a checkered past. According to his public records, he was involved in a robbery and a prison escape in 2017, along with a battery charge from 2018, and was incarcerated at the California Department of Corrections in Sacramento. Details of the incident aren’t clear, but he was only 18 years old at the time (24 now).
The theory that this colluding gang couldn’t shoot straight could hold some water. Lew struggled to keep her story straight about why she made one of the most questionable calls in broadcast poker history. So Sagbigsal just taking what might have been his cut of the profits right off Lew’s stack while in front of the casino cameras, instead of just squaring up the money in the parking lot or a diner later like in every crime drama you’ve ever seen, would be pretty fitting.
If they were cheating, why didn’t Sagbigsal just signal to Lew to fold the jack-high hand against Adelstein? Rolling the dice on a coin flip that made zero sense was only going to draw unwanted attention, when the upside to continue winning was massive. Do they plan on breaking into Kevin McAllister’s house later as well??
Also to be noted: Sagbigsal stole $15,000, and Lew won $153,000 in the September 29 game.
Hello Poker Twitter,
My name is Bryan, I’m the longest tenured employee at Hustler Casino Live. I’ve started working for HCL as an audio tech but at this point I’ve moved up and done every job from audio to graphics and even cameras, I’ve poured my heart and soul into this.
This situation is extremely upsetting considering some people in the community want to try to drag Hustler Casino Live’s name thru the mud, WHEN I KNOW FOR A FACT, nobody in production is in collusion with ANY of the players. Our game integrity is the MOST SECURE IN THE INDUSTRY.
And many in the poker community want to know how any crime might have been committed, as frequent livestream player and energy trading billionaire Bill Perkins is offering a bounty to any guilty parties to show how any cheating was done.
That caused NBA betting legend and new owner of Spanish soccer team CD Castellon to post $100,000 if it was matched by Perkins.
If and only if there was cheating. Not sure there was just want to put that out there.— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) October 7, 2022