More than two months after a bizarre hero call with jack high tore the poker world in half, the host casino has reported the findings of their investigation. As it turns out, they didn’t actually find much of anything.
High Stakes Poker Productions, the company that owns and operates the Hustler Casino Live stream in Los Angeles, California, released a detailed report on Wednesday stating that Hustler Casino and an independent private investigation firm had been unable to discover any “evidence of wrongdoing in the controversial hand.”
“Among the key findings, the cybersecurity experts concluded 1) The Deckmate shuffling machine is secure and cannot be compromised; 2) It’s extremely unlikely that any card-reading device stored in a water bottle, jewelry or object on the table could have intercepted a card signal; 3) RFID technology used by “Hustler Casino Live” is safe. Any device that intercepted a signal would receive a serial number, not the actual card; 4) Radio communication to the on-floor camera operator was not an issue in the Lew-Adelstein hand; 5) The PokerGFX system was free and clear of malware, installed programs or systems that could intercept hands.”
Cash game crusher Garrett Adelstein had accused newcomer Robbi Jade Lew of cheating him out of $135,000 back in September. Lew had called all-in for her six-figure stack holding just jack-high with no draw. Somehow, her hand was good, and Adelstein, along with much of the viewing audience, couldn’t believe she had made the call. It was an incredible read, but perhaps too incredible.
After a confrontation, Lew refunded Adelstein his chips. It was a move that, depending on which camp you were in, either showed that Lew was guilty, or just trying to diffuse a tense situation.
Adelstein maintained that he had been cheated somehow, perhaps with the use of an electronic device or signaling from another player. And although Lew’s explanations for her play frequently contradicted each other, she doubled down on her innocence, even passing a lie detector test she took weeks later.
The investigation’s findings were another boon for Lew, who has sought out the spotlight in the wake of the controversy with numerous media and tournament appearances.
“It was nice to get that final result, but I already knew that was coming. It just feels like a different time in my life now where I can kind of mentally move forward,” Lew told Poker.org reporter Sarah Herring.
But while Lew’s supporters are happy, others still remain skeptical. Many poker players on Twitter pointed out that the investigation, which only looked at one session, did not necessarily conclude that no cheating occurred, but only that the experts could not find any definitive evidence on the date in question.
In fact, the detailed report states that “while no direct evidence of cheating was found, [investigators] found that cheating with the Sept. 29 setup was possible.”
Investigators determined seven top risks associated with security issues at HCL.
1. All non-streaming machines are connected to a private network that has no internet access but can be joined to the wireless network by the logged in user.
2. The user and password are shared amongst staff and staff has full administrator access to the system.
3. The antivirus license is expired.
4. No tracking of users, actions, and internet access stored in a log file.
5. The System BIOS is not password protected.
6. No website tracking or user access control is utilized.
7. Non-commercial grade network gear and router used lacks features for network security, segmentation, and logging.
As a result, HCL will be improving game security measures by reducing the number of staff that can view hole cards to just one, installing a wall and door to the production room, and forcing all production staff to keep their cell phones in signal-blocking Faraday bags.
Players will now be required to surrender their electronic devices before sitting down, and will be screened by metal-detectors prior to entering the filming area.
Additionally, production will be performing criminal background checks on all prospective employees. Hustler Casino Live operator Nick Vertucci, a former member of law enforcement, has been criticized for not conducting background checks previously.
Bryan Sagbigsal, a former employee of HCL with numerous crimes on his rap sheet, was caught stealing $15,000 from Lew’s stack on the very same night of the hand in question. An arrest warrant revealed that Sagbigsal is also accused of stealing an additional $5,000 from the casino.
Adelstein, who has not played since the incident, did not address Lew or the $135,000, which he has already donated to the Big Brothers charity program in Los Angeles. However, he did say he was happy to see HCL upgrade their security standards.
“I was heartened reading the details regarding several security measures HCL has implemented,” Adelstein wrote on Twitter. “Security vulnerabilities are the existential threat facing the poker livestreams we all love, and thus these updates are a win for everyone in our industry.”