Well-known high-stakes poker pro Martin Kabrhel finds himself at the center of another controversy. He is facing accusations of cheating at live poker tournaments with marking cards, an allegation that has been made against him in the past by several fellow poker pros. This time, however, the claims gained bigger traction, leading to an investigation by the World Series of Poker.
“While we do not discuss specific security protocols used to monitor players and gaming equipment, the integrity of the game remains paramount and we can assure fellow patrons that we are taking these allegations very seriously,” the WSOP said in a statement to the Review-Journal. “As this is an ongoing investigation, there is no further comment on the matter at this time.”
The accusation took a more serious turn during the livestream of the $250,000 Super High Roller WSOP event on PokerGO, which Kabrhel finished in 3rd place for $2,279,038. He was displaying unusual behavior, such as scratching and pressing down on cards, frequently standing up, looking at his opponent’s chip stacks in a suspicious way, and oddly fondling his hole cards.
Even before the livestream started, Andrew Robl said on Twitter: “How is Martin Kabrhel not banned from the WSOP? He makes any tournament no fun for anyone and on top of it I’ve seen him mark cards in every tournament I’ve ever played with him.”
When confronted that these are serious accusations, he continued: “Not a new take, most pros have felt this way for years. Every player in the tournament cringed when he entered, if there was a player vote from the high roller field if he should be banned it would likely be unanimous and poker players can’t agree on everything.”
Andrew Robl, a highly respected figure in the poker world, was not the only one to level accusations against Kabrhel. Other notable players, including Chance Kornuth, Brian Rast and Dan Smith, have also expressed their suspicions.
While Smith questioned some of the weird moves by Martin live on stream and later in the interview with PokerGO, Kornuth, on the other hand, took precautionary measures sitting next to him, strategically using his chips stack to shield his cards from Kabrhel's view.
Kabrhel, however, has categorically denied the accusations. In a statement released on Twitter, he dismissed the allegations as "pure lies" and attributed his actions to his autistic behavior. He also announced that he is taking legal action against Andrew Robl, who has been particularly vocal in accusing Kabrhel of cheating.