A day with Robbi Jade Lew, the woman at the center of the poker cheating scandal.
Robbi Jade Lew is determined to prove that the $120,000 ruby ring on her middle finger does not vibrate, does not hide a tiny camera, or was not changed in any other way to help her win a controversial Texas Hold ‘Em hand last week that has gone viral and shaken the poker world.
The same goes for the supposed bulge on the side of her Versace leggings, which online conspiracy theorists say could have been hiding an electronic device that was sending her information from a partner. The chair she was sitting in at the Hustler Casino and her $480 rose-colored Fendi sunglasses have also been looked at closely.
She denies everything, and to clear her name, she has invited me to a Beverly Hills jeweler.
“People are saying, ‘She did it for money or for fame.’ I didn’t need the money, so I think that’s funny,” said 37-year-old Lew. As for fame, “I obviously have a fake Hollywood look,” he said. There are much easier ways for me to become famous than this.”
Before the cheating scandal, the former account manager for biopharmaceuticals from Pacific Palisades wasn’t very well known in the poker world. She learned how to play poker four years ago. At first, she read a book called “Poker for Dummies,” and then her husband taught her the basics.
During the pandemic, they started to play more often and have games with friends and family to pass the time at home. Lew hired two well-known poker coaches when she realized she was good at it. This spring, she went to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and played in smaller tournaments and cash games there and in Southern California.
Lew made his third appearance on Hustler Casino Live on September 29. This is a popular poker show on YouTube that streams from the Gardena casino five nights a week and has more than 180,000 subscribers. Garrett Adelstein, who was on “Survivor” in 2013 and is one of L.A.’s best professional poker players, was at the high-stakes table. Since Hustler Casino Live started streaming 14 months ago, he has become a regular and the face of the show.
A wild hand broke out between the two a couple of hours into the stream, which was delayed so that players wouldn’t know what was going on in real time (they are also required to turn over their phones, smartwatches and any other electronic devices).
Lew had the jack of clubs and the four of hearts, and Adelstein had the seven and eight of clubs. After the flop, which is the first three cards that everyone sees, Adelstein had a straight flush draw, which is a very strong hand. Even though Lew’s hand was bad at that point, she called his bet anyway.
The turn, the fourth shared card, didn’t help either player. Adelstein kind of bluffed and bet again, and Lew raised again. Adelstein answered by going all-in for the rest of Lew’s chips, which were worth $109,000.
Lew called, which was shockingly unusual and paid off. When Adelstein didn’t improve his hand after all the cards were dealt, she won the huge $269,000 pot.
After Lew showed her hand, everyone at the table, including Adelstein, looked shocked and couldn’t say anything for more than 90 seconds.
“I’ll just say it: Garrett thinks this hand was not straight in some way, and there’s no doubt about it,” commentator Bart Hanson told the more than 20,000 people watching on YouTube. “This is the most upset Garrett has ever looked to me.”
After the two players and a producer talked about it away from the camera, Lew gave Adelstein half of the pot back, which made people even more suspicious. Lew says she felt pressured into giving Adelstein the money back “to ease the stress of the situation” and regrets her choice.
Adelstein said in a long statement he posted on Twitter that night that Lew wouldn’t have kept playing with the cards she had if she wasn’t cheating. He also said he was suspicious of her “word salad” explanations afterward, which he said were always changing. Lew says she misread her cards and thought she had a pair of threes when she actually had a jack high, but he says she still beat him.
Adelstein, who is 36, wouldn’t say anything else when asked Wednesday night, but he did say, “That could change at some point.”
The fallout has angered the poker community, which has been hurt by many casino and online poker room cheating schemes over the years. It’s also the latest in a string of high-profile cheating scandals that have happened recently, including at the highest levels of chess and competitive fishing.
Pros and amateurs from all over the world have weighed in, analyzing Lew’s body language (was she tapping her fingers and twisting her ruby ring as a secret signal or just fidgeting? ), her clothes (was that “bulge” in her leggings something bad or just a trick of the light? ), and the chair she was sitting in (was it vibrating at a key moment or was she shaking her leg under the table?). and the different things she said about why she played the way she did (was she trying to hide what she did or was she just confused when asked?).
Poker pro Matt Berkey, who runs a well-known poker coaching academy, said, “Basically, she played a very bad hand in a way that made it look like she could see her opponent’s hole cards.” “Her hand was so bad that even the worst player in the world wouldn’t want to put any money in the pot.”