In case you’re unfamiliar with the drama, it all started with a hand that defies logic. In it, Robbi stacked a flabbergasted Garrett Adelstein after raise/calling a turn 3-bet shove with Jc4h on ThTc9c3h.
Somehow, she had the best hand and held on two boards against Adelstein's 7c8c.
Initially impressed with herself, her mood quickly changed as she was accused of cheating. This accusation led to a barrage of abuse online (though many seemed to be as ludicrous as the call itself!).
I read the man and make a hero call after he shoves on a turned brick card. Get over it.— Robbi Jade Lew (@RobbiJadeLew) September 30, 2022
I’ll say it again like I’ve said it before: “I’m not playing nice in the sandbox anymore.”
Make it right @GmanPoker
Or don’t. #IDGAF
I’ve already moved on. I’ll make it back either way.
In another twist, she later gave the money back to Adelstein. This move confused a lot of people. Whether the result of duress, general kind-heartedness, or something else entirely, it added fuel to the fire.
As you might imagine, many struggled to see why an innocent person would feel compelled to return legitimately won money. So, they interpreted the refund as an indication of guilt. Adelstein himself stressed this point in his statements shortly after the hand.
Since we all seem to love a bit of drama, the Lew-Adelstein hand quickly went viral, even making the national news channels in America. The hand boasts more column space than anything else on Adelstein’s Wikipedia page.
There have been some significant developments since. So, let’s review the current status quo and see if we’re any closer to a resolution.
Hustler Casino launched an investigation with specialist cyber security firm Bulletproof shortly after the hand. They examined if there was any indication of cheating during the stream.
The investigation was comprehensive and involved a complete dismantling of the table. Bulletproof also monitored ‘key elements’ from the session, including a list of ‘programs ran, USB keys plugged in [and] software installed.’
The report, which is available on the Hustler Casino website, found ‘no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing related to the Sept. 29 hand’.
So, we can say with utter certainty that Robbi Lew is in the clear, right?
Well, not quite. Bulletproof also suggested that the setup during the J4 stream did make cheating possible (Though, again, they found no evidence of any).
Bulletproof added this table in the report, which shows the stream’s vulnerabilities.. It also estimates how easy it would be to exploit them:
While there are probably similar holes in many live-stream setups, this part of the report gave Robbi Lew sceptics something to chew on. Bryan Sagbigsal, a Hustler Casino employee, had access to the production booth and operations.
He was caught stealing $15,000 from Lew’s stack on the night of the J4 stream. Weird right?
Many people thought so and took the theft a covert pay-off for feeding Lew information. Mainly since she initially chose not to press charges against him for the theft.
The whole situation was strange but, again, inconclusive. A cheat would probably conduct such payments in private. Nonetheless, the investigation highlighted an area Sagbigsal had access to as a potential vulnerability. That undoubtedly gives the claim a little extra merit.
At this point, it’s fair to mention that Bulletproof also commended Hustler on things they were doing to make the game safer. This praise included their ban on mobile phone use, which was at the centre of the infamous Mike Postle scandal.
Another part of the investigation saw the use of a private investigation company named The Solution Group. They were tasked with interrogating various players, staff and commentators involved in the hand.
Once again, the interrogations resulted in no evidence of deception or cheating, although Bryan Sagbigsal doesn’t seem to have been interviewed as of yet.
Since the investigation was inconclusive and thorough, it’s a massive plus in Robbi’s favour. But we can’t forget that a similar inquiry couldn’t incriminate Postle either. That investigation had a huge sample of hands and seemed like a far more concrete case of cheating.
Robbi Takes a Lie Detector Test
Another significant development saw Robbi take a polygraph test on the 12 of October 2022, about six weeks after the hand. Her decision likely was motivated by the barrage of abuse she received online.
One of the fascinating things about the whole case was how certain people were that they were right. This fact applies to people on both sides of the fence.
- Those damning Robbi did so furiously, all in the face of evidence that was circumstantial at best.
- Those on her side defended her with the unwavering dedication of a clingy puppy.
While there was nothing to say she cheated, the hand seemed way too ludicrous to be straight-up. The whole thing divided the poker community, and there were fiery arguments online for months.
A lie detector test was a central theme in these, and many of Lew’s sceptics had previously called for her to do a polygraph on Twitter. Convinced that she was cheating, they were sure she would surely fail.
But her results showed that she passed the test with ‘no deception indicated’.
Another day in the office??? Depends who you ask! 🤷🏻♀️ 4 UPDATES to report:— Robbi Jade Lew (@RobbiJadeLew) October 14, 2022
1) Spent afternoon @ Hustler Casino. Met w/ Lead Detective H.G. to submit concrete evidence to finalize arrest for B.S. (Twitter Messages from me, Employee info from Nick). Photos from LA Times coming soon pic.twitter.com/vrZ0U7sdEJ
The results should be a huge positive in Lew’s favor, as should her willingness to undergoing a lie detector in the first place, but while the majority of the reactions were supportive, it seems many would rather discredit the test than change their stance.
The test report post shared was riddled with comments. They ranged from @P0NY’s somewhat intriguing, ‘Her twin took the test’, to @SlappyYoNutz’s less pragmatic “She cheated!!!!!! The End”.
It seems two things are certain:
- One, it’s hard to change people’s minds.
- And two, people will always find a way to be right.
Anyway, the test involved the following three questions:
- Were you using any cheating devices while engaged in the Hustler Casino Live poker games?
- Did you cheat in any way during the Hustler Casino Live poker games?
- Did you conspire with anyone during the Hustler Casino live poker games to cheat?
So, how credible are Robbi’s lie-detector results?
The questions seem pretty specific. Without the skills needed to trick these kinds of tests, a cheat would surely struggle to work around question 2 in particular.
Many people seem to (arrogantly) believe they would be able to trick a polygraph test. But the reality is that this is far easier said than done.
In an article at BBC.com, polygraph expert Prof Don Grubin stressed that you need specific guidance to deceive a polygraph. The training requires ‘sitting down and practising with a trained examiner’.
Grubin adds that ‘most examiners [would] be able to spot any covert attempt to beat the test’, adding further credit to Robbi’s results. She took the test soon after the hand. So, it’s ludicrous to suggest that Robbi had time to learn how to pass the polygraph, let alone do so undetected.
And there’s also the fact that you’d have to be pretty cool under extreme pressure to fool a polygraph. Robbi’s flustering after J4 hand suggests she isn’t.
Assuming the documents are legitimate, the lie detector results prove that she was not cheating during the hand.
Fair enough Robbi. I gave you the benefit of the doubt ahead of this polygraph and you passed with flying colours. We have all made bad calls but this will go down in history as an epic one!— TheOtherDavidBellamy 🇬🇧 (@OtherBellamy) October 14, 2022
I can certainly see why @GmanPoker thought you were cheating as it was an awful call. pic.twitter.com/uiwcKjXTXD
While Adelstein has been pretty quiet since the hand, he made a lengthy reply when Hustler posted their report. In it, Adelstein addressed the security concerns at the casino and praised them for striving to improve it.
He highlighted cheating as a significant threat to poker live streams. He alluded to a return to the tables.
One thing he failed to address was Robbi Lew herself.
Adelstein has been at the heart of the cheating accusations since the off. He claims he would only have accepted a refund if he was 100% sure about the cheating. Since it's impossible to be 100% without evidence, this statement is clearly hyperbole. But it shows how confident Adelstein was of foul play.
Poker players train themselves to trust their gut. So, it’s clear that this one doesn’t sit right with him, especially as he’s been a gracious winner in the past.
In an interview on the Casino King YouTube channel, Lew explained that she had sent Garrett a text suggesting legal action to recover her winnings. But Garrett read the text and ghosted her like an accidental Tinder match.
Regarding the money, Lew may not have grounds for legal action. It seems she offered the money back voluntarily, which makes Garrett's accepting it legal.
Guess we’ll wait and see what happens there.
Adelstein maintains that his complaints were never about the money. This mindset lines up with his typical attitude towards a loss at the tables. So, he has arranged to have the $130,000+ donated to charity.
While this is an unbelievable gesture, it suggests that he still doesn’t agree with the evidence. Despite Lew’s text and polygraph test, nothing suggests he’s issued her with anything close to an apology.
In light of recent events and the absence of any factual evidence to the contrary, people have largely accepted that Lew did not cheat. It’s a logical conclusion when the investigation and polygraph results are considered.
While there are still some haters, nothing else can change their minds.
Polygraph is pretty much meaningless.— TCB (@THORmaximalist) October 14, 2022
Average perso can spot lies 55% of the time. Polygraph about 80%.
A poker player trains itself to lie at will without giving any tells.
Phone records also meaningless.
Anyone with 60IQ would do that over PGP/end2end encrypted devices.
Adelstein’s lack of an apology seems a little petulant at this stage. He may not have any obligation to return the money, but he owes Lew a response even if he does so to regain some of the class that made him so popular in the first place.
With that said, it’s good that the money went to charity. This move will allow something productive to come from the ordeal. $130K is a lot of money, and it will help change many lives.
Robbi has issued Garrett a heads-up challenge. But unless there is some new significant development, the whole Lew-Adelstein cheating saga is finished now.
The main driving force behind the accusations was the outrageous nature of the call.
Would there have been any (serious) cheating accusations had it not been for the Mike Postle scandal a few years ago?
That gripped the poker world like some viral soap opera. Many people wanted a season 2.!
We’re unlikely ever to be sure if Robbi was cheating or not. But it’s crystal clear that Postle’s antics at Stones damaged the poker community’s trust in live streams.