The 5 Biggest Poker Cheaters in History

Poker cheaters have existed ever since the game was created. The newest schemes are reserved for online poker and it is more common than you might think. However, the top of the list is composed from players who had the nerve to cheat at live broadcast main events. Here is a run down of the most famous poker cheats in history.

Jean Paul Pasqualini and Cedric Rossi — Partouche Poker Tour Scam 2009

Teams of secret poker players is one of the most professional scams there is. The movie “Rounders” actually showed how exactly this scheme works, and the horrible outcomes, but what Jean and Cedric did is the stuff of legends. Those two had the balls to cheat in a huge live poker tournament by communicating with elaborate hand signals. They won over $2 million with this tactic.

Both used the same signals by touching a specific body part with the index finger.

  • Ace Top of head
  • King Forehead
  • Queen Eye
  • Jack Nose
  • Ten Mouth
  • 9 or 8 Neck
  • small pair Arm

Watch the final table game:

Soon after both players were deranked from the Poker Index and their profiles were marked as “suspended”.

Fake Chips (and DVD’s) — Christian Lusardi

Probably the oldest trick in the game. Running low on chips? Just introduce your own and guala! Your stack is as good as new! This is exactly what Christian Lusardi did in the Borgata Winter Poker Open back in 2014. By the end of the day 2.7 million in chips suddenly appeared on the table and the dealer was clueless as to how they got there. Suspicion fell on Lisardi and the police came knocking to his hotel door only to find him trying to flush chips through the toilet. During his interrogation, Lusardi claimed he bought the chips online from a Chinese vendor and then placed counterfeit Borgata logos on them.

The tournament, which was in its final phase, was canceled and Lusardi convicted to 8 years in jail but only served 6 months. The poker community was not happy to know that a man convicted for 8 years in prison served so little (released on parole). He was given 5 years for his cheat, but an additional three for copyright infringement, after the police found fake DVD’s that were being sold inside his house.

The Card Marker — Valeriu Coca

This is one of the most common poker cheats, marking the cards to know which symbol they hold.

Moldovan Valeriu Coca was the only one caught doing it during the World Poker Series in 2015. He raised suspicions during a $10k bracelet event for his incredible luck. The WSOP began an investigation and could not gather enough evidence of his cheat, allowing him to keep the $54,545 in winnings. Soon after casinos in Prague began to ban the player for marking cards. Apparently he would mark aces and kings to gain an edge.

Electronic Card Reader — Billy the Egyptian

Apparently, anyone can acquire an electronic card reader on eBay. Billy the Egyptian was a frequent cash poker player in Glasgow (or still is), until one night poker players got suspicious about his strange luck and informed the police.

The casino management even thinks Billy worked in team with a dealer and communicated using the device to know the cards each player had. As this case is just from 2018, there is no news if Billy the Egyptian was ever caught and convicted, and how his scheme actually worked.

The Super User — Russ Hamilton

Online poker offers a myriad of different cheats, but this one was epic! In 2007, Ultimate Bet poker players discovered that one of them had an admin account with access to all cards being dealt on the site.

The user was “Potripper”, at least one of the accounts was. The person behind the username was Russ Hamilton, the 1994 WSOP main event winner and one of the site’s owners. Hamilton got caught after an employee of the website revealed an audio were the ex-poker champ confessed his cheat.

An estimated $22.1 million in gains is the estimate of Hamilton’s scam.

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