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WSOP opens investigation into player accused of cheating

Updated June 20, 2023 - 7:22 pm

The World Series of Poker is investigating a player for cheating after he finished third in the most expensive tournament on the schedule.

Martin Kabrhel, a high-stakes professional from the Czech Republic, was accused of wrongdoing Sunday by at least two prominent poker players before, during and after the $250,000 buy-in Super High Roller No-Limit Hold’em event.

Tournament officials said Monday they were aware of the allegations.

“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.”

Prior to the start of the final table of the Super High Roller event, professional poker player Andrew Robl accused Kabrhel on Twitter of marking cards and asked, “How is Martin Kabrhel not banned from the WSOP?”

Robl finished out of the money in the tournament.

The final nine players were informed before play started Sunday at Horseshoe Las Vegas they would not be permitted to stand while their hand was live, a ruling that appeared to be aimed at Kabrhel.

At one point during six-handed play, Kabrhel stood up and a tournament official was called to the table.

“The reason that you’re not allowed to stand is if the cards were marked, you’d have a better angle of it,” sixth-place finisher Dan Smith told Kabrhel. “So, as a preventative measure, we can’t have that. … That’s the reason the ruling sits.”

When Kabrhel asked if they were serious, high-stakes pro Chance Kornuth weighed in.

“They’ve created the rule for you to protect us,” Kornuth said. “If you have any more questions, let us know.”

After Smith was eliminated, he wished the rest of the table good luck and told Kabrhel he should be banned.

“Your antics are the worst of anybody I’ve ever (played with),” Smith said.

Kabrhel defended himself Monday, posting a statement on Twitter that said he intended to pursue legal action against Robl.

“I am not a cheater, this is not true!!” Kabrhel wrote. “This gossip is damaging me not only as poker player, but also my business activities and my family.”

Kabrhel has two WSOP bracelets and five Circuit rings for tournament victories with more than $11.6 million in career earnings, according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database.

He also has a reputation for getting under players’ skin with his stalling tactics and table talk.

Kabrhel earned nearly $2.3 million in Sunday’s event that was won by high-stakes pro Christopher Brewer for $5.3 million.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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