Fake Tournament Chips in Major Events? You’d Better Believe It!

This article was posted on January 20, 2014

The use of fake tournament chips in major live poker events is something reminiscent of the days of the old West, or something out of a bad poker western-themed poker movie. It is however a reality apparently, the sort of reality that gets poker tournaments cancelled.

The tournament I’m talking about is the first event of the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open, the one offering a $2 million guarantee. The attractive prize-pool was obviously enough to determine one or more of the participants to attempt a borderline ridiculous way to gain an added edge.

The event kicked off under dubious auspices to begin with. Its first day 1 flight in the books, the organizers decided to hold Day B and Day 1C on the same day, a decision which resulted in a bit of confusion, as it became quite impossible to determine the total number of participants, the eventual resulting prize-pool and the would-be share of the eventual winner, in a timely manner.

While these hurdles were all cleared one after the other, and the resulting prize-pool actually managed to surpass the advertised guarantee by quite a bit, the bad omen seemed to have settled in: two players broke into a heated argument, shouting up the tournament venue and requiring the intervention of the officials to settle things.


Hiccups here and there, the event did manage to play down to its final 27 after all, but then another unexpected problem surfaced. Apparently, counterfeit chips surfaced at the tables, prompting the organizers to suspend the green felt hostilities. Although initially Borgata officials announced that the event would be allowed to play on, the Division of Gaming Enforcement was called in to further investigate the issue.

The DGE bluntly called for the cancellation of the event though, after the problem turned out to be much more wide-spread than expected. Indeed, the officials confirmed that one or more perpetrators had introduced fake chips into the tournament with the obvious goal of gaining an edge over the competition. The organizers of the tournament immediately complied and thus the event was cancelled. All players who had not yet been paid out were given their buy-ins back and that included Allard Broedelet, the player who had the largest stack at the sudden cessation of the green felt hostilities.


No one has yet been arrested in regards to the cheating scandal.

The bottom line: poker players are certainly a lively and more importantly a motley crew. There are always some rotten apples in the basket, which – in this case – didn’t shy away from ruining the tournament for around 4,000 players, even though the scheme they’d hatched was pretty much doomed to failure from the get-go. There are certainly lessons to be learned here…it’s just that they’re at least as ridiculous as the scheme these “poker players” came up with…


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