Bryn Kenney, Players Accused of Cheating Respond to Allegations; Player Community Reacts to Another Controversy

April 25, 2022
Bryn Kenney, Players Accused of Cheating Respond to Allegations; Player Community Reacts to Another Controversy

After allegations surfaced against high stakes poker pro Bryn Kenney last week, he and others allegedly involved responded to the accusations in recent days.

Kenney posted on Twitter on Sunday denying the charges leveled against him last week by Martin Zamani, one of several players Kenney staked. Zamani alleged Kenney headed a large collusion, multi-accounting, and cheating operation. The poker pro finally broke his silence Sunday to deny those allegations.

“Dear all of my friends and fans, there have been accusations made about me, the most important to me is me being involved in any type of cheating,” Kenney posted on Twitter. “There is zero evidence of this and everyone who knows me knows it is not true. I will be addressing this in more detail shortly.”

Others involved in the scheme also responded over the last few days. Some seemed to confirm at least some aspects of Zamani’s version of events while denying other aspects.

Kenney says no cheating took place

Prior to Sunday’s Tweet, Kenney hadn’t been heard from since the allegations. However, Doug Polk noted that he’d received a legal threat from Kenney before interviewing Zamani on his podcast.

“Bryn Kenney has threatened me with legal action by his attorneys if misinformation is spread and it negatively affects him,” Polk noted on Twitter.

Despite that, Polk went forward with the interview. Along with cheating and collusion allegations, other bizarre details emerged last week. Zamani said Kenney made players see psychics when not playing well.

Players in his “stable” also were told to see a shaman and some experienced what is called the “the Kambo.” The procedure is described as a South American healing ritual. The poisonous secretions of the giant monkey frog are injected into a subject’s body.

Zamani said those in the poker group who underwent the procedure became violently ill. He also alleged Kenney was operating his stable as if he were a cult leader.

In his Tweet on Sunday, Kenney didn’t respond to any of those accusations specifically.

Another player mentioned in the alleged scheme responds to accusations

Kenney wasn’t the only player involved in the allegations to respond to Zamani’s charges over the last few days. Lauren Roberts was singled out as allowing Kenney to “ghost” her play.

That means another player is coaching and helping a player during a final table with direct influence on that player’s decisions on individual hands. Zamani also accused Kenney of playing online using Roberts’ account.

Roberts responded on Twitter and expressed regret at her involvement with Kenney. She also shared text messages with Kenney. Some of those included attempts to gaslight Roberts for money apparently owed to him.

Roberts said Kenney continued badgering her to play poker despite her attempts to leave the stable. 

“Then he gets abusive, it’s pathological,” she noted. “When I’d say I wasn’t playing any more, he’d come up with a new scheme. He’d send me a ‘free roll.’ Prior to the last losing streak in 2019, he told me I’d give me half of Sergi’s stake to finance the play because he needed me to play.”

Along with the gaslighting allegations, Roberts seemed to confirm some of the multi-accounting and ghosting allegations.

“I’ve been in finance/poker a long time, I’m not stupid,” Roberts “That’s how I knew he played my account (besides ‘coaching’ me while I played) because one day he told me I ‘won’ a tournament and magically our number went down. But I also witnessed ghosting, collusion with other accounts too.”

Additionally, Roberts alleged Kenney solicited money to start his own online poker company. He promised “100x” a player’s investment.

“When he and GG fell out,” she notes, “he decided to develop his own poker site and did a capital raise for it, which is another potential shit storm.”

‘Sergi’ comes forward, denies cheating allegations

The name “Sergi” surfaced in Zamani’s allegations and also in Roberts’ response. That name refers to Sergi Reixach, a poker pro listed by Hendon Mob as born in Girona, Spain, and now living in England. He’s also a regular on the Las Vegas high roller scene.

Zmani alleged Reixach was a major part of the ghosting and multi-accounting scheme. In a statement posted on Saturday to Twitter, however, Reixach denied some of those charges.

He argued that he indeed helped Zamani in a final table, but only offered general ideas and not direct advice on hand-by-hand play.

“The accusations of a ghosting scheme are completely false,” Reixach said in the statement.

When it came to using RTA (real-time assistance software), Reixach denied that but did confirm he was banned by GGPoker in 2020. He said that came from using “preflop charts” however, rather than RTA.

Reixach also denied collusion among himself and other Spanish pros. He said Zamani has threatened him and has a vendetta against him, even posting messages from Zamani where he said, “Hope you die.” 

Reixach also denied participating in any kind of shaman rituals, but did offer a bit of regret to some involvement.

“In hindsight, I know I made some mistakes and should act differently,” he said. “But it is more than clear that Martin is throwing false accusations at me.”

For his part, Zamani remains confident he did the right thing coming forward, no matter what it does to his own reputation.

“First time I’ve ever been happy about something I’ve done,” he noted last week. “Whatever the consequences for my parts played.”

Accusations also made against GGPoker

Zamani and Roberts also singled out GGPoker. They allege the company allowed Kenney to bring in players in return for a fee.

This involved being the pivot man in paying out these players with all money funneled through him.

“Remember, there was no way to get money in and out of GG, it all went through Bryn, paid in cash, crypto, chips,” Roberts noted on Twitter.

USPoker reached out to GGPoker for comment on Monday. A company representative responded that the company wouldn’t have a comment on the controversy.

Players react to controversy

Along with allegations against Kenney last week, Ali Imsirovic was also accused of cheating, collusion, and multi-accounting as well in a separate case. Imsirovic has yet to respond to those allegations by fellow high roller Alex Foxen.

Many felt that the accusations not only tarnish those involved, but also the online poker industry as a whole. Some players feel poker sites should do more to out players banned for cheating. That included poker pro Chance Kornuth.

Partypoker ambassador Patrick Leonard argued that these types of RTA issues mostly affect those at the highest stakes. He believed those at lower stakes shouldn’t really have these concerns.

“For those small/mid-stakes players worried about RTA, I understand the fear you will have after the last four or five days, but people at high stakes use RTA to go from a 1% to a 3% ROI (return on investment),” he noted. “Pros at low/mid – stakes have closer to 15-25% ROIs where the price (reduction of tables) would not be worth it.”

Others simply believe these types of scandals have a huge negative impact on the game overall.

Veronica Brill was one of the first to accuse Mike Postle of cheating in 2018. She believes too often, those involved in cheating or unethical behavior don’t see many real consequences.

“Postle cheated on a live stream in a casino and nothing happened,” she notes. “The DOJ (Department of Justice) came to my house with a paper note pad and a pencil. They are in no way capable of investigating high tech poker cheating, let alone using web scraping or data to understand online cheating.”

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