Text Message Revelations Add to Cheating Allegations Against Poker Pro Bryn Kenney

May 6, 2022
Text Message Revelations Add to Cheating Allegations Against Poker Pro Bryn Kenney

After recent allegations of cheating against all-time poker money list leader Bryn Kenney, original accuser Martin Zamani released screenshots of conversations with the poker pro this week.

The Telegram conversations, if original, appear to cast doubt on Kenney’s recent denials on Twitter and in media accounts. Zamani, who hasn’t been part of Kenney’s staking stable for two years, has hinted that he has messages confirming many of his accusations. In the conversations released this week, the messages appear to contradict some of Kenney’s recent denials.

The messages are alleged to be with another player in Kenney’s group. They allude to ghosting and multi-accounting, some of Zamani’s original allegations against Kenney.

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Messages appear to show knowledge of cheating

The release of the messages came after Kenney conducted an hour-long interview with PokerNews last week. He denied all allegations against him regarding cheating, ghosting, and multi-accounting.

“I never said, ‘Do what’s best for the team,’” he said in the interview. “Everyone is playing for themselves and their winning and losses are going to affect them. There’s definitely no layer that you’re expected to or supposed to do anything other than play your best game and then it’s up to that person to do whatever that means for them.”

He’s also denied charges against him on his Twitter account as well.

“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,” he noted on April 24. “There is zero evidence of this and everyone who knows me knows it is not true.”

However, the release of the Telegram messages appear to show Kenney discussing ghosting and multi-accounting. If legitimate, the conversations may show Kenney knew about the techniques he’s been accused of and had direct involvement in the scheme.

PokerNews also combed through two years of text messages involving Kenney and some in his stable. The site reported further evidence confirming multi-accounting and ghosting.

Ghosting involves a player helping another while playing online poker. This is a violation of most sites’ terms of service.

Fallout continues from cheating scandals

The new events come to light after cheating has attracted considerable interest from players. Alex Foxen first made cheating allegations against Ali Imsirovic on April 17.

He accused the poker pro of looking at another player’s cards at the US Poker Open, multi-accounting, chip dumping to players he backed, and using RTA. The acronym is for real-time assistance, software banned by most online poker sites.

Allegations from Zamani then surfaced against Kenney only a few days later. Some pros have picked up the mantle to out and punish players involved with cheating.

Poker player and coach Matt Berkey tackled the text messages involving Kenney on his Solve for Why podcast this week. He believes the entire range of messages showed Kenney was involved in a cheating operation to some degree. Berkey believes Kenney hasn’t been honest about his actions.

“A lot of what Bryn said during the PokerNews interview with Sarah (Herring) is just fundamentally false,” Berkey said. “It seems as though there’s a lot more credence to the accusation that Martin is putting forward than there is Bryn’s denial of said accusations. A lot of holes are being poked in his denials.”

Seeking solutions

The recent accusations have many in poker consider possible remedies to punish cheaters. That has ranged from bans by poker sites to an industry-wide blacklist to blocking alleged cheaters at live tournaments.

For his part, Aria director poker operations Sean McCormack reached out to players recently. He noted that efforts are underway within the industry to at least find some solutions.

However, he also noted some of the challenges casinos face in combating the issue.

“From a live operator’s perspective, realize we can’t just bar players for accusations of wrongdoing online or at a different property without definitive proof (and sometimes conviction) of a crime,” he noted. “It’s a slippery slope where we could be held for libel.”

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