Mike Postle, Alleged Live Stream Poker CheaterEvery poker room has a local hero. I remember when I first started dealing and there was a guy that played in the $10-$25 PLO game who once made the casino a loser for the day because he beat the high-limit blackjack tables for so much. He was the local hero for a while.

I myself was a bit of a local hero in the private games that I dealt and played in the Fort Worth area after I came back with a World Series of Poker bracelet many years ago. My poker room had a regular make the final table of the WSOP this year, and he was a hero for a while.

They come and go in cycles, and they each spend some time at the top of the heap. Eventually, they all fall off, except for a chosen few who make it to the biggest games and the highest stakes tournaments, and then they’re branded local heroes for life.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about a man named Mike Postle, who has been a local hero at Northern California’s Stones Gambling Hall for quite some time now. He’s now taken his fall, it seems, but that tall pedestal that his local room put him on is partially responsible for how long it took for people to see the truth.

In case you’ve been in a coma for the last week, you can catch up on the story here, here, and here.

First, let me say that if Postle is guilty of cheating, it’s entirely his moral failing (and any potential accomplices), that is causing all of the hardship to those affected by this situation, namely those who lost a estimated combined $250,000.

I’m not interested in litigating all of the facts of the case regarding his alleged cheating. If you want to form your own opinion, there are threads on internet forums, Twitter sleuths, spreadsheets, YouTube videos, and all kinds of other things out there. Joey Ingram and Doug Polk’s YouTube videos have been useful to watch to get a grasp of what’s going on.

That said, I think it’s important to figure out how we got this far down the road (15 months, supposedly) without anyone speaking out about the way some of these hands were played.

Veronica Brill at the WSOPThe people in the commentary booth during the streams started seeing some crazy hands that Mike Postle played, but somehow were not skeptical. They didn’t think there were seeing anything nefarious, just some good old-fashioned soul-reading. They had their local hero and they had to pump him up to hype their live streams, to feel better about losing to this guy, or possibly because they just don’t understand poker and math on a level that would make Postle’s winning suspicious.

There was one person, however, that made this connection. She took notice of how weird things looked in this game, and she brought it up to management. Keep in mind, this was her employer, and the host of her game, yet she didn’t hesitate to rock the boat. If there’s a local hero in this situation, it’s Veronica Brill.

On her last appearance on Stones Live Poker, Brill saw a hand that really started to make her think. You can see her on the broadcast, shaking her head and saying, “It doesn’t make sense. It’s like he knows. It doesn’t make sense.”

While the guy next to her is laying it on thick about how great a poker player Postle is, able to make incredibly-timed bets and raises when ahead, and some near-miraculous folds when he’s behind. He’s busy sucking up to local hero Mike Postle, when he should be as suspicious as the real local hero sitting next to him, Veronica.

To be fair, I understand the urge to idolize someone who has such incredible results. I understand the impulse to think someone that you’ve known for a long time can’t be capable of something so immoral as cheating in a poker game. Money and fame, even on a local level like Postle was experiencing as the hero for a year or so, is hard to pass up. It feels nice to have people think of you as the best player in the room. Money is helpful for all kinds of things. Mike mentioned in his defense that he’s a single father, and I personally can’t think of very many things I wouldn’t do in order to take care of my kids. So, I get where someone who has just a little bit less of a connection with right and wrong could justify his cheating.

It’s a real testament to Brill’s character that she had the ability to resist that temptation to idolize the local hero, and instead blow the whistle on something that looked wrong. Doing so actually made life more difficult for her in her local circles no doubt, with the backlash she received from Postle’s defenders.

Those of us who are outside of the Stones Gambling Hall community, however, have seen what she has done and we appreciate it. Allow me to give a big thank you to the poker community’s current local hero, Veronica Brill.




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