It’s taken me a few days to get my head fully around the cheating episode that unfolded during an episode of the “Hustler Casino Live” poker livestreamed cash game a week or so ago. One would think that in this day and age, poker players would know better than to cheat in front of the cameras, but waving a little money around brings out the worst sort of stupid in at least a few players.
February’s poster child for stupidity in the livestreamed poker era goes to a (former) Hustler player nicknamed “Skillsrocks”, who progressed from continuous angle-shooting to outright cheating over the course of a three-hour “Hustler Casino Live“ cash-game session. (Skillsrocks’s full real name wasn’t publicly revealed at first, though more recent reports name him as Julio Cedillo.)
There’s usually a specific target in this sort of scammy affair, and the target here was the player on Skillsrocks’s immediate left, well-known L.A. cash-game player Barry Wallace. Wallace has been a frequent player on this stream, and he’s a talkative sort — the type of player that makes for a good livestream.
But there was a problem; Wallace wasn’t protecting his cards when he peered at them every hand, and Skillsrocks figured it out, then began casting aside glances to check on whatever cards Wallace opened up. This isn’t strictly cheating, per se; it’s a form of angle-shooting called rubbernecking, and though it’s not strictly illegal, it’s scummy, frowned-upon poker behavior. It’ll get a player disinvited from most games. And yet here was Skillsrocks, peeking at Wallace’s cards, and doing it in full view of the stream’s primary camera.
As if it only stopped there. Perhaps emboldened by the pots he was stealing away from Wallace — or not getting too deep into when he knew he was behind — he crossed over into outright cheating. At one point, Wallace took off his sunglasses and set them down behind his stacked chips, but in a spot where they intruded upon Skillsrocks’s view of Wallace’s hole cards. Not to be deterred, Skillsrocks waited until Wallace’s attention was diverted the other way, then reached over and pulled Wallace’s glasses to the rail and out of of Skillsrocks’s line of view.
The hand of shame
And then there was the hand that removed all doubt. In the hand, Wallace filled a gutshot straight, and likely expected a big payoff. But Skillsrocks folded two pair, when he’d shown no ability whatsoever to fold two pair on a garbage board to that point. But there was much worse: there was a third player in the hand, on Skillsrocks’s right, Antonio “SoFlo” Lievano, another regular player on the stream.
Aware that Lievano was considering going all in against Wallace’s straight, Skillsrocks kicked Lievano under the table. (Skillsrocks apparently liked Lievano much more than he did Wallace.) Lievano was shocked at being kicked — he wasn’t in on Skillsrocks’s angle — and he ended up getting his chips in anyway, losing a huge pot to Wallace.
Then, seemingly in an attempt to prove to Wallace what a soul reader he was, Skillsrocks searched the muck and pulled out two cards, presumably Wallace’s, then ran off the set to confront him. He was turned back around by Hustler casino staff and the game continued. Meanwhile, the live chat accompanying the stream was abuzz with cheating allegations.
Skillsrocks banned from Hustler over cheating
The cheating soon resulted in at least one separate video being made. YouTuber Alex Duvall edited down the raw three-hour Hustler livestream and published a much shorter version, with commentary, highlighting several instances of Skillsrocks Cedillo’s angle-shooting and cheating, including the big hand involving Wallace’s made straight.
By the next day, Hustler’s brass appeared to have learned of the situation. The livestream’s producer first posted a comment on Duvall’s edited video, informing the public that Cedillo had been disinvited from any future appearances on the poker stream. The show’s producer, Nick Vertucci, wrote:
“Our official comment is as follows.
“Our announcers and production team is not focused on watching if players are looking over at other players cards (especially if very subtle ) they are producing and commentating. And all players are responsible to protect their cards.
“With that said, considering the review of the game and the accusations and all the other off color antics, he will not be invited back to our show.”
Later, that livestream ban was expanded to include the entire Hustler Casino property. The stream, which has its own Twitter account, posted a longer, more formal statement as follows:
So, exit Skillsrocks. He’ll have a hard time finding a seat at any poker game for a long time. He’s lucky that California gambling law makes it unlikely that he’d be facing any sort of charges for his cheating and unethical behavior.
Wallace talks about incidents on later stream
The story doesn’t quite end there. It was the first order of business on the next episode of “Hustler Casino Live”, which was streamed just a couple of days later. Wallace was again on hand, being a popular player, plus his presence after the Skillsrocks affair was sure to generate plenty of views. This follow-up stream is available here, also on YouTube,
Wallace wasted little time talking about Cedillo’s behavior, though he quickly acknowledged his own shortcomings in not protecting his hands. Talking mostly to the player on his left, Garrett Adelstein, who is also one of the stream’s organizers, Wallace said, “I was one hundred percent responsible for protecting my hand as a player. One hundred percent. I own all of that. But motherf****** leaning over you on purpose, kicking other people, that’s the cheating part.
“The cheating part isn’t what he did, he didn’t cheat when he looked,” Wallace added. “I’m responsible for my own hand. The cheating part is when he kicked the other dude and was addressing him trying to tell him to fold when I had the straight.”
Adelstein continued to let Wallace vent about the situation over the next several minutes. “The idiot was looking at my hand, he was purposefully leaning back, trying to get into my hand,” Wallace continued. “That’s the cheating part. So I don’t mind what he did, it’s part of the game. I should have been smarter and I should have held my hand better. I should have protected better, so I’m responsible for that. But him? He’s responsible for being a [expletive].”
A couple of minutes later, Wallace went into detail and even reenactted how Cedillo reached across and dragged Wallace’s sunglasses to the rail to clear Cedillo’s view. That drew several more moments of wrath in Wallace’s retelling, including a couple of more “motherf*****” descriptives. The Hustler stream is well known for its colorful language, so readers should be aware of that as well. Both the cheating episode and the follow-up with Wallace’s comments are often a bit blue.
Featured image source: Hustler Casino Live / YouTube