Players Outraged as Cheater Allowed to Play in WPT Championship
By Ian Hiaring, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
The World Poker Tour is wrapping up its ninth season with the WPT World Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, but the buzz this year isn’t about the turnout, which is higher than expected. Instead, several players are voicing strong opposition to the appearance of a player who was disqualified from a European tournament for cheating last year.
Ali Tekintamgac qualified for the WPT World Championship event by winning the WPT Spanish Championship in Barcelona last May. Later in the year Tekintamgac continued his hot streak by final tabling the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event. Before final table play even began, tournament officials determined that he was using fake bloggers and members of the media to peek at other players’ hole cards and to signal back to Tekintamgac.
When Tekintamgac showed up to play this past weekend at the WPT World Championship, it caused quite a stir from a few players.
Daniel Negreanu voiced his concerns with a series of Twitter posts:
Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst aired her concerns as well and went as far as asking for an explanation from WPT Executive Tournament Director Matt Savage:
According to Negreanu’s Twitter feed, there was some sort of a confrontation between Tekintamgac and Scott Seiver as the tournament was being played on Sunday. Seated with Tekintamgac to start the day, Seiver brought up his shady past and apparently Tekintamgac threatened Seiver (although we’re not sure of the exact nature of the threat). The floor was called, but no penalties were handed out.
You can take a look at video footage of Tekintamgac’s final hand from the WPT Spanish Championship last year. In it you can clearly see a media member standing behind Tekintamgac’s opponent looking down as he was squeezing his cards, and for a split second before the camera pans away, he looks at Tekintamgac and raises his hand up.
Was this cheating? We’ll let you be the judge of that. Keep in mind, Tekintamgac wasn’t disqualified from that WPT event, he was kicked out of a tournament over four months later for using tactics that are similar to what appears on the YouTube clip.
The WPT World Championship might just become even more interesting if Ali Tekintamgac manages to make a deep run. We’ll stay on top of it and keep you posted.
UPDATE: Tekintamgac was crippled by Doyle Brunson today and busted shortly thereafter in 31st place, four spots short of the money. A funny Twitter post from dirtlad, “If you want something done right, send a Texan”.