Robbi Jade Lew tells her side of the poker cheating scandal

Robbi Jade Lew is decided to end up the $120,000 ruby ring on her heart finger does now not vibrate, isn’t concealing a tiny digicam and was once now not another way tampered with to lend a hand her win a debatable Texas Hold ’Em hand closing week that has long past viral and rocked the poker global.

Same is going for the meant bulge in the side of her Versace leggings, which on-line conspiracy theorists posit may have been hiding an digital tool that was once feeding her knowledge from an companion. The Hustler Casino chair she was once sitting in has additionally been scrutinized, as have her $480 rose-tinted Fendi sun shades.

She denies all of it — and has invited me to a Beverly Hills jeweler in her quest to transparent her call.

“People are saying, ‘She did it for fame; she did it for money.’ I didn’t need the money, so that’s hilarious,” stated Lew, 37. As for status, “I obviously look a certain fake Hollywood way. If I wanted to be famous, there are far easier ways to do it than this.”

The former biopharmaceuticals account supervisor from Pacific Palisades was once quite unknown on the poker circuit prior to the cheating scandal. She discovered to play 4 years in the past, to start with selecting up a “Poker for Dummies” e-book prior to having her husband educate her the fundamentals.

They started taking part in frequently right through the pandemic, internet hosting video games with family and friends so that you can move the lengthy days at house. Realizing she had a knack for it, Lew employed two big-name poker coaches and became absolutely to the recreation this spring, touring to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker and taking part in in smaller tournaments and money video games there and round Southern California.

On Sept. 29, Lew gave the impression for the 3rd time on “Hustler Casino Live,” a well-liked YouTube poker display with 183,000 subscribers that streams from the Gardena on line casino 5 nights every week. The high-stakes desk incorporated Garrett Adelstein, a 2013 “Survivor” contestant and one of L.A.’s very best skilled poker gamers; since “Hustler Casino Live” started streaming 14 months in the past, he has turn out to be one of its regulars and the face of the display.

A wild hand between the two ensued a pair of hours into the circulation, which was once broadcast on a extend to stop gamers from getting tipped off in actual time (they’re additionally required to show over their telephones, smartwatches and some other digital units).

A woman standing in an upscale jewelry store

Robbi Jade Lew desires to inform her side of the tale.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Adelstein was once retaining the seven and 8 of golf equipment; Lew the jack of golf equipment and the 4 of hearts. After the flop — the first 3 communal playing cards — Adelstein had a instantly flush draw, a hand with so much of doable to win. Lew’s hand at that time was once objectively horrible, however she referred to as his wager anyway.

The fourth communal card, referred to as the flip, didn’t lend a hand both participant. Adelstein semi-bluffed and wager out once more; Lew re-raised. Adelstein spoke back via pushing all in for the the rest of Lew’s chips: $109,000.

Lew referred to as — an incredibly unorthodox transfer that paid off. She took down the large $269,000 pot when Adelstein did not support his hand in spite of everything the playing cards had been dealt.

The result surprised audience, the leisure of the desk and Adelstein, who seemed dumbfounded and was once speechless for greater than 90 seconds after Lew published her hand.

“I’ll just say it: Garrett thinks that this hand was not straight in some way — there’s no doubt about it,” commentator Bart Hanson instructed the greater than 20,000 audience who had been tuned in on YouTube. “This is the most disturbed I’ve ever seen Garrett look.”

After an off-camera dialog amongst the two gamers and a manufacturer, Lew gave Adelstein again part the pot, additional elevating suspicions; Lew says she was once cornered into returning the cash “to alleviate the stress of the situation” and regrets the resolution.

I’m now not worried about any of this. I’ve not anything to cover, you understand? I believe like if I keep quiet and let the global get a hold of their very own tales and their very own storyline, that for me mentally is extra destructive than popping out and talking my very own piece.

— Robbi Jade Lew

That night time, in a long commentary posted on Twitter, Adelstein reasoned that Lew by no means would have persevered taking part in with the playing cards she had except she was once cheating, and stated he was once suspicious of what he characterised as her ever-changing “word salad explanations” in a while. Lew stated she misinterpret her playing cards, pondering she had a couple of threes as an alternative of jack excessive, however maintains she outplayed him however.

Adelstein, 36, declined to remark additional when reached Wednesday night time, however stated “that may certainly change at some point.”

The fallout has infected the poker neighborhood, which has been burned via a lot of cheating operations in casinos and on-line poker rooms over the years. It’s additionally the newest in a string of high-profile cheating scandals just lately, together with at the easiest ranges of chess and in aggressive fishing.

Pros and informal gamers round the global have weighed in, dissecting Lew’s frame language (was once she tapping her hands and twisting her ruby ring as a secret sign or simply fidgeting?), the garments she was once dressed in (was once that “bulge” in her leggings one thing nefarious or a trick of the gentle?), the chair she was once sitting in (was once it vibrating at a a very powerful second or was once she shaking her leg underneath the desk?) and her inconsistent statements about why she performed the means she did (was once she looking to quilt her tracks or just flustered when wondered?).

“Essentially she played a very bad hand in a way that suggested she could see her opponent’s hole cards,” stated poker professional Matt Berkey, who runs a well known poker training academy. “Her hand was so bad that the worst player in the world wouldn’t want to put any money into the pot.”

That stated, “it’s still very difficult for me to wrap my head around how they would have pulled this off,” he added. “I don’t have a great degree of confidence one way or another.”

Lew supporters say it’s a vintage instance of sexism during which a outstanding guy is not able to take care of dropping to a much less skilled lady. Meanwhile detractors have delved into her non-public lifestyles, wondering her wealth, her courting with her lawyer-entrepreneur husband, and her monetary preparations with her poker backers (Lew purchased $240,000 in chips prior to the display began, the usage of cash that was once staked via every other participant at the desk).

Robbi Jade Lew

Robbi Jade Lew denies that she cheated in closing week’s poker recreation, pronouncing she misinterpret her playing cards however however outplayed her opponent.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Now the manufacturing corporate in the back of “Hustler Casino Live” has introduced an investigation that comes to combing thru safety digicam photos, undertaking interviews and reviewing data. It stated it will ask Lew and its personal staff to post to polygraph checks.

An interior breach can be extraordinarily destructive for the display, which pulls greater than 1 million distinctive audience a month.

“We take the allegations very seriously and understand anything is possible,” High Stakes Poker Productions stated in a commentary Saturday. “This investigation will be extremely detailed and may take considerable time to complete. Once the investigation is finished, we will release the findings publicly — no matter what they reveal. It’s important for us to reinforce that we have found no evidence of wrongdoing by anyone at this point.”

The corporate printed the first of its findings Thursday afternoon, precisely every week after the hand, pronouncing it had found out that one of its personal staff had stolen $15,000 in chips from Lew’s stack after the broadcast had ended. It stated the worker was once fired and Lew declined to press fees.

Within hours, contributors of the poker neighborhood had been speculating that Lew’s resolution not to pursue the case generally is a signal that she and the fired worker have been illicitly running in combination. Some who have been on her side stated on social media that they’d modified their minds.

“Although more information will soon come to light, I want to clarify I harbor no ill will towards anyone, especially those who have reconsidered their position,” Adelstein, who lives in Manhattan Beach, tweeted Thursday night time.

Of the newest rumors, Lew texted past due Thursday: “Yea that’s insane.”

Lew arrived for our lunch in Beverly Hills 45 mins past due, pulling as much as the valet of Ocean Prime in a black matte Tesla. She defined that she’d been behind schedule via a frame language and behaviour skilled who had contacted her, providing to behavior an research of her look on the poker circulation.

“It’s just so crazy because I’ve been so private,” she stated after ordering a double cappuccino. “No one’s really dug that deep into my world.”

Lew stated she was once born in Saudi Arabia to a health care provider mom and physicist father. She and her circle of relatives — she additionally has an an identical dual sister and a more youthful brother — immigrated to Berkeley when she was once 5 and later moved to Orinda, a old fashioned East Bay town close by. She stated she attended UC Santa Barbara, double majoring in legislation and society and philosophy, and were given married a decade in the past to Charles Lew.

“My husband is a very successful man. You can Google him,” Lew stated over the telephone the day prior to, the name on occasion interrupted via the barking of her two 7-year-old Shih Tzus, Xena and Ninja.

“He has a massive law firm called the Lew Firm. He’s an owner-partner in several bars, restaurants and a hotel or two. He’s the No. 1 metaverse lawyer in the nation as well as a professor at Loyola Law School. He teaches a metaverse class every week. This is a man who does have bankroll. I don’t know why money surprises people. I guess it’s because most people don’t have it.”

Lew, who stated her pursuits come with type and effective jewellery, intentionally rewore a lot of her poker night time outfit to lunch: the identical lengthy, glittery necklaces, the identical black Louis Vuitton sling bag and Prada wedge booties, the identical seven-carat ruby ring.

“Isn’t it stunning? It’s to die,” she stated, extending her hands — accented via slender oval-shaped olive inexperienced acrylic nails — throughout the desk to sing their own praises the stone. “I’m like jewelry-obsessed. And then I have this tourmaline one on. I have all these diamond bands that I wear. Black diamonds. And this is rose gold.”

Lew requested to satisfy right here for a selected function. She’d made a midafternoon appointment subsequent door at Kazanjian, a storied 109-year-old jeweler that had lent her the ring the day prior to the poker recreation. She sought after the retailer to scrupulously investigate cross-check the piece for anything else suspicious, a procedure she was once making plans to report on her iPhone so she may percentage it later with her social media fans.

Lew spoke freely and abruptly about what came about at Hustler. Her chair gave the impression to vibrate, she stated, as a result of she was once hungover and had forgotten to take her ADHD meds, inflicting her to shake her leg. She didn’t have anything else in her leggings apart from for her mic pack in the again; the obvious oblong bulge was once simply glare from the on line casino lighting fixtures. Having every other participant at the desk stake her isn’t towards the laws and he or she’s now not obligated to disclose the phrases of the deal (she stated she and her backers in most cases break up her earnings 50-50).

“I’m not nervous about any of this. I have nothing to hide, you know?” she stated. “I feel like if I stay quiet and let the world come up with their own stories and their own storyline, that for me mentally is more detrimental than coming out and speaking my own piece.”

Lew is mystified via the flood of consideration — fanatics DMing her from “every friggin’ country,” daylight communicate presentations asking her to be a visitor, manufacturers achieving out with leisure offers — and, although she insists she didn’t need any of this, she turns out intrigued via the probabilities. She has retained a control and public family members staff to lend a hand box requests.

Shortly after 2 p.m., Lew led the option to Kazanjian, a closely guarded jewellery retailer on Camden Drive. Feet clear of the diamond tiara that Madonna wore right through her wedding ceremony to Guy Ritchie and an 888.88-carat $5-million celebrity sapphire named after Angelina Jolie, she offered gallery supervisor Joseph Barrios with the now-infamous ring.

A man inspects a ruby ring

Joseph Barrios, gallery supervisor at Beverly Hills jeweler Kazanjian, inspects the seven-carat ruby ring worn via Robbi Jade Lew right through a debatable poker hand.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

“I don’t see anything that would be considered as a technological add-on to it,” Barrios stated after a couple of moments of inspecting the magenta-hued rock with a loupe magnifier. “It’s insane. Would that have happened to a guy? No.”

Charles Lew was once additionally there, wearing a grey and black camouflage sweatsuit. He has his personal line of jewellery this is offered at the retailer, and got here via to pay for his spouse’s newest acquisition: a customized diamond-encrusted brushed rose gold horseshoe ring to compare the black model she wore on her index finger right through the poker recreation.

Lew have been undecided about whether or not to stay the ruby ring after what came about closing week. But whilst in the retailer, she made up her thoughts.

“I’m also gonna buy that one — I want it,” she stated unexpectedly. “You know why? It’s going to be a good story. I’ll probably wear it on every stream.”

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