5 Poker Cheaters Who Are Still Allowed To Play

5 Poker Cheaters Who Are Still Allowed To Play

In the old days, players on this list would be lucky to escape with their lives for the actions they’ve committed. However, in today’s forgiving poker climate, these 5 cheaters and con artists are still allowed to play like the rest of us.

Poker has come a long way.  Once relegated to old west saloons and underground clubs, the game now enjoys a mainstream following and celebrated place in many cultures worldwide.  This of course is a great thing in many ways, however as the game has become more ‘civilized’ there is one huge downside: It’s no longer socially acceptable to deliver ‘cheater’s justice’ to those caught bending the rules in their favor.


In the old days, players on this list would be lucky to escape with their lives for the actions they’ve committed.  However, in today’s forgiving poker climate, these 5 cheaters and con artists are still allowed to play like the rest of us.

Phil Hellmuth

Just kidding.  Hellmuth has never been accused of cheating in any way, and I’m NOT accusing him now.  However, I believe he deserves an honorary spot on any list of poker villains because of his disrespectful and outright abusive behavior toward dealers and other players as well as his ludicrous and fraudulent claim of being ‘the best player in the world’.  While he has never cheated, he does go around calling himself ‘the best in the world’, which is not only false but disrespectful to players with real skill.  It is also worth noting that Hellmuth was the primary ambassador for Ultimate Bet, the online site in which board members used a ‘god mode’ in order to steal money from players by seeing their hole cards.  Hellmuth claims to be able to ‘see into people’s souls’ and on numerous occasions has claimed that ‘he can’t be fooled’.  However, on the subject of the Ultimate Bet scam, he pleads ignorance and claims to have no knowledge or involvement.  So which one is it Phil, are you a thief or a fraud?

Men Nguyen

Photo Source: https://www.pokernews.com/poker-players/men-nguyen/

Men is a notorious and well known cheater in poker circles.  He is known to stake other players with the agreement that they must always let him win when they play hands together.  But worst of all, Men is suspected to have a run a tournament chip stealing operation.  While nothing has ever been completely proven, it is worth noting that Men has been called out by multiple prominent high stakes professionals for his cheating ways.  Daniel Negreanu has openly called Nguyen a cheater and Justin Bonomo has made even stronger claims.  According to Bonomo,  in the early 2000’s at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles Men and a few of his ‘horses’ (players that he stakes) were in their hotel room when the fire alarm went off.  When hotel staff entered their room, they found a suitcase full of tournament chips.  In addition to this incident, most people who have known Men describe him as a rude and horrible human who abuses dealers and his opponents.  Despite the allegations as well as being one of the most hated people in poker, Nguyen was still inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame and is still welcome in cardrooms around the world.

Annie Duke

Photo Source: https://www.cardschat.com/news/annie-duke-host-poker-ball-hank-azaria-32581

Annie is one of the most hated people in poker.  But don’t take my word for it, listen to what poker pros Jason Dewitt and Daniel Negreanu have to say on the subject:

While never being directly implicated as a cheater, Duke has three major strikes against her:

  • She was an endorser and sponsored player for ‘Ultimate Bet’ during the greatest scandal in online poker history. In 2008 it was discovered that former WSOP champion and site owner Russ Hamilton had stolen more than $50 million by playing on the site with a so-called ‘god mode’ which allowed him to see his opponent’s cards! Hamilton implicated Duke as well, claiming that she also used the ‘god mode’, albeit on a 15-minute delay.
  • She was commissioner for the Epic Poker League which promised players entry into a $1 million freeroll tournament if they met certain playing requirements. However, right before the tournament was to take place the EPL declared bankruptcy and never paid out the $1million.  What’s worse is that Duke still received her full $300,000 yearly salary.
  • She is the sister of the worst villain in poker history, the human pile of excrement that calls itself Howard Lederer.

Annie doesn’t play much poker these days (mostly because she’s not very good and never was), but she’s still free to do so despite the allegations against her.

Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar

Photo Source: https://www.cardschat.com/news/howard-lederer-appearance-negreanu-phof-induction-causes-stir-8077

Again, I’ll start by letting Daniel Negreanu explain this one:

These three men were the owners of Full Tilt Poker.  In 2011 when Full Tilt was shut down by the US Department of Justice, it was discovered that the 3 of them had stolen an estimated $443 million in funds that belonged to the players on their site.  They are universally hated in the poker world and rightfully so.  As you’ve seen in the video above, some poker pros believe they deserve ‘mafia style’ justice and almost everyone agrees they should be in jail.  Somehow, all three managed to avoid jail time and Ferguson and Lederer avoided being charged altogether.  Bitar was criminally charged but escaped jail time due to having a heart transplant and has recently gotten married.  Lederer and Ferguson made their returns to poker this year, playing in the WSOP to the disgust of the poker world.

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