Mike Postle and the Dung Beetle: Alleged Cheater Speaks Out on X Space

Dung Beetle

Like lots of people, I’m obsessed with nature documentaries and, last week, I watched a terrific show all about Scarabaeoidea, specifically scarab dung beetles. Most dung beetles search for dung using their keen sense of smell but some members of this particular variety prefer to steal the dung from other beetles. If they are caught, the scarab dung beetles make hasty getaways, after which they roll themselves in the dung.

It was less an interview and more a soapy tit-w*nk

In unrelated news… Mike Postle is back, making a surprise appearance on an X Space, formerly known as a Twitter Space. Host ‘Omar of The OTC’ began his conversation with the alleged cheater on Monday night by throwing a couple of softballs before unleashing an onslaught of sponge balls and ping pong balls. It was less an interview and more a soapy tit-w*nk.

Postle was given ample room to plead his innocence, saying: “Don’t believe everything you hear, just because someone said it on the internet or YouTube.” The cheating accusations against Postle have never been proven in a court of law but compelling evidence of guilt was compiled during a Joe Ingram-led on-air crowd-sourced investigation by the community who combed through all Postle’s televised hands.

Notes on a scandal

In October 2019, Stones Gambling Hall in Sacramento, California cancelled its livestream poker games pending an investigation into cheating allegations made against Postle. The initial public accusation of wrong doing was made by poker commentator Veronica Brill with whom Postle insisted last night that he would like to “debate one-on-one.”

On October 9, 2019, 24 poker players filed a $30m class-action lawsuit against Postle, Stones Gambling Hall, and its poker and livestream manager Justin Kuraitis. However, in June 2020, that lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, citing an arcane California gambling law which states: “Quintessential gambling losses … are barred for recovery by California public policy.”

In September 2020, King’s Casino LLC which owns Stones Gambling Hall offered a settlement which was accepted by some but not all of the plaintiffs. A few weeks later, Postle filed a $330m defamation lawsuit against ESPN, Pokernews, Upswing Poker, Run It Once, Crush Live Poker, Solve For Why, and Poker Coaching, as well as some of the most outspoken members of the poker community, including Ingram, Brill, Phil Galfond, Daniel Negreanu, Jonathan Little, Matt Berkey, and Todd Witteles.

Witteles and Brill filed anti-SLAPP motions to dismiss Postle’s lawsuit

In December 2020 and January 2021, Witteles and Brill filed anti-SLAPP motions to dismiss Postle’s lawsuit, both winning their respective cases in the Summer of 2021. In April 2021, Postle dropped his defamation lawsuit and in September 2021, he filed a motion to avoid involuntary bankruptcy. On January 7, 2022, a line was drawn under the scandal when an involuntary bankruptcy petition was voluntarily dismissed and a confidential settlement was reached in exchange for Brill and Witteles dropping their petition against Postle.

An easy ride

Given how it was left, it is strange that Postle is re-appearing now and stranger still that his chosen medium is an X Space. Perhaps he realized the easy ride he would get from the host who seemed unprepared and uninformed as to the details of the saga.

Postle was allowed to ramble on for hours, controlling the space with virtually no pushback. On numerous occasions he denied the allegations and, at one point, he rebuffed the claims about his specific win-rate in the Stones games. “When the time is right, I’ll be able to prove it,” he claimed.

dangled the possibility of a heads-up interview with Brill

Postle said that the poker community had an “obsession with cheating scandals” and in the same breath alluded to offers that he had received to appear in a documentary about the allegations against him. He then fired some wayward shots at Matt Berkey, moaned about how his life was ruined and dangled the possibility of a heads-up interview with Brill, insisting: “What I want from that is no editing.”

The kleptoparasite

The evidence against Postle may not have satisfied the California courts who lacked the mechanism with which to proceed in the case against him but, regardless, he suffered an abject defeat in the court of public opinion. Predictably then, the community’s response to this interview was scathing for a man who is viewed as a pariah.

Understandably too, Postle being platformed in such a weak way has drawn the ire of the community, not least from Brill herself.

Last week, I learned that the scarab dung beetle is what’s known as a kleptoparasite. Deliberately stealing food from another within its own species is actually its feeding strategy and even when there is an abundance of dung, it still prefers to thieve from another. It can also bury dung 250 times its own mass in one night.

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