Alleged WSOP Cheater Denies Claims

Valeriu CocaJust yesterday, reports surfaced that several poker players of the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship of the World Series of Poker believed a fellow participant had been marking cards. The alleged player is Valeriu Coca, who now denies any wrongdoing during the tournament.

Several news outlets have covered the cheating allegations and have attempted to contact Coca for information on the matter. PokerNews was able to speak with the poker pro with the help of an interpreter during game play at the Rio Convention Center. Coca was at the tables in the Pavilion Room taking part in cash gaming when he denied the allegations, saying it is ‘fantasy’ and the player who lost are good so they do not feel they could lose to him.

In the WSOP tournament, Coca was able to defeat five players before he was beat by the eventual event winner, Keith Lehr. After losing to Coca, Connor Drinan took to the forums at TwoPlusTwo to discuss his feelings. It is a big deal to call out a player as cheating but Drinan seemed to have information and others to back up his claims.

Each player who lose in the event to Coca, Drinan, Matt Marafioti, Aaron Mermelstein, Pratyush Buddiga and Bryon Kaverman, noticed the player acting strangely. He would stare at the cards intently and even began playing in a passive manner only to become majorly aggressive later on. Coca seemed to make all the right moves to move forward in the competition.

After the players discussed what had happened, they approached officials of the WSOP and an investigation has begun. After preliminary efforts, the WSOP did announce they have not been able to find any evidence to support the cheating allegations. Involved in the investigation are:

WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel

WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart

The poker players suggested that perhaps Coca was using an invisible ink to make markings on the cards, which only he could see with special glasses. According to Palansky, no such markings have been found as of yet. The investigation continues and the WSOP has stated they will be taking great care to make sure every avenue is taken to ensure the tournament was legitimately conducted.

According to Coca, the WSOP did not inform him of an investigation and that he had already collected his prize money for fifth place, of $54,545. Coca stated he does not know how what the players are saying could have taken place and that he has no way of marking cards or doing any other tricks. The player is aware of the accusations in the poker forums and claims the posts are in poor taste, not having any personal etiquette towards him.

Coca stated it is not gentlemanly to lose and cry foul. He says the players are not gentlemen since they lost and claim that he must have cheated. He feels the other poker players are just looking for a way to explain how they could have lost after being such strong players.

According to other reports, the poker player has been banned in the past for marking cards. Reportedly, the Ambassador Casino caught Coca marking cards in the past and he has been banned from major casinos for taking part in the activity. It is interesting to point out this portion of the story. If he was banned in the past for the activity, who is to say he did not attempt the same activity during the WSOP. More information should be released on the subject in the coming weeks as the WSOP concludes their investigation.