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Thread: Valeriu Coca, who finished 5th in $10k WSOP Heads Up tournament, accused of card marking

  1. #1
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Valeriu Coca, who finished 5th in $10k WSOP Heads Up tournament, accused of card marking

    Quote Originally Posted by Connor Drinan
    We (the players that were beaten by this Valeriu Coca guy in the $10k HU) were trying to keep things quiet until we gave the WSOP adequate time to investigate the situation and come up with a solution, but since there are a lot of rumors circulating and a lot of people know bits and pieces already, I might as well clear things up.

    Pratyush Buddiga was the first to lose to him. He is my good friend but seemed pretty tilted so I didn't ask details until I found out he was my next opponent. I asked for reads and whatnot and he basically told me he was really slow and passive in the beginning and then picked up the pace as the match went on as far as speed of play and aggression. He thought he was stalling in the beginning to give himself a better shot to win at a higher blind level. He said he would stall by rechecking his cards at a bunch of different angles when it was clear he made up his mind to fold already.

    He did the same thing in my match. For the first 10 hands or so, he folded to most of my button opens and either limped or folded the button (doing the same obnoxious card checking tactics). I was thinking "man this guy is going to be a breeze." From that point on I won very few pots the rest of the match. Every time I had a good starting hand he folded. If I had a bad one he raised or re-raised. If I whiffed a flop he attacked my c-bets. If I whiffed and went for a delayed cbet, he blasted turn into me every time. If I hit and bet, he folded. Hit and checked, he checked ect ect ect.

    It was probably the most frustrating match of my life and I've played a ton of HU. He grinded me down to 80k at bb4k from 240k starting. At this point I was playing super passive as his aggression was out of control. I made my first button raise in a while which was a shove with 33 and he snapped me with k5o for 20bb. I held and won my only significant pot of the match but he went back to work grinding me down to 60k and then won a flip to end the match.

    I remember him folding 4 times total preflop once blinds got big. 1) He walked me when I had AA. 2) he folded to my min when I had AJs. 3) I capped my cards and waited for him to look at his cards first for the first time in the match as I was starting to get really skeptical. He acted surprised and flustered and walked me before I uncovered my hand. 4) After checking my hole cards (J9o i think) I looked behind me to see if there was a chance he had a friend on the rail who could see my cards but there was no way. He seemed very weirded out that I did that and again walked me.

    I stormed out of the rio as tilted as I've ever been after busting a tournament and immediately messaged prat saying I felt like something major was off with the match. It didn't make sense that a guy grinding 300 euro mtts in eastern europe who has never played WSOP before would come here for the $10k HU and be such a beast. I ranted to Prat all the things that were weird, both mannerisms and plays he made vs me. Prat said he felt the exact same about his match but didn't say anything at first because he figured he was just being a sore loser and got owned. I then messaged the other 2 players he beat, Matt Marafioti and Aaron Mermelstein and they both had similar "yeah i felt totally owned, couldn't win a pot, thing he was doing with his cards was really weird, ect" type responses.

    I called my other good friend Byron Kaverman and warned him about everything as they were scheduled to play in the round of 16 the next morning. We figured we should also tell Jack Effel so they could be on the lookout. Byron said he knew Jack well so he would talk to him. I went to bed questioning myself and wondering if I was just being a sore loser.

    I then woke up this morning to a message on facebook from a czech friend of mine that read "Hey man just woke up and found out u were in HU with a guy who made a lot of money in cash games in Prague. He has ban in czech poker casinos for cheating. Guy was marking cards. We can talk in person little bit later when Im on sngs in Rio and u can forward it to floors players etc so they can do smtng about it I guess"

    I instantly passed this along to Byron and he said that Jack was on it and they were monitoring him via cameras and also switching up the decks frequently. My friend also sent me this article which you have to translate to english with your broswer: http://www.pokerzive.cz/zpravodajstv...azskych-kasin/

    I spoke with Byron after his match and he said he was 100% sure the guy was trying to cheat and was watching the cards very closely as the dealer dealt off the deck but that he did a pretty good job covering his cards and the decks were being switched up so it was hard for Coca to work his magic. Unfortunately he couldn't fade an 80/20 and the guy advanced. His next opponent, Keith Lehr, was also warned about Coca. At this point, Coca probably knew that he had been exposed based on the attention his matches were receiving from the floor, the way Byron and Keith were protecting their hands so well, ect ect. He finally lost to Keith in 5th place.

    Our speculation is that he was using some sort of invisible ink in combination with special sunglasses. We haven't heard much from WSOP since the match, but what little I have heard I would rather keep to myself for now and allow WSOP time to finish the investigation and make their own statement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pratyush Buddiga
    This is Pratyush and I can confirm everything Connor said. I wasn't sure if I had just been owned by somebody who had a sick game plan coming in or not but as the stories started coalescing, it became pretty clear something fishy was going on.

    To be honest, if Connor and I weren't such good friends it's pretty likely he would've gotten away with it, with each of us (Matt, Aaron, Connor, Byron, and me) wondering to ourselves just exactly what the heck happened.

    Also wanted to add that in addition to all the weird card re-checking and reshuffling (which we did assume was when he was marking them), later on in the match he would often swivel his head in either direction for no apparent reason while the action was on him. Pure speculation is this had something to do with his sunglasses and trying to look at my cards but I'm not really sure. It was very strange at the time and in retrospect, very suspicious.

    The WSOP seems to have taken it very seriously and we're just waiting to see what happens now. Can post more after that.
    http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/29...0k-hu-1537175/

  2. #2
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    A few comments here.

    First off, I really think there should be a cooperative effort of major tournament venues around the world to ban all players who were caught cheating. That is, if you are caught cheating at one poker room, you will be banned from all of them. This would solve the problem of these scumbags hopping from casino to casino in order to keep running the same scam. Or, at the very least, the information of each person banned should be transmitted to all TDs of major venues, and they can decide what to do based upon the reports given.

    Second, while I believe that there's a good chance Coca was really cheating as described, I am wondering why Connor didn't call the floor and ask them to inspect the cards for invisible ink (along with Coca's sunglasses). And if Connor didn't do it in the heat of the moment because he felt foolish, why didn't they nail him on the next match, instead of simply "warning his future opponents"? Seems like they missed a HUGE opportunity to catch this guy in the act.

    Third, what can the WSOP really do at this point? He's already been paid. I suppose they could ban him, but I wouldn't blame the WSOP for staying out of this, as this was reported after the fact when it's impossible to verify (unless video of these matches still exists).

  3. #3
    Not sure I should even post here cause I know what you guys think of me but I was playing the hu when cocoa lost.

    Two things. Before the match pretty much every player gathered together to talk about it. I wasn't privy to any knowledge of what they were talking about till the next round.

    Actually thought they were talking about dee tiller

    From what I was told they never payed cocoa. When there was suspicions thy supposedly frOze his payment but we shall see

  4. #4
    I know that in the casino cameras have filters where they can see this kind of invisible ink, but I doubt they can in what is usually a conference room. I wonder if it is possible to somehow take the footage and apply some sort of program/filter where the ink can be seen after the fact.

    I personally would love to see a ban on sunglasses, but I doubt that is going to happen.

  5. #5
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    2+2 thread already getting terrible, as is par for the course.

    Morons are both defending Coca ("there's no proof") and telling the accuser that he could be "sued for libel" for posting this (LOL).

    Boy that forum sucks.


  6. #6
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesrwood View Post
    Not sure I should even post here cause I know what you guys think of me but I was playing the hu when cocoa lost.

    Two things. Before the match pretty much every player gathered together to talk about it. I wasn't privy to any knowledge of what they were talking about till the next round.

    Actually thought they were talking about dee tiller

    From what I was told they never payed cocoa. When there was suspicions thy supposedly frOze his payment but we shall see
    Do you have any idea why this wasn't reported to the WSOP on the spot, rather than everyone huddling around each other, gossiping like schoolgirls?

    I'm not bashing you here, as you weren't involved, but wondering why the others took such an odd line with it.

  7. #7
    All of my info is second hand. From what I gather they did tell the wsop. That was the match where the floor was watching the entire time and when cocoa lost.

    Not even sure what everyone gathering around would accomplish. Looks like the payment was defintely frozen.

    Jack Eiffel said they didn't see any marks but if they are only looking at the last match they prolly won't find anything.

    Also my offer still stands Todd to buy you a beer before I leave on the 18th. Would like you to know the real me and not what you think you know from online

  8. #8
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesrwood View Post
    All of my info is second hand. From what I gather they did tell the wsop. That was the match where the floor was watching the entire time and when cocoa lost.

    Not even sure what everyone gathering around would accomplish. Looks like the payment was defintely frozen.

    Jack Eiffel said they didn't see any marks but if they are only looking at the last match they prolly won't find anything.

    Also my offer still stands Todd to buy you a beer before I leave on the 18th. Would like you to know the real me and not what you think you know from online
    I suppose we can meet at some point here.

    If they froze the payment, at least that's good.

    Did they confiscate the cards on the spot and inspect them?

    Still pretty much a fail if this wasn't reported until the final match where he lost (and wasn't doing it anymore because he knew the jig was up).

  9. #9
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Here is that scumbag Coca:


  10. #10
    I'm not sure what they did. I didn't find out until the next round and I'm pretty certain Cocoa was the last match to finish that round.

  11. #11
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    He was the Day 1A leader at EPT Monaco:

    https://www.pokerstars.com/en/blog/t...a-155467.shtml

  12. #12
    Is there anyway for them to find the decks from the previous matches?

  13. #13
    Diamond Hockey Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesrwood View Post
    Is there anyway for them to find the decks from the previous matches?
    You'd think that they would keep the cards from the last few matches since it sounded like they(WSOP officials) were aware something may be happening & they were watching him.

    Big fail if they didn't.
    (_) ..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hockey Guy
    I'd say good luck in the freeroll but I'm pretty sure you'll go on a bender to self-sabotage yourself & miss it completely or use it as the excuse of why you didn't cash.

  14. #14
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    I wrote the usual lengthy report on this at Flushdraw -- 1400 words or so, but one thing I forgot to mention is that if it was cheating and it was done through some form of invisible inks, then large-scale tourney venues are a natural weak spot for this type of cheating. Convention centers simply do not have the camera coverage that typical casino floors enjoy.

    That's part of why Caesars no longer runs WSOP Circuit events in Ohio: The state demanded casino-level video security for the poker-tourney area, and Caesars was unwilling to make that investment. Caesars is not alone in this; just as another example, IMO, the real reason the final couple of dozen players in the "Christian Lusardi" Borgata tourney got cheated so badly on the settlement is because the Borgata had typically poor video surveillance in the poker area, and literally could not track all of the player movements nor potential chip exchanges involving the fake chips. That meant they had to refund way too many people, compared to who was actually cheated or affected by Lusardi, and the final 23 or whatever suffered because of it.

    There are several online sites that sell invisible inks designed to mark cards, along with sets of special contact lenses to view the inks. (Note Coca was wearing sunglasses, which would hide these sorts of contact lenses.) Also, surveillance footage simply would not capture this type of cheating after the fact if the cameras weren't already equipped with filters sensitive UV and other types of inks, which leads back to the same inferiority of the setups used in convention centers as compared against casinos. If they recorded only in visible light, they can't do much, footage-wise.

    I really do think that Coca cheated. I have some doubts that the WSOP will be able to locate the Day 1 decks from that event, test them properly, and tie them back to Coca.

     
    Comments
      
      Charham: Fascinating, looks like a major security flaw. I wonder if a player of dealer could just use a hand held UV scanner on a deck every once in a while to check?
      
      Hockey Guy: Haley, this isn't 4. You can link your articles here. We appreciate your work.

  15. #15
    This guy tried it out East and got caught only because he screwed up. Ill bet there are/were a few more people trying this this year, BEWARE. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/ny...-not.html?_r=0

  16. #16
    Got to love the Chinese, one of the many companies that pops up if you google invisible ink and cards, http://www.pokercheatdevice.com/company/ . At the bottom of the page they have a banner with the WSOP logo! Sorry can't see to copy it here.

    Company bio:

    EYE Poker Cheating Center, was founded in 2000, is one of the most well-known gambling cheating devices supplier in China. With function of design, manufacture, goods selling and well after service, our company is getting more and more popular in the poker gambling field.

    With registered capital of 8 million USD, and working together with Chinese Institute of Electronics for researching, our products are updated year by year, so that we can output more and more new products to cater to different gambling requirements. Our main products including: Poker card analyzer, Poker spy camera lens, Invisible contact lenses, illuminant ink marked cards, all kinds of dice, mahjong tables, card tricks etc. These products are sold in Britain, America, Japan, Italy, Russia and South East Asia etc. Great varieties, modern techniques, reasonable price and perfect after service, are well appreciated by their purchasers. You can use our device to play Texas/Omaha hold'em and other poker games all over the world.

    The company is located in Guangzhou, which is a typical developed economy city in South China. Tourism and transnational trade become the main pillar of the economy. Close to the Baiyun International Airport, it is very convenient to be here. You can also visit HongKong and Macao easily as it is very near. Guangzhou city is also well-known as the Origin of making cheating device for poker and other many kinds of gambling. While if you will travel in China, make sure to Guangzhou and you can personally experience our products.

    The products both on wholesale and retail, you can also join our group to resell our goods abroad. We hope we can have a good co-operation now and in the future, and bring you great fortune!

    FINALLY, if you need inspiration and a philosophy:

    If you're trapped between your feelings and what other people think is right, always go for whatever makes you happy. So the second deal hand controls poker shoe can make you happy. Because that can help you win much money.

  17. #17
    Druff : you at the rio today? I'm headed home till the main event

  18. #18
    Diamond Hockey Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesrwood View Post
    Druff : you at the rio today? I'm headed home till the main event
    Seriously, why would you want to meet up with a guy you've called a scumbag & threatened lawsuits for saying you probably weren't the greatest choice as an escrow for $40K+? Seriously, that's all Druff & china did.

    I'm still waiting for an answer as to why you'd think starting another playoff pool, where you were still to be the escrow, when you knew the money from the 1st one was already missing & you wouldn't be able to pay the first one out in a timely manner was, on any level, a good idea.

    I'll give you props for making it right in the end, but, the 2nd pool, was absolutely the most idiotic thing you could have ever done IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hockey Guy
    I'd say good luck in the freeroll but I'm pretty sure you'll go on a bender to self-sabotage yourself & miss it completely or use it as the excuse of why you didn't cash.

  19. #19
    Gold MrTickle's Avatar
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    Connor Drinan life runbad continues


  20. #20
    Hockey: druff reached out to me when he found out I was in Vegas to rib me again about tegnation so I'd like to sit down with him so I never have to deal with this again

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