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Thread: Top tournament pro Anthony Zinno accused of stealing backpack and $20k at Wynn in December 2023

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    Top tournament pro Anthony Zinno accused of stealing backpack and $20k at Wynn in December 2023

    For some time in the 2000s and early 2010s, Anthony Zinno was just a middle-stakes tournament grinder who nobody knew.

    He had his first pretty good score in June 2013, cashing $86k at the $5k Main Event at Palazzo. Then he popped off an $825k win at the $3500 event at Borgata in September of that same year, and he never looked back. Since then, he's been a force at the tournament tables, accumulating over $11m worth of cashes, and 4 WSOP bracelets.

    Zinno is 42, and there is some talk about electing him to the Poker HOF. Prior to last month, he had a good reputation, and was never involved in any scandals. I have played with him a number of times at the WSOP. He always said hello to me, was pleasant, and seemed like a nice guy.

    Here's a picture of him from 2024, where he had a $202k 4th place score at Borgata:



    Here is his Hendon Mob tournament cash list: https://pokerdb.thehendonmob.com/player.php?a=r&n=82053

    However, if the current allegations against him are true, his good reputation will forever be tarnished, and his possible HOF election in the future might be in jeopardy.

    On Facebook, a guy named Willie Wiggins posted the following allegation about Anthony Zinno:

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    The alleged victim, "Corel", is not well known in poker.

    There were two interesting posts in a 2+2 thread about the matter.

    One of them was from a little-used account registered in 2012, with a very generic screen name. It reads as follows:

    I know the victim, Corel. He's an Incredibly nice guy, and a true gentleman, fwiw. He's a businessman, not a grinder, but he has some decent results, not that that matters in a case for theft. He's played a few high rollers too, so anyone who knew him might surmise that his bag would have significant cash.

    I haven't spoken to him directly, but I did speak to a good friend of his, and I believe the allegations to be 100% true. Corel left his bag at (under) the table, Zinno took it to the bathroom, and emptied it of all, or nearly all, of the $ - approx 19-20k. Wynn caught him red-handed on the cameras, and they questioned him. A police report was filed. I believe Zinno admitted taking the bag (kind of hard to argue against the camera evidence), but denied the amount. As a law school graduate (according to his wikipedia entry), he probably knew the threshold for petit larceny vs a felony:

    [NRS § 205.220 defines the Nevada crime of (felony) grand larceny as intentionally stealing someone else's property worth $1,200.00 or more. If the value of the property is less than $1,200.00, the offense would be the lesser crime of misdemeanor petit (petty) larceny.]

    A second interesting 2+2 post came from someone named "gamble". This guy has 479 posts dating back 15 years on 2+2, and says he can confirm the story:

    I can confirm the story is true, Zinno is banned, there was $20k in the bag and of course Berkey’s take/skimming over the issue was horrible per usual (likely due to his personal relationship with Zinno). Stealing a bag in the casino has to be one of the more desperate if not outright stupid things an individual can do.

    Zinno has a history of this so I’m glad he’s being outed. At the very least, his reputation will be seriously harmed and he will ideally lose eligibility to play at other venues once the case begins. Hopefully, the charges will lead to way more than petty theft (ie the casinos can look at Corel buying into events that day and see cash being taken out / put in bag at the cage, etc).
    I'm not sure what this guy means by, "Zinno has a history of this." This is the first allegation of theft (or anything shady) I've seen brought against Zinno.

    It's also important to understand that none of this has yet been verified by anyone well known, neutral, and reliable in the poker world. The two main informational posts come from two random 2+2 users (one who seems to be a dupe account), and they're referencing something recently said on Facebook. This Willie Wiggins seems to be a poker player, but I've never heard of him before.

    However, I have to say that this doesn't look good for Zinno.

    Zinno has a Twitter account, though he doesn't use it actively, and hasn't tweeted since 2022. But the silence is deafening. On his OnlyFriends show, Berkey spoke very warmly of him, and in fact seemed very reluctant to cover this, calling him a "great guy" before going into the allegation:



    (go to the 16:52 mark of the show to see the clip)

    While I give Berkey credit for being the first in poker media to bring this matter public, I didn't really like the segment. He spent too much time praising Zinno and blaming the victim, and not enough time discussing this brazen crime allegedly committed by one of the most successful tournament pros in the past decade.

    But I have to think that if this weren't true, Zinno would have spoken to Berkey by now and cleared it up -- or at least spoken to SOMEONE and cleared it up. It's been over 2 days, and we aren't hearing anything.

    If I had to guess, I would say that this story is either completely true or mostly true. And if it is true, it's bizarre, given Zinno's apparent success on the felt over the past 11 years.

    So why might this have happened? I will discuss it in the next post...

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    A look at Anthony Zinno's Hendon Mob stats shows a somewhat mixed picture of his 2020s poker career thus far.

    He cashed $3 million in 2018-2019 combined, and hasn't quite had the same success in the 2020s, but he still has put up some pretty nice looking numbers...

    2020: $151,090 (remember this was the COVID year)
    2021: $643,368
    2022: $164,681
    2023: $507,232

    His 2022 does look a bit questionable. He's a very prolific player, and while he doesn't really seem to enter many high rollers, I have to imagine he spent more than $164k in buyins that year.

    However, he roared back in '23 with over $500k in cashes, and again did not seem to be entering many high rollers. I would say it's pretty likely he was ahead in 2023.

    So why would he be brazenly stealing backpacks from the Wynn? What did he expect to get from this? Did he not realize they have cameras, and that such an action could result in his arrest, banning, and destruction of his good rep?

    I can't answer any of these questions. It's kinda baffling to me.

    However, it is indeed possible he's low on cash. He might have lived beyond his means, after going through a period from 2015-19 where he earned a combined $7 million in cashes. He might have developed a -EV gambling problem. He might have made bad investments. There's a ton of ways that seemingly crushing poker players go broke. Remember Olivier Busquet's interesting podcast, admitting he had been broke for a long time, despite all appearances of being a big winner? Might be the same case with Zinno.

    It's also possible that Zinno is staked, and perhaps was in makeup from what appears to have been a losing 2022. Maybe his 2023 profit has gone straight into his backer's pocket.

    It's also possible that he stole the backpack simply because he felt he could, and not out of need for the money. Not all thieves are broke.

    Finally, it's possible that we aren't getting all of the story. What if Zinno absent-mindedly grabbed someone else's backpack, believing it was his? What if the story has been exaggerated in some way? What if this "Corel" guy owed Zinno money for a long time, and this was Zinno's way of finally getting paid?

    I'm not saying that any of the above excuses for Zinno are likely. At this point, my guess would be that Zinno really did steal it. But we can't be 100% sure... at least not yet.



    I will point to one other interesting thing I noticed on Zinno's Hendon Mob.

    He's a very prolific player. He cashed every month in 2023 except for March. Yet we saw zero cashes from him between December 17, 2023 (at the Wynn) and his very recent score at Borgata three days ago. That's a period of 5 weeks with no cashes. Not a staggering amount of time, but it would somewhat back a theory that he got caught at Wynn, and then laid low for a month, and in fact played next all the way across the country. I'm just throwing out wild guesses here, but that's another thing to possibly notice.

    If Anthony Zinno is innocent, he needs to come forward and transparently explain everything, or otherwise the community will likely take his silence as an admission of guilt. Typically when a player is silent after a very damaging allegation, it is because they are guilty, and everyone in poker knows that. I welcome Anthony to contact me privately through the Contact Us for at the bottom of this page, or via Twitter, if he'd like to dispute any of the above allegations.

     
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      ReformDorm: Spot on Todd

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    I have received the following DM from a listener to my show:

    Hey Druff, just read your writeup & wanted to add something.

    I'm hearing Zinno’s story is that he thought the bag was potentially his girlfriend's. She a prominent poker massage therapist. He is saying that he thought it was either hers or belonged to the person she was massaging, and the room had completely cleared out as the day was over. He took the bag and for some reason went to the bathroom, and looked thru it to find the person's name. He realized it wasn’t anyone he knew, and returned it to security.

    I’m not sure if he’s telling the truth, but that’s the story he's telling people. I lean that he's not telling the truth, but I could also see a scenario where he’s just really unlucky and stupid.

    Interesting. The above is not verified to be Zinno's story, but the listener is telling me that's what he heard around Vegas. I've talked with this listener in the past, and believe that he's reporting what he actually heard.

    Is it possible that this is true? Did Zinno simply grab the backpack because the room was empty, and it was sitting by where his girlfriend had been massaging someone, and he was trying to make sure it wasn't stolen?

    Possibly, but there's a big hole in this story!

    This guy Corel is said to be complaining to people that the $20k in his backpack is missing. If Zinno grabbed the bag, went through it in the bathroom, and brought it to security without taking anything, the entire $20k would have still been in the bag (unless security stole it, which is unlikely.)

    So unless Zinno can explain where that $20k went, this story doesn't hold up.

    It is possible that Zinno is simply reverse engineering the story from what was caught on camera. If the Wynn has proof he picked up the backpack, went to the bathroom, and then gave an empty backpack to security, then his only defense at that point would be something like this. The bathroom does not have cameras, so therefore it would be his word against Corel's that $20k was in there. For example, what if Corel didn't really have $20k in there, and just thought he did? That can be Zinno's claim, and it might be enough to at least avoid getting criminally charged.

    Again, though, he's going to need to come out, tell a coherent and transparent story, and be honest about everything. You can't remain silent about something like this, if you want your good rep to remain intact.

  4. #4
    you forgot to mention he just had a big score at borgata so his roll is flush again.

    kinda sad how people have little ethics or morals and how greedy they are

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    Quote Originally Posted by hesterandeldridge View Post
    you forgot to mention he just had a big score at borgata so his roll is flush again.

    kinda sad how people have little ethics or morals and how greedy they are
    You must have missed it. I did mention the score at Borgata.

    However, that is irrelevant to the alleged theft.

    The backpack incident was said to have occurred in December 2023. The $202k Borgata score was just 3 days ago.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hesterandeldridge View Post
    you forgot to mention he just had a big score at borgata so his roll is flush again.

    kinda sad how people have little ethics or morals and how greedy they are
    You must have missed it. I did mention the score at Borgata.

    However, that is irrelevant to the alleged theft.

    The backpack incident was said to have occurred in December 2023. The $202k Borgata score was just 3 days ago.
    oh i know. greed is a mofo, many times i wish i wasnt so ethical and moral when it comes to stuff like this.

    i found a bag a couple weeks ago that had at least 2500+ in chips and gave it back to security when my roll is nowhere near what zinno's is.


    he would have defended this by now if it wasnt true and him being banned from the wynn in any future events will also prove it (not to mention legal court filings)

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    Diamond Sloppy Joe's Avatar
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    He's literally on camera stealing the bag and racing into the bathroom in it.

    There may be more to the story/an alternative explanation because he has a good tourney record and has been nice to Druff in the past?

    Poker players are deceptive, lying pieces of shit. He's probably padded his wallet countless times by stealing/deceiving, saw a huge opportunity that clouded his logic and went for it.
    PokerFraudAlert...will never censor your claims, even if they're against one of our sponsors. In addition to providing you an open forum report fraud within the poker community, we will also analyze your claims with a clear head an unbiased point of view. And, of course, the accused will always have the floor to defend themselves.-Dan Druff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloppy Joe View Post
    He's literally on camera stealing the bag and racing into the bathroom in it.

    There may be more to the story/an alternative explanation because he has a good tourney record and has been nice to Druff in the past?

    Poker players are deceptive, lying pieces of shit. He's probably padded his wallet countless times by stealing/deceiving, saw a huge opportunity that clouded his logic and went for it.
    I was the first one to do an in-depth analysis of it. A few people posted about it on 2+2, and Berkey briefly mentioned it on his show, but this was the first long-form writeup of the situation.

    Given the short time that had passed since it was brought forward by the alleged victim's friend, I wanted to explore all possibilities.

    I stated clearly that my personal belief at the time that he was likely guilty. I still feel that way.

    I have no bias regarding Anthony. He was pleasant when we'd see each other, but we were never friends, and never interacted outside of poker. My coverage of the situation was fair and even-handed.

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    From what I have heard about him was that in the last 4-5 years he's been broke and owes backers lots and lots of money. Honestly reading this about Zinno really didn't surprise me at all. But I don't know him, just heard things and they aren't good.

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    Also, the nickname “Ant, “ which we know is short for Anthony, is a diminutive nickname, which hints at a smallness of character. He’s a little man. An ant.

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    Zinno must be a real sweetie because I have never seen a guy, who looks like he is probably guilty af of straight up robbing 20K, have people go so easy on him. I did get a chance to listen to Berkey yesterday and he hemmed & hawed when talking about this and quickly pivoted to making this a “teachable moment” about inherent risk being a poker player. Which this is not.

    It was stolen because the alleged victim forgot his backpack. What’s the “teachable moment?” Don’t forget shit? Was pathetic in all honesty. Berkey with another bed shit. To be fair if you do a podcast every day you will miss the mark sometimes. But Berkey has had a couple cracks at this and seems to want to protect Zinno as much as possible. He pivoted this conversation so fast. A ton of hypocrisy. Imagine if Vertucci stole a nickel out of the change pile at 7-11? Well, Berkey would probably go harder on him for that.

    Updated Berkey Bed Shit Counter +2 for both Zinno segments. +1.5 bonus for back to back. +1 for the transparent pivot. Total Bed Shits since Only Friends Pod Inception +47.5

    #AboveTheFelt

    Ohh make it 48.5 b/c of the constant Rampage passes b/c of conflict of interest. He should just recuse himself formally from commenting on anyone represented by Above The Felt for conflict of interest.

    Just as an aside…what the fuck is going on with his podcast? Can we give the other people more than a minute of talk time? Can we get any pushback on fucking Berkey? No one says “you seem to be going easy on Zinno given what we know”? Really?

    Its’s just Berkey stumbling, bumbling & mumbling. Might as well just get cardboard cutouts of everyone else. They will get similar amounts of talk time. Sorry…has to be said. Have no choice but to go hard on his ass. The segment was a fucking joke. I understand it only is an alleged major felony and not something tuly horrific like someone making a snide remark to a female at a poker table…but still, do better Berk.

     
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      Cerveza Fria: Love the Amber heard reference
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    Very good radio segment by Druff. I didn’t hear it live so just catching up. I felt like maybe I was too harsh on Berkey, but listening to these clips of him discussing this on his pod have cleared my conscience. To equate an alleged theft with a debt is absolutely absurd. To call this a “cautionary tale” is absurd. To victim blame is absurd.

    I didn’t even listen to this initial coverege. I listened to the second bite at the apple. Berkey has to acknowledge his own hypocrisy here. You want these kids to keep coming and paying 5 g birds for a weekend, you better stay consistent with these takes. Especially with a guy like Berkey who is constantly talking about integrity in poker.

    Obviously Zinno has been making the rounds and chatting people up “off the record” and has succeeded in suppressing and softening many takes. He obviously is getting his ducks in a row and it will be fascinating to see how this continues legally. How will the victim prove what was in the bag?

    But Druff proves the GPI is a corrupt circle jerk with this very thorough and thoughtful segment.

    https://pokerfraudalert.com/radio/ra...0-21-23-01.mp3



    Starts 29:12.

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    Platinum FRANKRIZZO's Avatar
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    Judge Judy would find him guilty counter suit dismissed.

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    I'd like to share some thoughts, and I'll provide all details after the legal matter finishes:

    We had all made it into the money, which ended the day. The ballroom was shut down for the night. I stood up to leave and then noticed a lost bag close by. My first instinct (it was a late night) was that I'd assume responsibility for the bag and get it to the owner myself, figuring that they went home.

    My goal was to find ID, or verify ownership by some means, try to contact the owner or mutual friends, and perhaps meet somewhere on the strip (or at the restart). Unsuccessful, I brought the bag back to Encore (lost and found), slept, and then played day two. I absolutely deny what is being alleged.
    https://twitter.com/AntZinno/status/1755612175287366077

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    Zinno is guilty. He returned the bag with $1000 in it because a thief would never return a bag with money in it.

  19. #19
    now i dont play many tournaments but after you make day 2 , doesnt staff there stay for at least another half hour getting all the bags collected and marked for day 2?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hesterandeldridge View Post
    now i dont play many tournaments but after you make day 2 , doesnt staff there stay for at least another half hour getting all the bags collected and marked for day 2?
    Yes they do. The guy stole a backpack full of cash, not a tournament bag full of tournament chips.

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