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Everything We Know About the Bryn Kenney Scandal (so far)

Table of contents

Accusations, scandalous messages, and.. poison frog rituals?

Here is a timeline of the Bryn Kenney situation so far.

Note: there are some terms mentioned here that some might not be aware of, so I’ll leave some basic definitions here:

Ghosting: watching someone as they play and giving them advice (cheating).

Multi-accounting: using someone else’s account (cheating)

RTA: Real-time assistance of a software to play. One of the highest forms of cheating in online poker, since the solver allows you to play perfectly.

Backer: Someone who puts up money for another player to play (staking)

Stake: Giving a person money to play, or investing in them. When the player wins, he/she gives the backer a percentage of the winnings.

Horse(s): A player who is staked by a backer.

Stable: Describes a group of poker players all staked under the same backer.

Whale: Bad player, fish.

April 21st, 2022: Martin Zamani Comes Forward

In an out-of-the-blue whirlwind of tweets, poker pro Martin Zamani came forward with multiple accusations against #1 all-time poker money leader Bryn Kenney. Bryn has over $56 million dollars in live tournament cashes alone, and has been a staple of the poker community for decades.

Zamani went on a twitter rampage, accusing Bryn of running a cheating/collusion ring of high stakes online poker players, swindling his former friend Lauren Roberts for millions of dollars, and much more (list of the allegations below).

He also called out other names including Mark Herm and Sergi Reixach for taking part in the cheating. Obviously the poker world couldn’t just let this sit, and Doug Polk rushed to get Martin on his podcast that very day.

List of the allegations by Martin Zamani posted on Twitter (all unproven):

– Bryn Kenney would “make his horses (players he staked) play “He22” (later confirmed to be Lauren Roberts) on GG Poker, colluding against her while pretending to be her friend.

– Bryn is “the most insane and runs a bigger ghosting (cheating/multi-accounting) operation than anyone.”

– “If you had an agency (affiliate system with GG poker) with Bryn you probably had it stolen from you and had to say nothing. I know 10s+ of people who Bryn said sign people up, they did. Then all of a sudden (Bryn would say) “hey man, you don’t have enough whales I’m taking your agency.””

– “Any type of arguing with Bryn would be faced with gaslighting that I’m not open minded and he’s trying to help us. That’s why he sent me to a shaman. Oh, don’t want to do mushrooms with Bryn? Dropped in stakes. Oh, you don’t want to see my retard psychic? Dropped in stakes. Oh, I heard you’re not eating healthy..? Heard you didn’t do yoga? Dropped.”

– “(Bryn sent me to) a shaman he had never met before, trying to get her to inject frog poison on me known as Kombo. She also told me she was a murderer, a warlord, and a liar. Demands I do this drug. Couldn’t tell if it was a bit or not. Apparently Bryn had never met her. Tried to use me as a test pig.”

– “The last time I got ft of something of GG I torched it and Bryn told me I had to text Sergi, my downstairs neighbor/coach for my fts.”

– There were even more accusations, including an accusation of poker player Mark Herm for ghosting every final table that anyone he coached played.

There were a couple of players who responded to this twitter thread, claiming that they had been staked by Bryn for years, and that they had a completely different experience with Bryn.

Alex “Thallo_Poker” Epstein and Joseph Liberta replied to the tweets, both saying that they were staked by Bryn and that he had never forced them to do anything like collusion or ghosting.

April 21st: Emergency Podcast With Doug Polk

After these tweets went live, popular Youtuber Doug Polk went live on the same day with Martin Zamani on his podcast for an “emergency” episode. This episode might be one of the most entertaining poker podcasts of all time, but I’ll summarize here for those who don’t want to watch.

Here is a full list of Martin’s claims against Bryn Kenney on the podcast: (all alleged and unproven)

Bryn Kenney could see his screen. Zamani told his friend in a private Skype chat that he was “down big” and then Bryn allegedly asked him about it 3 days later.

“Do what’s best for the team” was the mantra for Bryn’s stable (the players he staked). Bryn would tell Martin to “shove any two” against players in a tournament who weren’t his horses, to increase the variance for them.

Zamani had a ghost (unnamed player, also staked by Bryn) who would also play on his GG account, “FUTimReilly”.

– When Sergi Reixach, one of Bryn’s main horses was banned from GG for cheating, Bryn told him “I don’t deal with cheaters, you owe me the makeup.” Zamani claims Sergi was banned for RTA (real-time assistance), one of the worst forms of poker cheating possible, and that Bryn was aware of it the whole time and did nothing.

– Bryn would tell Lauren Roberts “He22” to play in a game, then demand that Zamani and his other horses all join the game and gang up on her. He would incentivize her to play with coaching and drugs.

– Lauren told Zamani that Bryn would sometimes play on her account.

– After Zamani “torched” a final table, Bryn told him that the next time he was deep in a tournament, to call Sergi Reixach and “get help”.

– With 4 left in a WSOP bracelet event, Zamani called Sergi over to help him. Sergi brought a laptop with an RTA program (100% cheating to use during play). There was a dispute about a hand where Sergi told him to bet and Zamani thought it was a check-back. This led to Zamani losing the tournament, causing a dispute between the two.

– After Zamani stopped playing for Bryn, an unnamed player (also Bryn’s horse) would get coaching from Mark Herm. Any time this unnamed player final tabled, Herm would help him and give assistance in real time.

– Mark Herm co-runs Ocean’s Club, a mixed game site. Zamani claims he knows many pros in the game who collude and share cards with each other. Zamani messaged Herm about the cheating, and Herm deleted his message and didn’t respond. Zamani claimed the pros were all Bryn’s horses.

Bryn sent Zamani to see a shaman to help him. The shaman tells him that she was a warlord’s wife, she’s a killer, a lier and that she wants to do a Kambo ritual on him (Kambo is a ritual where you burn incense on your skin, cut the blister with a knife, then rub frog poison on the open sore). Zamani refuses, then she asks him to lean back so she can pour acid into his eyes. Zamani again refuses. He claims Bryn had never met the shaman and was using him as a test subject. Bryn later told Zamani to do a mushroom trip with the shaman, which he did take part in.

– Bryn would ask Zamani to sign up people to GG Poker on twitter and at the Hard Rock casino while playing GG Poker through a VPN. Later, Bryn would take Zamani’s agency from him, including the rakeback that Zamani had been getting from the players he signed up, in order to pay for his make-up.

Bryn sent Zamani to Jeffrey Wands, a famous “psychic”. This was allegedly mandatory for all of Bryn’s Horses. After the call, Bryn said that the psychic told him that Zamani was bad energy, and that he would have to re-evaluate his relationship with him.

– Bryn would drop Zamani down in stakes if he thought he was lacking in his health. If he didn’t do yoga that morning, Bryn would drop him in stakes, etc.

– Bryn would eat wagyu and sushi while telling horses to eat vegan.

Bryn would essentially run a rake pyramid. He would get his horses to set up agencies with GG to earn rake from the players they sign up. Then, if they leave or have a falling out with Bryn while in make-up (a term for when a horse owes money to a staker), Bryn would take their agency from them and rake in the profits.

After Zamani came forward, Ben Keeline tweeted that his agent account with GG Poker was closed and his players were absorbed by Bryn Kenney.

“It was real neat. Didn’t bring in enough whales.”

April 23rd: Lauren Roberts Comes Forward

Usually absent from twitter, Lauren Roberts (“He22” on GG Poker) came forward and said she “had no idea Martin was gonna do this.”

She posted a few screenshots, showing Bryn asking her for a large amount of money (later confirmed to be approximately $700k), but not knowing exactly how much. Bryn claimed to not “have a spreadsheet for the 1000 people (he’s) dealt with”, but to have “never been wrong on the number.”

Some of the screenshots she posted are above, showing a clear falling out between the two. Roberts also affirms Martin’s accusations of Bryn’s horses colluding against her, says GG Poker knowingly built an illegal business off the backs of Bryn’s players VPNing in.

She also affirms Zamani’s statement that Bryn played and won money on her account, and that there was no way for her to get money in and out of GG besides through Bryn.

She showed a screenshot of Bryn asking her to invest $100k into his new poker site (referred to by him as BKPoker in another text) as a partial repayment of the debt.

April 26th: Bryn Kenney Podcast

Bryn Kenney went live with Sarah Herring (a longtime friend of his) on pokernews.com’s podcast.

After the hour-long podcast, many in the community thought it left a lot of questions unanswered.

Summary of the Podcast:

– When asked about whether he would drop players in stakes depending on whether they did yoga, ate healthy, or sought help for their mental health, Bryn initially said no, but followed it up by saying that he would have to take this into account as their backer.

– Bryn: “None of (my horses) were instructed to do anything wrong by me at any point”

– When asked to answer yes or no whether he had helped or ghosted players in the past: “I’ve had a poker career for 17 years, have I been in the same room and advised them in some hands? I’m not gonna claim that I haven’t”

When asked about his relationship with Lauren “He22” Roberts, Bryn claimed that she had been his best friend and that she’d taken advantage of him and still owed him money. He said he would buy her lots of things and was very generous with her, but that when he met his girlfriend, Lauren became jealous and that’s why she didn’t want to pay the debt.

– Bryn claims that Lauren wanted to be as good of a poker player as him, asking him to get her backed by the person backing him. When asked if he ever played on her account, he denied it. He claims he never backed her and never made a dollar from anything she did.

– When asked about his relationship with GG Poker and whether he got any rakeback from them or incentives, Bryn would not answer.

“That’s personal business that I have with someone and I don’t feel there’s any reason to answer that.”

– Bryn says he did recommend Zamani to the shaman, and went to her as well.

May 3rd: Zamani Provides Receipts

Zamani came forward with screenshots from Bryn Kenney, showing Bryn encouraging Zamani to “help” someone on a final table, and seemingly having knowledge of the ghosting.

May 3rd: Pokernews Receives Texts from George Wolff

Pokernews published an article, following them obtaining and authenticating thousands of Telegram text messages between Kenney and “an accomplished poker pro” who verified the authenticity of the exchange on condition of anonymity.

Check out the article for a full accounting of the screenshots.

The anonymous player was subsequently publicly outed as George Wolff by Zamani in a now-deleted tweet before Pokernews released the story.

These screenshots appear to discredit Bryn’s claims that he never ghosted players or encouraged the players he backed to ghost other players during online poker games. Ghosting is when a player assists another player during a game, a violation of any poker site’s terms of service.

Kenney responded to the texts by claiming “I don’t think this is really any proof.”

Bryn Kenney’s Statement on the May 3rd screenshots (From pokernews):

“This is someone (Zamani) who has tried to blackmail me, scammed me for money and has tried to recruit people to get dirt on me so he could use it against me for money. It’s a guy with dirt for a reputation, has been involved in multiple scams and been arrested for assault on a handicapped person.”

“Martin got cut out cuz he was harassing Scott margerson in the Aussie main event, was being super rude to people all over and I took a 350k loss in makeup to drop him which shoulda been sooner, and he still owes me 70k he borrowed off me. And he’s bitter I dropped him and has been trying to get dirt on me since then not being able to find much of anything.”

In regards to the tweet itself, Kenney stated:

“I don’t think this is really any ‘proof’, he’s claimed rta, collusion, and ghosting. What does this pic show even if true that I asked one horse to help a player 1 time? Or that 2 guys I stake were in the same place once and one was helping the other, unprovoked by me … He alleged I ran a ghosting stable, this is one instance if these messages are real of me telling 1 person to help another person … This doesn’t show anything of me ghosting, plus I said on the podcast that I have helped people before in the past on very minimal occasions.”

Kenney did not respond when asked why and in what context he wrote “help klout in the 500 if ur not on too many tables.”

Credit – pokernews.com

Summary:

Things clearly look bad for Bryn – these texts are proof that he at the very least knew his players were colluding, and at at least one point asked Zamani to ghost another of his horses.

While we wait for more information to come out, you can check out these podcasts for many more quips and quotables in this crazy development:

Doug Polk and Martin Zamani Podcast

Bryn Kenney and Pokernews Podcast

Doug Polk and Joey Ingram Podcast

Solve4Why Podcast