Last October, former commentator and player at Stones livestreamed cash game, Veronica Brill was the first to raise suspicions on Mike Postle by tweeting that the team behind the scenes could not use mobile phones during live streaming due to concerns about a player.
If someone is displaying a probability of cheating on a live stream you don't make the entire room not be able to use their cellphones in an attempt to reduce everyone's anxiety and then still promote the player as one of the best.
— Veronica 2.0 (@Angry_Polak) September 28, 2019
Five months after the beginning of this scandal, Gaelle Jaudon is discussing with her the aftermath.
Somuchpoker: We talked a lot about you exposing the Mike Postle case. You really came into the spotlight, but you were not new to poker. I saw that your first hand on mob line was in 2011. Can you just tell us a bit about your career in the poker world?
Veronica: I’ve always been a recreational player. I’ve never played professionally. Poker and gaming have been a delightful hobby of mine, but I have never taken it seriously enough to do it full time.
SMP: Going to the public scene to reveal a cheating situation was, for sure, a difficult thing for you. Mike Postle was seen as the local hero, and you were working as regular commentator for Stones Live poker, and host of the game $1-$3 no-limit hold ’em game “Veronica and friends”. You could have lost your job, did you hesitate?
Veronica: The hesitation was not regarding my job at Stones. I hadn’t worked for Stones for a few years when I exposed Mike. I work in tech in Silicon Valley, so I had no job at risk. My fear was being wrong and the backlash that would have come with it. I thought that there was a good chance that he was cheating, so I was willing to take the risk. I mainly took the risk because I realized that the person in charge of the live stream was incompetent and, to me, didn’t seem like he could detect a cheater.
SMP: Exposing the cheating made your life more difficult in your local circles, by exposing you to the backlash from Postle’s defenders. Did you expect such reactions, even from your coworkers? How did you handle that?
Veronica: I assumed that I would get some push-back, but I didn’t know of another way that this could’ve been handled. I went to Stones about it and they did nothing. I had a very rough first three days, but things turned around quickly in the following weeks. The guys that I’m close to are high stakes players, and all suspected Mike, but didn’t get enough time with him to know for sure. Some of the people I played with were happy that I exposed him so that it could be looked into.
SMP: Still today, it is unreal how, after more than a year of winning and crazy play, nobody noticed or suspected the cheating? Do you think some people knew and just let it happen?
Veronica: I think there is a good chance that some people knew. Also, it would be impossible for Mike to do this alone, given his lack of technical skill, and either Justin or someone in tech helped him. It was Taylor or Justin.
SMP: How did he manage to use the RFID technology to know the cards? He had to have had an accomplice.
Veronica: Yes, he had to have one. I think it was Justin, but there is a good chance that it was Taylor, given that he was the one changing the cards. He is still a dealer at Stones. I think it started out as Mike just receiving text messages, and then later he was wearing a bone-conduction head set
SMP: It was a terrible press for the casino, and for local casinos in general. Scott Seiver tweeted that: “How do you overcome a situation like that?”
Veronica: From gossip I have heard that Stones would like to run the live stream again.
SMP: As I said, you received a lot of criticism, saying it was all made up and that you couldn’t understand Mike Postle‘s skills, which seems crazy, but also a lot of support from the community and poker personalities like Gavin Griffin. Did it change your opinion about the world in a bad or a better way?
Veronica: I think that a lot of poker players are logical thinkers and highly intelligent to be able to stay in the game; I think the logical people saw the cheating easily and then other people followed. It’s nice to see the truth come out.
SMP: A $10 million lawsuit has been made against Postle, Stones Gambling Hall, Stones Tournament Director Justin Kuraitis, who you trusted, and a number of other defendants. What is the situation today?
Veronica: We are suing Stones and Justin for $10 million, and Mike for $10 million, for a total of $20 million. Mike finally was served and responded. As with any court case, things get drawn out and take a long time. No real update to tell.
SMP: Today, what are your goals and what are you working on? I’ve seen you also have a YouTube channel, Veronica Angry-Polak where you interview people.
Veronica: I have a very busy work life outside of poker, and I try to see my friends on my days off. There hasn’t been a lot of room for poker lately. I am sure I will start studying again before the WSOP. The YouTube channel I started, I’ve been wanting to start for a long time. I moved to San Jose a year and a half ago and I’ve been a bit lonely, I started the channel to have something to focus on to fight off depression.
SMP: In your opinion, what are the main things to work on to improve the poker world?
Veronica: That is a big question. As poker players become more sophisticated and woke, it would be good to shift towards life improvement skills, like diet and exercise, and investing poker money. I also think more poker players going towards REG or effective altruism is something that should be more mainstream. I think the continued shift from degenerate gambling to intelligent investors is an important thing.
SMP: Do you have new projects in poker, or did you receive opportunities after that?
Veronica: If anything, I have less opportunities because no one wants to be known for taking a side. Many people and casinos want to stay neutral to protect themselves. I will be speaking at a casino security conference in March in Las Vegas.
Interview by Gaelle Jaudon