Cheating Allegations Hit WSOP

This story was published more than 5 years ago.

The World Series of Poker has become embroiled in controversy this year, as Moldovan pro Valeriu Cocoa has been accused of cheating by players he took down.

Cocoa recently finished fifth in the $10,000 Heads Up Championship, where he beat Matt Marafioti, Pratyush Buddiga, Aaron Mermelstein, Connor Drinan and Byron Kaverman. All of those players accused Cocoa of cheating, although they couldn't say how the pro managed to swindle them.

While the allegations may sound like sour grapes, Czech Journalist Martin Kuchařík who said that Cocoa has a history of marking cards and has been blacklisted from Czech land casinos. It is thought that Cocoa somehow managed to mark the cards, giving way to his slow and deliberate playing style.

Commenting on the allegations WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel said, "We are aware, monitoring very closely with all resources at our disposal, including surveillance, security, and forensic examination of cards. We take integrity very seriously, as evidenced by our lifetime bans, and would enjoy nothing more than catching a cheater in our midst."

Tournament officials also noted that Cocoa's play has been examined in subsequent games, and thus far nothing suspicious has been noted. Cocoa has not commented on the allegations against him.

About the author

Dustin Jermalowicz // News Editor
Dustin Jermalowicz
Dustin has a long-standing passion for gambling. He has been writing professionally on the subject and breaking industry news for Casino Listings since 2011. His favorite casino games include Blackjack, Poker, and Hi/Lo. A proud native of Detroit, Dustin currently lives in Michigan.