May 11, 2022

World’s best tournament poker player accused of running a stable of cheaters

Professional poker player and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Martin Zamani claims he was part of a ring of online poker cheaters led by Bryn Kenney, the world’s biggest tournament winner and poker regular at high stakes.

Martin Zamani says he was encouraged to cheat online as part of an online horse stable for Bryn Kenney. (Picture: PokerGO)

Zamani came forward with his allegations this week after accusations of cheating against poker superstar Ali Imsirovic resurfaced. The charges against Kenney are sweeping and shocking, even bizarre, with Zamani recounting a tale of Kenney attempting to control his players with the help of a Las Vegas shaman, a medium, a poison frog and magic mushrooms.

On Thursday, Zamani appeared on Doug Polk’s podcast for an interview that lasted nearly an hour and a half. Vaping marijuana all the time, Zamani claimed Kenney was the ringleader of a well-oiled team of cheats and tried to control his players in a way he called a cult.

Before sitting down with Polk, Zamani let his confession fly on Twitter.

While Zamani said he has evidence in the form of recorded conversations, little was presented either through his Twitter account or during the podcast. He gave no time frame when the cheating allegedly took place.

Do what’s best for the team?

Zamani claims he briefly worked for Kenney as part of a stable of players who got along, shared accounts, used real-time assistance software (RTA) and dumped chips on GGPoker.

He also claims that Kenney may have worked with GGPoker to prevent overlays and would receive rakeback from the site of around $2 million per week.

Zamani, who played under the screen name “FuTimReilly”, says that in some $5,000 and $10,000 tournaments facing overlays, Kenney would order his horses to come in and play in a volatile manner – in pushing with two cards, calling thin draws, etc. – in order to break people and force rebuys.

CardsChat contacted GGPoker but did not hear back in time for publication and Kenney could not be reached for comment. Polk said he was contacted by Kenney’s lawyers just before it went live, warning him not to defame their client.

On Polk’s podcast, Zamani named Mark Herm, Sergi Rexach and David Miscikowski as members of Kenney’s team, but said there were others. CardsChat has not been able to independently verify the participation of these players. Zamani said Rexach, who was banned from GGPoker for using RTAs, was Kenney’s “main horse”.

A friend in the bullseye

Zamani also accused Kenney of targeting a close friend, Lauren Roberts, who Zamani said treated Kenney like “a son.”

Roberts played on GGPoker under the name “He22”. While maintaining a friendship with Roberts, Kenney ordered his horses to target her.

“Anyone who was in that situation who knows Lauren and Bryn knows how much he took advantage of her and poached her,” Zamani said. “He was telling her to play the games and telling us to always play the games because she was a big fish.”

Kenney allegedly kept Roberts close to him as he worked to scam him.

“He was always throwing big parties at her house and pretending to be buddy-buddy,” Zamani said. “Crazy. And he sometimes played his account, without our knowledge.

How did Zamani find out? He said Roberts told him.

“If what you’re saying is true, that sounds like a pretty sad story,” Polk said.

A poison frog and a shaman from Las Vegas

Zamani shared some details of off-table incidents that Polk called “fucking weird” that involved how Kenney tried to control his players.

After being pinned $40,000, Zamani said Kenney agreed to stake and build it — with a major take.

“He’s like ‘First of all, you have to get your energy right. You have to go to the shaman,” Zamani said.

Zamani was sent to a woman’s house in Las Vegas where she took him to her garage, which also served as a ritual room.

“It’s very sketchy. I do not know how to explain it. I can’t tell if this is a test where I’m supposed to text Bryn and tell her she’s crazy. Like he’s trying to figure out where my loyalties lie, or whatever. Or, like, this lady is crazy, and Bryn is just as crazy. I have no idea what’s going on at this point,” he said.

He said he barely knew Kenney at the time.

The shaman, Zamini said, told her he had to go through a purification ritual called the Kambo during which she would use burning incense on his arm until the skin bubbled. Then, he said, she cut his skin and coated the wound with the poison of a giant monkey frog.

She wanted Zamani to do three sessions. He refused to make one. He also refused to take acid drops in his eyes, so she called him “a fat chicken.”

Kenney told her he had to go on a mushroom trip with the shaman, so Zamani ate about nine grams of the psychedelic drug with her.

Why did he do a bunch of mushrooms with someone who wanted to put acid in his eyes, burn him with incense, and poison him with a giant monkey frog?

“Man, I needed a stake. I was screwed, I owed people money. I was just trying to work. What was I going to do? I told my friends and family: “This guy is trying to be a cult leader and wants to be Warlord Bryn.” But I’m broke and he’s willing to give me $5,000, $10,000, $25,000 , and there’s coaching involved, so it’s probably going well.

Zamani says Kenney also took members of his team to Hawaii for sessions with a shaman and required his players to follow a strict vegan diet. Zamani said other horses would signal Kenney if he slipped and ate a burger.

In addition to meeting the shaman, Zamani said Kenney “asked” him to do a seance with a so-called psychic, Jeffery Wands, who charges $200 for a half-hour reading. Zamani called him “idiot”.

Zamani treated the session with skepticism and 30 minutes later said he received a text from Kenney. “Hey, the psychic told me that I should stay away from you and your bad energy. So, I’m going to have to think about our relationship,” Zamani said in the text read.

A day later, Zamani said he received another text saying, “I believe there is good in you. I will give you a chance.

It’s a good thing for poker fans that Kenney didn’t listen to the psychic. Meanwhile, the whole confession seems to have taken a huge weight off Zamani’s shoulders.

This story is developing.

Written by

Bob Pajich

Bob Pajich is a poker journalist, creative writer, and poker player who has never encountered any suited connectors he doesn’t like. If you liked what he writes, follow him on Twitter: @PondHockey2.

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