Though the world of online poker sites, live cardrooms, casinos, sports betting, and other gambling is full of routine, everyday happenings, there are times when we encounter a piece of news that leaves us scratching our heads and muttering, “WTF?” For your amusement, we have presented below some of the weirdest and most bizarre gambling news stories from the last two weeks of March 2023 in this installment of Freaky Fortnight.
Neymar Back at It – Loses £900,000!
We highlighted footballer Neymar’s love of gambling in our February edition of Freaky Fortnight. The striker took to playing some gambling after his loss with Paris Saint-Germain to Bayern Munich that month. It looked likely that he wasn’t going to stop after that game though. Sure enough, he was back at it again but this time opted for online casino games instead.
The footballer decided, on one of the final days of March, that the best way to spend his time was with a few rounds of live roulette. He decided to stream his gaming activity on Twitch at the same time, bringing people from around the world in to watch him enjoy his time.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the gaming gods weren’t too fond of him. During his session, he lost a massive £900,000 ($1.12 million). As a result, the footballer broke down in tears – or at least, he pretended to for the Twitch community.
Neymar jokingly screamed over his huge loss before breaking into a smile as the Titanic theme music started playing in the background. “Oh f**k, I’m going to put this on YouTube,” he yelled. A fellow gambler noted that the footballer “went from a million to zero” in just one minute.
Of course, the loss will likely have little serious impact on Neymar’s finances. Reports suggest that he makes £3.4 million per month with the PSG team. His fans watching made light of the situation too with one commenting that he would send Neymar his salary for the month to cover the losses!
April Fool Plays Out for Robbi Jade Lew and Poker News
April 1 is known around the world as April Fools’ Day – the day when people play practical jokes on one another. That extends to the poker world as well, which is exactly what Robbi Jade Lew and PokerNews combined their efforts for.
Many in the poker community were left with a grin on their faces when the news site printed a story about Lew. It said that the poker player would be publishing a book with the title of “If I Did It”. That book’s reported topic? Lew’s version of how she would have cheated while playing poker via live stream at Hustler Casino in California.
Nothing specifically amusing about that per se unless you know the basis behind the joke. Lew suffered allegations of cheating after she picked up $269,000 following a hand against Garrett Adelstein in September of 2022 wherein she called off her stack with J4 unimproved and won at showdown. Lew denied the allegations, and an investigation was openedwhich finished in December of the same year finding no evidence of cheating.
In the April Fools’ story published by Poker News, Lew was quoted as saying:
So many people think that I cheated, and while I won’t say they’re right, I would never say such a thing, I thought it would be fun to write a book about how I would have cheated if I’d actually done it. Which I didn’t.
Poker News made the announcement about the book on Twitter, which led to a bunch of comments from the site’s followers. Many admitted that they believed the article at first, before realizing it was an April Fools’ prank. It was made even more comical by the insinuation that Doyle Brunson allegedly wrote the forward for the book. If the title of the make-believe book sounds familiar, then you may remember that OJ Simpson wrote such a title after he was acquitted of murder.
Nevada Gamblers Labelled “Biggest Jokers”
Speaking of April Fools’ Day, it is now possible to understand who the biggest jokers in the United States. Research conducted by Gambling.com has discovered that Nevada residents like to act the fool more so than anywhere else in the country.
How did they manage to reach this conclusion? A study was published that measured the search volume on Google of specific comedy, prank, and joke terms. This information was then combined with the number of comedy clubs or comedy-related social meetups in each state. The top 20 list of the biggest joker states was then announced with Nevada claiming the top spot.
New York came in second place, with California following on in third. Other states also included in the list were Illinois (4th), Indiana (10th), Oregon (12th), Pennsylvania (18th) and tied for 19th position were North Carolina and Kentucky.
It’s not surprising to see Nevada take the top spot, considering it is home to a wealth of comedy clubs and acts. Las Vegas is like the entertainment capital of the world for such acts after all.
Perhaps more amusing than these joker states are the ones that barely racked up any points at all. Montana was highlighted as the least comedic state. With a very basic score of 14.5 out of 100 for comedic value, it seems as though the Big Sky Country doesn’t have a funny side to it. North Dakota and Wyoming were also labelled as un-funny locations in the U.S.
So if you’re thinking of relocating, you know exactly where to go to get a good laugh – Nevada, New York, or California!
Shaun Deeb Gambling on Weight Loss
Shaun Deeb has accomplished a lot in his poker career already, but his biggest challenge perhaps yet lies ahead of him. The five-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner is now gambling on himself.
Deeb has given himself 14 months to lose a significant amount of body fat and get into shape ready for the 2024 WSOP. Not only is he gambling on himself mentally, but on March 28, he actually placed a $100,000 wager on his ability to achieve 17% body fat by that time.
Deeb is betting against Bill Perkins, a wealthy businessman and fellow poker player, who has given him 10:1 odds. Should Deeb achieve the 17% body fat target, he’ll receive a huge payout of $1 million for his efforts.
It’s not unlike Perkins to issue such wagers especially when it comes to encouraging his friends to become healthier. In recent times, he won a similar wager against Doug Polk who entered into a $200,000 gamble. Polk said that he wanted to lose 50% of his body fat within one year. Unfortunately, Polk’s final scan showed that he was just below 2% short of achieving that, leaving Perkins with the payout.
Prior to that, Polk ended up getting the Sugar House Casino in Pennsylvania fined $32.5K by the state’s Gaming Control Board. The regulatory body had not approved 10-card stud poker for real money in the state’s casino venues, which is what Polk elected to play for a high-stakes “flip” against an opponent. Thus, the game Polk was involved in was considered a violation of Pennsylvania gaming laws.
Doug did become healthier through the gamble with Perkins though, which is what Deeb will also likely experience. It is now up to him to beat Perkins and win a large payout from the rich hedge fund manager. Shaun needs to achieve the 17% body fat level by May 30 of next year.
This won’t be an easy task to accomplish either. Deeb has struggled with his weight throughout his poker career, and it currently stands at around 306 pounds. Many gambling fans have weighed in (UCWWDT?) on his decision to do this, saying that he isn’t likely to win the wager.
Yet Deeb is a professional gambler, who has persevered through many trials before, and he is getting enviable 10:1 odds on the wager. Shaun has already begun attending the gym and posted a video to Perkins regarding his progress.
Deeb Makes Wacky News Yet Again
A few days before booking his weight loss bet, Deeb found himself at the center of an unrelated, though humorous, matter. While he was competing at the World Series of Poker Circuit event at Turning Stone Casinohe inadvertently lost $10,500 in cash before finally being able to recover it.
A friend of Deeb’s had $10,500 to give to him, which he did by wordlessly passing Shaun a box of protein bars with the cash inside while Deeb was playing at a poker table. Shaun, having no interest in protein bars and not knowing anything about the “extra” contents of the box, placed it on the floor and left it there when he walked away from the table.
While eating dinner several hours later, Deeb and his buddy had an enlightening “Three’s Company”-style conversation during which it finally dawned on both of them what happened. They returned to the tournament room to look for the box, but it was gone.
After frantic discussions with other players and alerting staff at the upstate New York resort, the box, with cash inside, was found inside a garbage container mere minutes before it would have been thrown in a dumpster and likely become unrecoverable. Deeb tipped the eagle-eyed janitor who spotted it $500 and gladly claimed his $10,500.
Oh, by the way, Shaun Deeb went on to win the Main Event of the Turning Stone WSOP Circuit series, scoring a prize of $275,916 and his first Circuit ring.