What was expected to be a congenial live poker tournament at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas turned into a mud-slinging festival last weekend when two highly successful poker pros, American Jimmy Fricke and Canadian Doug Lee, butted heads. Oddly enough, the dispute arose after a hand in which Fricke was not even involved, but his vehement disagreement with how Lee swiped the pot was more than Fricke could repress.
It all started at the final table of the PHamous Poker Series Main Event, a $565 NLHE tournament with $500k GTD hosted by the Las Vegas poker room at Planet Hollywood. Everything was copasetic across the felt right up until the 30k/60k blind level when a particular hand was dealt. Pre-flop, the player under the gun shipped an estimated 600k stack, declaring he was all in. The highest stack at the table then called from middle position. Seated in the big blind, Doug Lee, who’s scooped 2 WSOP Circuit Rings and just under $1.4 million in live poker tournament winnings over the last decade, announced, “All in, two million.”
The table’s highest stack glanced at Lee and asked, “Two million?”
“Yes,” said Lee, immediately confirming the size of his all-in raise.
The big stack proceeded to fold his hand, awaiting the result of the showdown between Lee and the previous all-in bettor. As the cards played out, Lee’s A-K got the best of his opponent’s pocket 5’s, and Lee was awarded the pot. But there was more going on around the table as the hand played out.
Jimmy Fricke, who’s been grinding the virtual felt of online poker sites since 2005, transitioning successfully to live poker in 2007, had noticed something out of place. The moment Doug Lee announced he was all in for “two million”, Fricke began taking a mental count of Lee’s stack, and according to the young poker pro from Illinois, it simply didn’t add up. Fricke alleges that Lee’s chips couldn’t have amounted to more than 1.5 million, but that the subsequent fold from the big stack occurred too quickly for Fricke to point it out. In the end, words were exchanged, but tournament directors did nothing to abate the situation and the tournament played on.
At that point, Jimmy immediately took to Twitter to explain what had just transpired at the $500k Las Vegas poker event’s final table.
“I’m right next to him, he clearly only has like 1.35-1.4m. He has 7 40 stacks of 5k chips. Before I can say anything, the big stack says “2 million?” “Yes.” and the big stack folds. Doug then wins with AK v 55. I say something as they’re shipping the chips to him and he called me a fat internet loser. Very witty sir. Floors do nothing for the massive angle or the insults after.”
Before long, the conversation was picked up at the popular online poker forums, TwoPlusTwo, where Fricke continued to comment on the duplicitous tactics of Doug Lee. “He stole thousands of dollars in equity from people at the table, myself included. He’s a total scumbag *******. This was just straight up cheating,” Fricke objected, going on to protest the fact that tournament managers did nothing to resolve the issue.
According to another poster who claims to have been a witness at the table, more transpired between the event’s players while Fricke was arguing the case with floor managers. According to that player, who goes by the name Joe Tall on 2+2, several other comments were made to the effect of, “WTF Doug, dont you call anyone a nerd here. If anyone at this table should call someone something, it shouldnt be you,” and “how many chips you got Doug? <Doug gives some number> Is that <number> or is that amount inflated by 50% always?”
Other posters who eventually got in on the thread’s conversation sided with Fricke, saying that Lee has been “angle shooting” for years, and that such tactics are simply unacceptable in the game of poker. One posed the question that if the Canadian poker pro has been caught time and again using such duplicitous means against fellow poker pros, there’s no telling how many times he’s cheated recreational players who aren’t adept enough to realize the error.
Thus far, Doug Lee has offered no comments nor made any effort to rebuff the accusation.