Are you a poker player who uses YouTube? If you are, then you might have seen a few videos featuring Luda Chris floating around.
Luda Chris is one of the most entertaining players to grace the Hustlers Casino Live streams. He is known for aggression, accepting almost any cards sent his way, and making preflop calls that would make a poker coach weep.
These days, we usually see him on HCL. In earlier years, Chris was also on Live at the Bike (at the Bicycle Casino), a less-polished precursor to Bally Live Poker.
According to some estimates, he's up almost $300,000 since August 2021, despite his wild style.
- He was Ryan Feldman's roommate for about 3 years. Ryan is the founder and producer of Hustlers Casino Live, but also the person who invited Chris onto the show.
- Luda Chris keeps one of the highest VPIPs at the table at all times. On a recent stream, he had 77% VPIP. According to an estimate from a poker tracking site, his average VPIP is 44%. You'll see why this is relevant in a moment.
Now you know more about who Luda Chris is. Let's see what happened in this hand from January 30th, 2024, when another player accused him of cheating.
By the end, the accused offered to strip, but they were not playing strip poker.
The Hand Luda Chris Cheated In (Allegedly)
Four hours and twenty minutes into the Hustlers Casino stream, the table is lively and everyone seems to be enjoying the game.
Two players are the focus in this hand:
- Luda Chris: UTG +1 with a stack of ~$66,000.
- GT: UTG +4 with a stack of ~$129,000.
A new round starts (watch the full clip here) and GT picks up . The game is extremely loose. We see a limp from , then Luda Chris with , then , and then joins the limp-fest (because why not).
GT bumps it up to $1,000 and gets a call from Francisco to his left with . Perhaps this was a 3-bet spot, although GT has gone with a pretty large size and Francisco will still have position over him.
Mike X, instead of throwing away away and only paying $50, chose to pay $950 and see a flop out of position.
Luda Chris, being the agro player we've told you about, quickly 3-bets to $6,000. Now there is $9,175 in the pot and GT folds his arms, mulling over the amazing spot he's in.
Of course, calling here and potentially seeing a 4-way flop would be disastrous with Aces, so GT raises to a hefty $19,000.
Francisco sees the raising chips in GT's hand and folds in seconds.
Chris makes the "I wasn't expecting that 4-bet" face, thinks for a minute, and puts in the call. He's put in almost 30% of his stack with a suited connector, out of position. This strategy is definitely not solver-approved.
The Flop Action
The atmosphere feels a little tense as the flop is dealt. It's , perfect for someone trying to crack Aces.
Luda Chris quickly checks the flop, probably feeling a wave of relief that his preflop blunder somehow worked out.
How much would you bet on this flop? GT thinks for quite a while before slowly placing $15,000 out on the table; under half-pot.
Luda doesn't need to raise. He's way ahead of anything that isn't specifically or , plus it's a rainbow board at this point. Nothing really threatens his hand yet. If GT happens to be ahead by some miracle, it's a risk Chris is happy to take.
In goes the call, and heading to the turn, Luda has less than half of a pot-sized bet left in his stack.
The Turn Action
On the turn, there's over $70,000 in the middle. Luda Chris checks immediately again, maybe thinking GT will fire a second barrel with a huge portion of his flop c-bet range.
Now, GT probably realizes that Chris is so short-stacked and pot-committed that any bet will send him all-in.
Chris could easily have a worse hand than Aces, because, that's the kind of player he is. He likely would have called the flop with several worse hands, like + or .
In fact, GT is probably way ahead of most of Luda's range, but he still checks back.
The River Action
The comes on the river, changing very little about the board, which now reads .
No immediate check this time from Luda Chris. No way. "All in," he announces.
"Count please," GT calmly says, looking pretty unfazed.
"I have to call."
"Trips!" Luda says, maybe a little too enthusiastically.
Do you wish Luda Chris played in your online games? This is exactly the kind of preflop call that many online players dream of – even though it didn't work out for GT this time.
- Increased first deposit bonus
- Increased rakeback and reloads
- Help with deposits and cashouts
- Access to closed freerolls
- Round-the-clock support
The Accusations Start
GT remained relatively silent in the moments after the hand, other than saying "Brilliant" sarcastically a few times.
But from the footage, he appears to be stewing and very unsettled about what just happened.
The players started to talk about the preflop call from Chris, which was $19,000. Obviously, an outrageous amount to call out-of-position with some suited connectors. At the very best, it's sub-optimal. At the worst, it's lighting money on fire.
Perhaps feeling that the other players were on his side, GT spoke up. "Check him, check him. Really, really – right now. Check him right now, seriously."
"For what?" a player said.
GT replied, "I don't know, just check. See what's beeping on his fucking body right now. This is unbelievable."
At this point, most players were probably just shocked about the size of the preflop call, not suspicious about it.
GT wasn't finished though, even though the conversation about the hand seemed to die down.
"I'm not playing with you guys anymore, this is fucking rigged."
At this point, Nick Vertucci (the creator and producer of the show) briefly spoke over the livestream. He let the audience watching know that he was going to let the situation play out.
GT turned to his right, to JBoogs, someone who has played many hours with Luda Chris.
"There's no explanation for this," he told JBoogs. "The guy calls 19k with 6-8 suited and just flops it. I mean tell me something is not beeping here up his ass."
And GT kept going, saying "It's not a normal play. I'm telling you, it's not a normal play – it's not a normal flop."
"I talked to Ryan about this. A lot of people warned me about coming here. "Do you really wanna go back there?" is what they tell me about everything else, because this is evidence of that."
Mike X made an attempt to calm things down. "As much as I agree with you on how lucky he is--"
But GT cut him off. "I don't think it is luck".
Luda Chris finally chimed in, "I'm sorry GT, just gambling really."
And then, "GT, in The Big Game I called a third of my stack with Jack-five suited against you when you had Kings, come on"
Having none of it, GT shook his head, "It's too much of a coincidence for it to be just a coincidence, my friend."
"Every time I come here there's a cooler like this. It happens instantly when I buy big, I'm actually not playing tomorrow. It's just too perfect," said GT.
Here is a condensed list of other things GT said after the hand:
- The deck was rigged somehow, giving Luda a payout the hand after GT had added-on.
- Regulars like Luda Chris get paid by "the guys who just come here now and again" like himself.
- He was the "appointed/anointed/designated loser" for the hand.
- He "put Luda on Kings."
- He still had a lot of chips left after the bad beat and maybe there would be another "setup hand."
It seemed like GT lost steam, and when players started laughing about searching Luda Chris, the group's suspicion was at an all-time low.
"He's offering it, so, I'd kind of like to see it," joked Mike X about the strip search. "I am offering," confirmed Chris, with a shrug.
Like Clark Kent willingly becoming Superman, Luda Chris offered to become Nude-a-Chris.
Minutes later, he said the words that nobody thought they'd hear on a poker stream, or on any stream for that matter.
"I would fully submit to a full naked check. I'm not trying to make fun of him, I understand his upsetness."
Many players said they appreciated the offer, except GT, the one at whom it was directed.
GT Has Left the Building
About 20 minutes after the bad beat, GT quietly got up and grabbed his backpack, book, and rack. There was no commotion, no parting comment, and no table talk at all. Someone joked, "It's way too quiet in here."
Everyone laughed and GT eventually walked off-screen.
Like high-schoolers gossiping, conversation about the hand immediately started.
JBoogs correctly points out that, "Chris is never supposed to have an 8 there, but he [GT] doesn't play enough with Chris to know that he can have an 8 there."
Luda, who'd been fairly quiet, said, "Nothing really needs to be said there, do you know what I mean?"
"I assume he will think it over and maybe apologize in a week or something."
Hustler Casino Live Responds to the Hand
Chris hasn't been arrested or banned – and probably won't be. In fact, Nick Vertucci, one of the controlling interests of HCL, had a statement that echoed what a lot of players were thinking.
"Me and Ryan like GT a lot, we always have. I’m shocked. Look, we could have muted it [the stream] but we let it cook. We have nothing to hide. I heard it for the first time with you. I’m only going to say a few things because I’m not going to sit here and look defensive because GT doesn’t understand that Aces get cracked. And I mean this respectively – If you watch this show enough, it is not uncommon for Chris to play a hand this way. I’ve been in many of them. It's pretty regular and this is why he gets paid because he does things like this"
And for anyone who is still unsure, Nick says that past videos of Luda Chris making ludicrous plays will help.
"Go back and watch as many hands as you want from Luda and you will come to the conclusion that nothing happened."
Garrett Adelstein Chimes In
Famous participant in the Jack-four hand, Garrett Adelstein, gave the internet his thoughts on the cheating scandal.
As someone who has been allegedly cheated on the Hustler Casino Live, his perspective is somewhat unique.
This hand is not suspicious. It has 0 in common with J4. And I am not responsible for the reputation of HCL—they made their own bed.— Garrett Adelstein (@GmanPoker) January 31, 2024
That being said, I specifically chose to avoid playing in games with Luda despite how poorly he played. Former LATB owners and Bicycle Casino…
So, despite not feeling that Luda Chris' hand was suspicious, he did think that Luda was suspicious. This launched Ryan Feldman and Garrett into a multi-tweet argument that is too large to sum up here. You can read their full back-and-forth on Twitter/X.
Alex Duvall also let loose a few tweets on the hand and started a poll. Things went as you would expect.
This guy had his Aces cracked on @HCLPokerShow last night so he accused the show/Luda of cheating him. Luda offered to be strip searched but sadly was not taken up on the offer. Emergency video incoming 🤣 pic.twitter.com/Fk0yxiLDmQ— Alex Duvall (@alexduvallin) January 31, 2024
Almost every tweet under Alex's post echoes the poll's results.
Classic Luda or Suspicious Action?
If this hand was played at micro-stakes with the same hands, nobody would question any of Chris' preflop play.
Now, this is a $25/$50 game, with an ante, so shouldn't Chris be playing tighter? Isn't it suspicious that he made that preflop call?
Probably, but not the way Luda Chris plays. Out of everyone at the table that night, only Big John had a higher VPIP. For years and years, 3-betting suited connectors (often much worse than ) have been Luda's bread and butter.
We don't even have to dig very far back to find examples of this. About 30 minutes before the vs hand, GT and Luda Chris have a preflop war.
Mike X raises to $400, Luda Chris 3-bets to $1,600, and GT 4-bets to $5,000.
Chris makes the fold, but he would have crushed the flop and instantly made a boat. He even said that he wanted to call, but perhaps was a bit too loose of a call, even for him.
It seems like folding preflop would be bad if you knew about this flop ahead of time
In this hand, Luda's 3-bet was 4x the open. In the vs hand, his 3-bet was 5x the open, but there were more players in the hand (and he was out of position).
The Key Takeaway
While our sympathy is with GT's pocket Aces, this hand does not come close to qualifying as cheating.
It's a bad beat, and not even a very bad one. Ask any low or micro-stake online player about this hand and you'll barely see an eyebrow raise. The stakes are high, but as Luda Chris has shown us for years, that doesn't always make the game nittier.
Nothing that led to this hand was very unusual, given the context.
Variance smiled on Luda's cards, betraying the dreams of another. He was just over 20% to win the hand, according to a quick calculation. Not great, but not even close to a highlight level of bad beat.
As experienced players know, poker is a long-term game. Tonight, calling a 4-bet out of position with worked, but it's a losing play in the long run.