April 29, 2022
Gossip, Rumors & Buzz
Bryn Kenney defended himself against a stack of cheating accusations by a former member of his online poker stable in an interview with PokerNews’s Sarah Herring on Tuesday. But questions remain about his past role with GGPoker as a consultant, and whether or not he directed his players to play manipulatively in order to boost tournament numbers and meet prize-pool guarantees.
Last week, poker pro Martin Zamani stirred up the poker world by accusing the world’s biggest poker tournament money winner of running a poker stable that would work together, utilize real-time assistance (RTAs), and play in unethical ways that were “best for the team.”
Amid the subsequent poker community uproar, Kenney reached out to Herring, who says she has been a close friend for about a decade, and sat with her on Tuesday for the interview, which was streamed live on YouTube.
Questionable GGPoker partnership
Herring attempts to unpack a lot in the one-hour, 18-minute interview with Kenney, which focuses on his partnership with GGPoker, how Kenney used his stable of players to help meet tournament and satellite guarantees, and how much Kenney was paid by GGPoker for his affiliate work.
Zamani claimed Kenney earned upwards of $2 million a week from GGPoker, a matter Kenney wouldn’t address.
“I don’t really see that as [having] merit to answer,” Kenney said. “That’s, like, personal business I have with someone. I don’t feel like there’s any reason to answer that.”
Kenney became a GGPoker ambassador in March 2018, but told Herring he was with the site from its start in 2017. In November 2020, he quit as ambassador but remained as a consultant, saying he helped “grow their site [and] grow their guarantees to run bigger tournaments” and “helped them scale their business into what they were when they started into what they are today.”
That work allegedly included scheduling tournaments and satellites, then directing his horses to register to help GGPoker meet the prize-pool guarantees.
According to Zamani, Kenney told his players to alter their play to extend a tournament’s time and allow more people to enter. He cites an example of one horse folding aces preflop three-handed to make a satellite last longer.
CardsChat emailed GGPoker to request an interview, and did not hear back prior to publication.
Kenney confirms and denies
Kenney denied several of Zamani’s allegations, saying that his horses did not use real-time assistance (RTA) software and that he never had access to anyone’s screens while they played using the program TeamViewer.
He did not deny, however, accusations about team members working together or ghosting, but said it only happened a few times over the years.
He did confirm that he sent Zamani to a Las Vegas shaman who wanted to dose him with giant monkey frog poison, but denied he would bust his players down in stakes if they refused to follow his diet suggestions.
Poker vlogger Matt Berkey gave a “REACTION to Bryn Kenney Poker News Interview” on his OnlyFriends podcast, in which he tried to make sense of what he just heard:
“It has the least amount to do with cheating, but the most amount to do with nefarious activity, which is the idea of him, though no longer being a part of GG, still making a majority of his revenue from GG,” Berkey said. “Allegedly, he was on the hook for the prize pools and, allegedly, he was getting a big chunk, if not all, the rake in those early days of GG. So obviously, it’s not a traditional backing deal where your interest lies in them being profitable.”
Although Kenney was opaque with a lot of his answers, he made it clear how he sees himself in the pokerverse.
“I’m one of the most respected people in the industry for my word, for following my word,” Kenney said. “I see myself as the person who loves poker more than anyone in the world.”
Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never met suited connectors he didn’t like. If you liked what he is writing about, give him a follow on Twitter: @PondHockey2.
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