If you haven’t followed poker Twitter the past few days, you’ve missed an all-timer when it comes to drama, and it all started with the news earlier this week that Garrett Adelstein isn’t welcome back on Hustler Casino Live for the time being.
From there, the story has branched into a three-way bitter battle that includes Doug Polk and Nikhil “Nik Airball” Arcot on one side, and Matt Berkey on the other.
No Longer ‘PC,’ Garrett Adelstein Teases Return to Live-Stream Poker, Trashes “Nik Airball”
How it all Started
To sum things up before getting into the details, the feud involves accusations of scamming, heads-up poker challenges (surprising!), and insults.
So, how’d they get here? Hustler Casino Live co-owner Nick Vertucci announced the show no longer has a game available for Adelstein, and then Adelstein trashed Nik Airball on Twitter, calling him a lousy poker player and “trash” human being.
Nik Airball then went on Polk’s podcast Wednesday to defend himself, and at the end of the interview he referred to Berkey as a “scammer” and challenged him to a heads-up match, which he claims Berkey ducked him multiple times.
Berkey then fired back on the Only Friends podcast, explaining that he has offered to play Airball heads up in Las Vegas and that he isn’t scared to play him (video below).
Where has the truth and dignity in the poker community gone? •
— Only Friends Podcast (@OnlyFriends_Pod)
On Thursday, Polk released another video where he analyzed a massive pot Berkey bluffed away to Eric Hicks in a recent Live at the Bike session. In that video, the Upswing Poker founder took shots at Berkey’s Solve for Why poker training academy. Now, three high-profile poker players are battling it out on social media for the entire community to see.
Poker Battle is Getting Juicy
Late in the Wednesday interview, which you can watch on YouTube, Polk said that he attempted to facilitate a heads-up match between Berkey and Airball but claimed Berkey wouldn’t commit to a time or place.
“I don’t really care, Berkey’s a scammer,” Airball responded. “When you run a training site and you can’t beat the games, you’re a scammer. You’re selling b******t. It just is what it is, you’re a scam-artist.”
Solve for Why is one of the most well-known poker training sites in the world, as is Upswing Poker, which is owned by Polk. But in a “Poker Hands” (Polker Hands?) video, Polk went hard after Berkey and the Solve for Why team.
“The action folds around to Matt Berkey in the straddle who looks down at the jack-four. Now, when you have a hand like jack-four, it’s important you build this pot,” Polk sarcastically joked. “Jack-four off-suit is a powerhouse. It can win all kinds of pots that you might not expect, and you don’t want to wait for later — build this pot right now.”
Berkey then three-bet his jack-four (aka “The Robbi”), and Hicks opted to just call with pocket kings.
After the flop was a complete brick for Berkey, he continued to bet out $7,000, or about half the size of the pot, and would ultimately bluff off nearly $100,000.
“The thing about your flops is you definitely want to spend thousands of dollars on them, like for example Matt Berkey’s training site,” Polk prodded.
Polk then mocked the “All-Star cast of characters” at Solve for Why, pulling up the team’s Hendon Mob results and ripping on Berkey’s lack of winning a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet and “the cash games we’ve seen.”
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Twitter Action Heats Up
If one heads-up challenge offer wasn’t enough to wet your appetite, there’s now a second one. Polk, who beat Daniel Negreanu for $1.2 million two years ago in a heads-up battle, also wants a piece of Berkey, and he’s willing to leave Texas to play, but it appears Berkey would rather play a ring game instead.
@DougPolkVids We’ll roll the red carpet out for you to come play full ring you washed up geezer. No one ever has no… https://t.co/ZC6RF6TiHY
— Matt Berkey (@berkey11)
Landon Tice, a member of the Solve for Why crew and friend of Berkey, proposed a Solve for Why vs. Upswing Poker heads-up challenge, except this one involves cage fighting instead of poker.
@LandonTice @berkey11 @GazzyB1233 @ChristianSotoNJ @SrslySirius @MntalHlthMatt @conrads411 @Dweisman13 Landon, it’s… https://t.co/G6ExVY5djJ
— Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids)
Dan O’Brien chimed in, asking Polk if he considers referring to Berkey as a “scammer” is called for, to which the Lodge Card Club co-owner responded, and then Berkey fired off an insult:
@DougPolkVids @berkey11 @nikairball You released a video calling him a scammer. Do you think an accusation like tha… https://t.co/rB7u4MVYVU
— Dan O’Brien (@DanOBrienPoker)
Whose Side are you On?
As you probably expected, for the most part those who follow Berkey and Only Friends are standing up for Berkey, whereas Polk’s followers seem to have his back in the feud.
“As an amateur, I used to idolise the poker guys on tv. As that has evolved into the streaming, it makes me want no part of it. Where’s the etiquette gone?” @DealMeHappy asked.
“Part of maturing in poker is realizing @DougPolkVids does things for the clicks. It’s understandable for business, but gross from an ethical level. Stuff like having @GmanPoker on for a nice conversation a year or so ago and then letting Airball trash him. Now Berkey gets flamed,” @BenParker1113 tweeted.
“You are not respected, except for by your podcaster co-hosts,” @sonofdeboer responded to a Berkey tweet, which isn’t an accurate statement no matter which side of the fence you’re on with this three-way feud.
Brett Mason (@betbrett) gave his two cents on the Upswing Poker versus Solve for Why battle. He made it clear which training academy he feels is the best.
@berkey11 This is your retort? Lol. And I’ve subscribed to both of your training sites. And there is no comparison… https://t.co/kgXLCnsSP5
— Brett Mason (@betbrett)
“That was the most savage thing you’ve ever done lol. The call out to Landon ‘you’re young it’s not too late’. 😅😂😭 Jesus christ. I like s4y guys so while I find it super harsh, I also eagerly look forward to the fallout from this,” @rich77nz tweeted at Polk.
“Words of advice for young people. Don’t get on Doug Polks bad side because he’s going to make a roast video of you of the century. And people will laugh at you for a 1000 years,” @30Talet wrote.
Many aren’t taking sides in the bitter feud, which at the time of publication seems far from over.