Did Mike Leah 'buy' his WPT Title?

Controversy at the latest World Poker Tour event as the 'winner' appears to have struck a deal heads-up to win the title uncontested.

Mike Leah wpt
Mike Leah

Yesterday we brought you the news that Mike Leah won the WPT Fallsview Classic, his fourth title in five years at the festival.

The victory has attracted controversy since then as the poker community looked at the hand histories from the heads-up match, which appear to show his opponent Ryan Yu handed him the match.

Deals were not allowed in this event and after an unscheduled break, Yu made a fold when he was clearly priced in to leave himself with a micro stack. Suggesting that the two had made a cash deal in private to ensure Leah got the title. 

Deals happen all the time in poker but it is much rarer to see one player give up cash equity in order to secure the title (though William Kassouf did just that in 2016). In particular this outcome has been frowned upon because, unlike a transparent cash deal, this actually involved somebody purposely throwing the match.

Leah responded to the poker community this morning to explain the story behind the heads-up deal, confirming that is what happened, and why:

Poker players are competitors just like in any other sport, but unlike other sports the players are also customers who put up their own money to compete, so as such what consenting players do with the prizes they have secured between them is usually considered their business.  

However, one could argue there is an ethical issue at still at play here because Leah now gains ground in the Player of the Year Race and bags a $15,000 seat to the Tournament of Champions, so other players not at the final table will have been potentially impacted by this. 

What do you think of this incident? Let us know in the comments:

Share this page

Comments (3)

newest first
  • mktpppr


    lol funny as hell
  • CucumbaMan


    Wow this is interesting... and kinda sad the same time.
  • rompas


    If u chipdump online and get caught, you get banned cause its not allowed and in this event deals was not allowed so in my eyes this looks bad....