Poker Pro Faces Illegal Gambling Charges

By Ben Hamill - March 15 2022

Poker Pro Faces Illegal Gambling ChargesThe Poker community knows Gal Yifrach for being a big name in the community, particularly for appearing in the Live at The Bike streamed show. He also managed to grab a World Series Of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in 2018, further cementing his already solid reputation. Though, his reputation may be about to take a serious blow, assuming that charges brought against him by the feds are true. Apparently Yifrach has also been masterminding an illegal gambling operation.

Taking a closer look at the report filed in the United States District Court of California the pro player is in some serious trouble, facing a count of operating an illegal gambling operation, as well as a count of conspiracy to launder money. It isn’t clear yet how the charges are going to progress, but the global Poker community is already reeling at the implications.

A Regular Nice Guy

Nick Vertucci, co-owner of Hustler Casino Live (HLC,) expressed shock at hearing the news. Vertucci is known for having interviewed the defendant not long ago, speaking to him about a particularly memorable hand. The co-owner, of course, declared that he had no idea what was going on, saying that Yifrach seemed like a regular nice guy. Vertucci added that he is saddened to hear the news, though did not make any further comment.

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It is easy to think that the pro player is perhaps being brought down on minor, or otherwise negligible incidents. But it seems that the matter is very serious. The indictment claims that Yifrach ran an illegal business between January 2018 and January 2022, involving a host of illegally obtained electronic gambling consoles. Both video slot machines and other devices are mentioned in the papers, painting a fairly grim picture.

The feds add that the pro player knowingly collected illegally obtained cash and laundered it, using gambling as a cover. It seems that Bell Gardens, California, was laundering his venue of choice.

Caught In The Act

As far as busting Yifrach is concerned, it seems as if the feds were monitoring his cell phone. He and co-defendant Shalom Ifrah apparently coordinated via electronic messages to run the scheme, meaning that there is little doubt as to what was going on. Several recorded exchanges detail explicitly how the cash was going to be exchanged for casino chips.

It truly is a sad day for the Poker community. If convicted the pro-player faces up to 5 years in jail for illegal gambling, and an additional 20 for money laundering. Since it appears as if the case is all but cut and dry, the legal Poker world will soon be missing one of its best players.