An altercation caught on video between poker pros Mike Dentale and Jared Hamby ended with Dentale being disqualified from a poker tournament at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
The video, posted on Hamby’s Twitter account and since deleted, showed Dentale getting in Hamby’s face and threatening to assault him.
Dentale and Hamby were seated at adjacent tables in the $2,000 buy-in event when the incident began.
Artur Rudziankov, a Czech poker player in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, was seated at Dentale’s table and he said the problems started with the previous dealer.
“The dealer before the one seen in the video was super bad,” said Rudziankov. “He was making tons of mistakes. I was a little tilted myself.”
Dentale and the previous dealer had words but Rudziankov said it wasn’t serious.
Then the next dealer sat down and before any cards were dealt, he and Dentale got into an argument.
“Mike is in seat nine so he collects 25 ante from himself, the guy in seat 8 and me,” explained Rudziankov.
Lizzy Harrison, Hamby’s girlfriend and the person who filmed the video, was playing in the event and sitting at Dentale’s table.
She says that the dealer had already pulled in the antes and Dentale splashed his big blind into the pile and reached in to remove it.
Either way, that’s when things started to get heated.
“Then the dealer says in an angry voice to never do that and gets confrontational.”
Rudziankov says he told the dealer no one would touch the antes from then on and to just deal the cards, but the dealer refused to start the hand.
“Mike apparently said something to the dealer because he was tilted. I can’t confirm or deny what he said because I was pretty stunned by the dealer’s behavior towards us.”
Both Harrison and Rudziankov said that the dealer called the floor at this point.
The dealer claimed Mike had been berating him and using the f-word.
“I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard any f-words from Mike at this point,” said Rudziankov.
This is when the video begins, with Hamby standing up from his seat and calling out that he heard Dentale call the dealer an ass moments before.
The video showed Dentale jump out of his seat and walk around the table directly towards Hamby, saying, “What if I just punch you in the fucking face?”
Now Dentale and Hamby are chest to chest and there’s a small physical altercation when Hamby puts his hand on Dentale’s chest and Dentale swats it aside.
Dentale is yelling at Hamby to mind his own business and swearing loudly. At this point another woman starts loudly telling Dentale to stop because there are young girls present.
Hamby later tweeted that there was a dance competition in the convention center near the poker room and there were many young girls and their parents in the vicinity.
Following the altercation Dentale was disqualified from the tournament but did not receive any further ban.
Together Again at WSOP
One day after the incident both Hamby and Dentale were playing in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker, separated from one another by about ten poker tables.
PokerListings.com spoke to both Hamby and Dentale and it turns out there was already bad blood between the two.
“I don’t like him,” said Dentale about Hamby. “He’s a far-left liberal that always has to comment on how I am.”
“It’s all on Twitter, politics shit. I have a lot of liberal friends and I don’t give a shit. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind.
“If I believe a certain way let me be. They’re always commenting on it and what I should do and it’s gotten to the point where there’s bad blood.
“In this situation, he wasn’t even at the table. He doesn’t know the whole story. And now he’s putting his two cents in and throwing me under the bus.”
“I just lost it.”
Hamby had a different take on how things played out.
“I saw what I perceived to be a small injustice happening right in front of me and I chipped in with what I had heard him say,” said Hamby.
“This is a business environment and there are so many negative ramifications from that kind of behavior. It turns recreational players off, it makes dealers uncomfortable. There’s nothing positive that comes from it.
“Now I feel like I’m caught up in this whole thing because I said six words, trying to correct something that happened right in front of me.
“And because I stood up for this small wrong I’m a target for all this harassment from people on Twitter.”
There was a storm of tweets back and forth between Hamby and Dentale today with Dentale and others describing Hamby in very negative terms.
Dentale Defends Himself, Apologizes
According to Dentale he didn’t swear or berate the dealer and Artur Rudziankov’s story supports that.
Rudziankov said that up until the point when Hamby got involved, it was mainly the dealer who was out of line, not Dentale.
But Dentale admits that after that point his behavior was inexcusable and goes on to try to explain it.
“I did threaten to punch him in the face. I’m guilty of that and there’s no excuse for that,” said Dentale.
“Really what frustrated me is that if Jared had just not interjected it would have been a normal argument and that would have been that.
“The video doesn’t show everything leading up to it. It just shows the part where I get up and lose my head.
“I have a certain personality. I grew up on the streets, had a lot of fights. I have an emotional personality. So if you’re someone who’s constantly interjecting and annoying, it’s like a relationship between a man and a woman.
“A man should never raise his hands towards a woman. All of a sudden they show a man who beat up his wife and gets arrested you think, ‘What a piece of shit, throw away the key,’ then all of a sudden they show all the stuff that led up to that, the emotional abuse, her berating him and putting him down. It doesn’t give him the right but you say, ‘Okay the guy snapped after all those years of abuse.’
“It never justifies it but all of a sudden it makes sense why the guy lost his mind. And that’s almost the case with me. When you keep interjecting and getting in my business and stirring the pot with me, there’s only so much I can take.
“If I could do it again I would just ignore him.”
Following our interview, Dentale tweeted an apology. Hamby agreed to take down the video and squash it.