Poker Champion Anthony Zinno Accused of Theft in Vegas

Poker Champion Anthony Zinno Accused of Theft in Vegas

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The rumor

For a couple of weeks, there have been murmurs of another poker scandal. You always have to take these kinds of rumors with a pinch of salt, but day after day, more details emerged which, if true, are particularly damning. 

After bagging up in a tournament during the WPT World Championship in the Wynn, poker player Corel Theuma left his bag containing a bundle of cash at the table. According to Theuma, when the bag was retrieved, it was light, and the person implicated was WPT and WSOP champion Anthony Zinno.

Zinno is a very successful poker professional with a pristine reputation

When most people heard the rumor, they understandably figured or at least hoped it was false. It was an extremely concerning matter, as Zinno is a very successful poker professional with a pristine reputation. Surely he wouldn’t jeopardize his standing for a few bucks? Also, with cameras everywhere, surely he would realize that his every move would be recorded.   

The allegation

On Friday January 26th, the Only Friends podcast teased the story without going into too much detail. 

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During the episode, they showed a post from Willie Wiggins who said: 

“My friend Corel left his backpack in the room while bagging for the 3k tournament. He was searching for the bag all night because he had 20k in it and the next day the cops called him in – the encore saying that they have footage of Zinno taking the bag and running with it to the bathroom. He’s now officially banned from Encore and Wynn premises. Yet nobody at poker news or blogs are talking about it. Don’t want this thief to steal from anyone else in the future. He’s currently being investigated from pet(ty) larceny.”

On Monday, January 29th, Todd Witteles posted a version of the story to his “Poker Fraud Alert” website. This post was initially amplified by Ryan Laplante on Twitter, who later removed his tweet, explaining that Zinno had reached out to him denying the allegation. This prompted Corel Theuma to speak out himself. He said that “as the victim I’m confirming it” and that he was “working on getting [his] hands on the police report” and was happy to share it once it was in his possession. 

Theuma gives a public statement 

Scandals rarely break cleanly in poker. There is usually a period of time when rumors of wrongdoing swirl around in chat groups. Following this, there is often a forum post that shares the rumor with the community. Naturally enough, poker media outlets are reluctant to publish a story until it is more than just hearsay and with this particular story, there was further hesitancy on the part of poker writers because the alleged wrongdoer is a particularly well-regarded and decorated member of the poker community. 

It is clear that there has been an implicit but collective decision to tread carefully. However, at the point when either the accuser or the accused speaks out, a story immediately becomes newsworthy and later on Monday that is exactly what Theuma did, giving his side over a series of tweets:

“After bagging off the 3k I left my backpack under my chair – which yes, was a mistake. Like most of you have made. As I got to my cab outside Encore, I realize and sprinted back down the long hallway (cameras can show this) to retrieve my bag. The dealer was still at our table fixing the cards. I did not find the bag there. I asked security. I asked lost and found. Nothing. 

“The next day I called lost and found office. and they told me that someone had returned the bag. But that it only had $1,000 in it! When I know for a fact (and will do my best to prove) that I had 20k in it. Those close to me know my financial circumstances and so there is simply no need for me to lie about the amount. I went to pick up the bag back and filed a police report. 

Once I arrived I saw Ant Zinno locked up being questioned.”

“That night I was called in by the high up security officers at the encore – they said metro was there and wanted to speak to me as they had the suspect in custody. Once I arrived I saw Ant Zinno locked up being questioned. I have not reviewed the footage myself. I can only go with what the security officers shared with me that night (and the reason they told me he was banned from wynn properties for good) that there was footage of Anthony taking the bag and going to the bathroom with it. 

“This will be my last public statement on the matter. I am working with law enforcement and my lawyers to track down the police report. Once I get my hands on it, I’ll share my findings – under the guidance of my legal team.”

Red flag

All scandals hurt the game, both within it and with how it is perceived from the outside. This rumor, which has now become an allegation, is particularly troubling as it involves a big name, a poker champion who has historically made headlines for all the right reasons. 

Even if there turns out to be no proof that Zinno stole money from the backpack, it remains a worry if he did pick it up and bring it to the only place where there weren’t cameras. Finding the backpack and not immediately handing it to the dealer who has the names of all the players at the table is an immediate red flag. 

I believe that the report and video will speak for themselves”

Yesterday, VegasSlotsOnline News reached out to both Corel Theuma and Anthony Zinno to discuss the allegations. Theuma responded by saying that he had just completed a one-hour interview with PokerNews on the matter and is confident that the truth will come to light. 

“I can tell you that I just received the police report. I’ve been advised to not share it as it would interfere with the ongoing investigation. However, I can say that upon review, I believe that the report and video will speak for themselves.”

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