In an astonishing video that has cropped up on youtube over the past week, it seems Jean-Paul Pasqualini and fellow poker player Cedric Rossi are accused of cheating through the use of hand signals. These alleged signals were thought to be used to allow both players to communicate to each other what hands they were holding.
The video is eight minutes in length and has been chopped and compiled from the original footage of the 2009 Partouche Poker Tour Main Event to show evidence of how these two men went on to finish in first and second place through colluding and barely giving each other any action at the table.
The Hand Signals!
There were separate alleged signals which are believed to have been for each of the following cards:
Ace – Touch Top of the head
King – Touch Forehead
Queen – Rub the eye
Jack – Rub the nose
Ten – Touch the mouth
Eight or Nine – Touch the neck and chin
Small/Middle Pair – Touch the arms
The video shows some pretty damning evidence of hands between the two where those hand signals match up to the cards that each player has as their hole cards. On each occasion, the player with the weaker hand folded, with the two of them avoiding getting directly involved against each other in hands until they were heads up.
Probably the biggest piece of evidence comes at about the halfway point in the video. Pasqualini at this point is the short stack on the table and finds an A-K; he obviously raises, tells his opponent what he is holding through hand signals and awaits the fold. However, Rossi has an AA and frantically tries to communicate this with the rubbing of his head and then raises further.
Pasqualini has a little smile before folding his hand.
Not many poker players would be folding an A-K when they are the short stack at a final table, most would be re-raising all-in, unless of course they somehow knew that their opponents had a pair of aces.
After that hand he actually managed to get himself back into the game and in fact went on to win the event. He took home $1,430,000 for the victory whilst his alleged accomplice Rossi took home $870,000 for second place.
The man who put the video together is Nordine Bouya, a French player who claims he has been cheated by the pair himself.
Pasqualini has reacted angrily to the claims by insisting that the pair do not even know each other. This however, is not what he said in the interview after winning the tournament, where he stated that it was nice to have played on the final with his friend. Take a look for yourself below, to establish your own opinion.