Pro Poker Player Banned for Cheating in the Brazilian Series of Poker

Posted on: November 23, 2023, 06:55h. 

Last updated on: November 23, 2023, 10:29h.

While it’s possible to argue that a novice poker player may make a mistake at the table, that argument doesn’t hold up if it involves an experienced poker pro. That was the excuse Brazilian poker player Rafael Caiaffa made during a recent tournament, but his antics have cost him an indefinite ban from the game.

Brazilian poker player Rafael Caiaffa during a tournament
Brazilian poker player Rafael Caiaffa during a tournament. He has received a suspension from BSOP tournaments for cheating. (Image: SuperPoker)

Online poker media outlet Mundo Poker reported that Caiaffa violated a tournament rule during the Latin America Poker Tour (LAPT), leading to a suspension from all Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP) tournaments on Monday. The incident occurred early on Day 2 of the LAPT Mystery KO event, which had a buy-in of BRL5,000 (US$1,019).

During a table change where alternate players were being seated, a new table was set up with starting stacks already in the dealer’s possession. Caiaffa was given a seat at the table and inadvertently received an extra starting stack on top of the stack he brought to the table. At this point, it wasn’t too late to turn back.

Stashing the Stack

Realizing the error, Caiaffa stashed 100,000 in chips, equivalent to the starting stack, in his backpack. Later, during a table change and experiencing losses from his initial stack, he reintroduced the saved 100,000 chips.

However, all of his movements were caught on camera and by other players. They approached tournament officials and told them what happened, leading to Caiaffa’s prompt suspension.

Caiaffa has an established history of playing live and online poker. He appears as far back as 2008 in the World Series of Poker annals, and has also played on GGPoker. On the latter, he won a bracelet last year in the $2,500 NLHE Championship.

During an interview with Marcelo Souza, the editor of Card Player Brasil, Caiaffa admitted that he cheated when he kept the chips. He said he realized immediately that there had been a mistake and, according to his account of the story, told a friend that he would return the stack.

Caiaffa eventually rationalized his way out of coming clean. He told himself that the tournament dealer had made the mistake, which justified his subsequent decision to keep and play the chips.

Following his disqualification from the LAPT event and suspension from the BSOP festival, Caiaffa admitted to the extra stack addition and conceded that the suspension was warranted. While the suspension covers the current BSOP events, it could become a more permanent ban.

Devanir Campos, BSOP’s Director of Tournaments, said that BSOP officials will get together after the series wraps up to discuss what needs to happen. That could mean a lifetime ban.

BSOP Becomes Huge Draw

The BSOP Millions has established itself as the pinnacle of live poker in Brazil, currently underway in São Paulo. Sponsored by PokerStars, this series began on November 15 and runs through November 29 at the WTC Sheraton Golden Hall, marking the largest poker festival in the country.

With 100 tournaments spanning 15 days, the series guarantees BRL40 million (USD$8.2 million) in cash, a substantial increase from the previous year. Renowned players, such as Sam Greenwood, Jose Ignacio Barbero, Fedor Holz, and Philipe Pizzari Pinto, have graced the event in the past.

The Main Event, already drawing over 2,315 participants, promises an enticing BRL10 million (US$2.03 million) guarantee, solidifying BSOP Millions as a must-attend spectacle for poker aficionados and top-tier players alike.