Three-time gold ring winner Chan Pelton hit the news big time last week but it wasn't over topping a field of 181 players in Event #9: $1,125 No-Limit Hold’em where he won his third ring and $47,061 in prize money. Pelton was attempting to remove a T25,000 chip from the table at the World Series of Poker Circuit Palm Beach Kennel Club.
Pelton has been stripped of the title, disqualified from the WSOP National Championship, banned from all Caesars properties, and the prize money isn't even a question — he receives none of it! Both the PBKC and WSOP rendered their decision on the punishment Pelton was to receive after their investigation was finished.
“An act of theft of poker room property — the removal of a poker chip off the poker table – by one of the two remaining players in the event – was confirmed by video surveillance and by the perpetrator in question, who later returned the stolen chip,” PBKC said in a statement. “PBKC’s review confirms that the integrity of the event was in no way compromised, and the impact of the incident only caused harm to the perpetrator himself.”
Although Pelton stands by the fact that he only wanted the chip as a souvenir, removing any chip is a violation of WSOP Tournament Rule 39, Section A, Part ii, and Pelton’s intent wasn't considered in the investigation according to the PBKC. Many posters in a dedicated TwoPlusTwo thread have made it known that they believe his real intent was to use it in the $1,675 Main Event.
With Pelton being disqualified from the event, in accordance with Tournament Rule 39, Section D, the title and first-place prize money, which had been frozen by the casino, went to the original runner-up, Chris Bolek.
NowYouCB Chris Bolek
I'll take it. 2014-02-26
“The integrity of our games is of upmost importance and regardless of the intent in question from this incident, we cannot sit idle and risk the stolen chips being re-introduced in the future,” said PBKC Card Room Director Noah Carbone. “We take great pride in providing a fair and secure environment for our valued patrons and this unfortunate incident, while discovered and handled swiftly, should serve as a reminder to players that tournament chips are the property of the poker room and must remain on the table at all times.”
Carbone went on to add, “As operators, we must follow the rules — just as we expect players to follow the rules — and any violation of the rules, must be dealt with in a manner that ensures integrity of the event in question, as well as future events. If rules infractions occur, we view incidents in the worst case scenario plausible, and as such impose penalties governed by our rules to ensure the best possible outcome for all players in the future and to best ensure integrity of events on a going-forward basis.”
Not only did Pelton damage his reputation and future in poker, he was also banned from PBKC property in the future. Pelton did not escape repercussions from the WSOP either, which released their own statement.
“The individual who admitted the theft and violation of tournament rules will no longer be eligible for the National Championship and is also being served an indefinite suspension from all WSOP-related events taking place at Caesars-owned properties, effective immediately,” the statement said. “This suspension is a companywide casino ban, forbidding the individual to step on any Caesars-owned property in the future. Failure to comply will result in trespassing charges, and possible further law enforcement.”
Pelton took down Event #2 $365 Pot-Limit Omaha Eight or Better for $12,181 earlier that week where he won his second ring. That win remains. Pelton should have been jumping for joy instead of trying to pick up a tournament chip because the two victories made him the favorite to win the Casino Championship at that stop. The Casino Championship awards a seat into the 2014 National Championship. The title will now go to the player second in points which appears to be Jeffrey Gunnip who holds 80 points.
Pelton had a problem with the law on a previous occasion as was reported on May 25, 2012, by KBTX Bryan/College Station, TX. After police found him asleep in a running car police searched his car after waking him and found a pound of packaged marijuana, Xanax pills, and $1,760 in cash. Pelton claimed the cash was obtained from online poker winnings. At the time Pelton reportedly admitted to police that he intended to sell the marijuana — his story changed since that time and he later denied the claim.
Image courtesy of WSOP.