Chan Pelton Found Guilty in WSOP Tournament Chip Theft

by | Published: Friday, February 28th, 2014

As reported last week, Chan Pelton—winner of $47,061 and his third gold ring in the Event #9: $1,125 No-Limit Hold’em at the Palm Beach Kennel Club—was caught attempting to remove a T25,000 chip from play at the World Series of Poker Circuit.

He has now been found guilty and the act cost him dearly. He has been stripped of the title, disqualified from the WSOP National Championship, banned from all Caesars properties, and will receive no prize money. These punishments were handed down by both the PBKC and WSOP.

“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,” the 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.”

Penton claimed he only wanted the chip as a souvenir, but the PBKC stated that his intent was not considered in their investigation, as the removal of a chip is a violation of WSOP Tournament Rule 39, Section A, Part ii.

“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.”

“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,” Carbone added.

The WSOP had repercussions of its own to deal out to Pelton. Releasing a statement, it claimed: “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.”

In accordance with Rule 39, Pelton was disqualified from the event and his former title and prize money was awarded to the runner-up Chris Bolek.

Bolek is happy with the extra money, though he doesn’t see it as an actual win. “If anything, I’d say I of course welcome the extra money, but the tournament win and accompanying benefits feel tainted, and I in no way think this is a win for me.

“Doesn’t feel like a win whatsoever,” Bolek added. “This result wasn’t in my mind at all over the last two weeks, and I expected absolutely nothing to come of it at first.”

He doesn’t believe there was any ulterior motive behind Pelton taking the chip, just a moment of lapsed judgment.

“As far as the actual act of stealing the chip, my first inclination was that he genuinely wanted a souvenir and that he just did something really boneheaded,” Bolek told PokerNews on Wednesday, following the news of the ruling against Pelton. “I, in no way, felt cheated over the course of the tournament or questioned the result; and I still feel the same way now.”

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