David Rheem SCUM Scandal May Give Epic Poker League Black Eye

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
David Rheem

News that poker pro David Rheem became the Epic Poker League’s first ever Main Event winner might not have been the type of press the fledgling tournament was looking for.

After Russ Hamilton, Jose “Girah” Macedo and Howard Lederer, Rheem might just be the most hated poker player out there right now.  In fact, Rheem is making a run to top last week’s most hated, Macedo.

Like Macedo, the so-called “Poker Prodigy” turned “Poker Prodromic”, Rheem is alleged to have cheated fellow players.  The poker community has not hesitated in applying the word “SCUM” to his name.  The situation is so bad that the Two Plus Two poker community had to start a new topics thread titled “Chino Rheem SCUM Part II”.  Will there be a Part III?

Rheem, a 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event finalist, is being accused of having scammed fellow poker pro Will Molson for $40,000.

"The incident occurred last year at EPT London. My friend brought Chino into our room to hang out and play some online. This was the first time I met him, but obviously I knew about him from all his TV appearances and from seeing him play in big tournaments," Molson writes as he describes the incident further.

"He claimed he needed PokerStars money so he can directly buy into the event and he would swap Full Tilt Poker money in return. He also says that his boy Michael Mizrachi needs the same hook-up, and tells me, after calling him, that I will be getting a transfer from "The Grinder" on Full Tilt Poker for both of them," Molson adds.

Molson inadvertently transferred $40,000 in funds each to Rheem’s and Mizrachi’s PokerStars accounts.  Mizrachi claimed later he was not vouching for Rheem and returned his $40K whereas Rheem reportedly went into hiding.  Not that Rheem would be very good at playing the game “Hide and Seek” as he turned up – and eventually won – the highly publicized Epic Poker League (EPL) Main Event.

"Grinder ships me back the $40k and says he never agreed to vouch or send for Chino. Chino then becomes very hard to get a hold of and is making all these excuses as to why he hasn't shipped on Full Tilt yet. After weeks and weeks of trying to get my money I finally get a text from him saying 'I'm broke and I can't get you the money'" Molson adds.

Rheem’s reputation as a “bad boy” was well known at the time he made it to the final table of the WSOP in 2008.  He gives a whole new definition to the word “hiding” since the Hollywood, Florida Police also suggested Mr. Rheem had been hiding from them the whole time he was making headlines for advancing to the Final Table.

Rheem, it seems, had an outstanding arrest warrant for trespassing. 

Eight years ago in Broward County, Rheem was convicted of dealing in stolen property and burglary, both felonies, as well as larceny and possession of marijuana, according to the Sun Sentinel. He was sentenced to four months jail time and 30 months probation.

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He also failed to appear in court on a 2003 misdemeanor trespassing charge in Hollywood, according to state criminal records, leading to a court order for his arrest. The warrant for his arrest no longer appeared to be active at the time of his 2008 WSOP appearance based on information provided by the Hollywood Police Department.

That police department later confirmed to Gambling911.com they would no longer be pursuing Rheem.

"There would be no reason for Florida to extradite David on this offense seeing that it's considered a misdemeanor and was given a ‘notice to appear' (ticket) which probably entailed some fines to pay," Lt. Marino told Gambling911's Jenny Woo.

The misdemeanor trespassing charge apparently involved a security guard asking Rheem to leave a particular property and when Mr. Rheem failed to do so, the security guard called the Hollywood P.D..

The arresting officer now lives in Georgia and informed the Hollywood Police Department that the case in questioned involved a misdemeanor, Woo reported at the time.

Still, none of this bodes well for Rheem.  His past transgressions heading into the 2008 World Series of Poker could have been considered just that, past transgressions.  People change, but evidently there is ample reason to suggest Rheem may be up to his old ways.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com