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Poker Staking Controversies: When Poker Dreams Turn into Nightmares

Suspicious poker player holding chips and cards.

Poker staking deals can be an exciting and potentially lucrative way for investors to become part of the action without playing a hand. However, as with any financial transaction, disputes can arise, and misunderstandings can turn a profitable deal into a bitter feud. Let’s take a look at some of the more recent poker staking controversies involving prominent poker players.

1. The Maurice Hawkins Debacle

Maurice Hawkins, a multiple WSOP Circuit ring winner, is no stranger to staking controversies. Despite his successful track record, his staking relationships have often ended in disputes and even lawsuits. The most recent controversy involves allegations that Hawkins owes over $100,000 to a backer, Randy Garcia, with whom he entered into an agreement two years prior. The matter, currently unsettled, has even led to a lawsuit (source).

2. Cate Hall’s Public Dispute

Cate Hall, known for her impressive tournament winnings, became embroiled in a staking controversy with her backer, Chad Power. The dispute centered around an alleged debt of $60,000, with Hall accusing Power of using “extortion” and “strong-arm techniques.” Power defended his claims, stating that Hall agreed to the debt as part of their staking agreement. The unusual nature of this dispute highlighted the importance of having clear, transparent, and mutually agreed upon terms in a staking deal (source).

3. Ian O’Hara’s Staking Scandal

Ian O’Hara, a professional poker player with $4 million in live earnings, was publicly accused by former poker pro and commentator Kane Kalas of scamming him and Jonathan Jaffe out of six figures. Kalas alleges that O’Hara, with whom he had a 50/50 staking arrangement, failed to disclose that he was also being backed by Jaffe. After discovering numerous inconsistencies in O’Hara’s reported winnings and losses, Kalas and Jaffe concluded that O’Hara had been fabricating data, resulting in a significant financial loss for both backers (source).

These cases emphasize the crucial importance of clear and legally binding staking agreements. In all three incidents, the lack of formal, written agreements led to misunderstandings and disagreements, resulting in public disputes and financial losses. Avoiding such controversies is possible by using a platform like, which provides secure, signed and legally binding staking contracts that are accessible via the cloud and downloadable as a PDF. The contract also has an audit trail so no one change the contract without evidence. By ensuring all parties are on the same page, such contracts can protect your investment and maintain the integrity of the game.

For more information, take a look at our single Tournament Staking Contract or our ongoing Cash Staking Contract products.

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Big Returns from Poker Staking: 5 Notable Success Stories

Poker player after a big win surrounded by money flying in the air.

Poker staking is a phenomenon that has transformed the landscape of professional poker, providing opportunities for players and investors alike. While the risks are evident, there have been numerous instances where backers have reaped substantial rewards from their investments. This article brings to light some of the most notable examples of big returns from poker staking.

1. The Phenomenal Success of Joe Cada

One of the most prominent examples of successful poker staking is Joe Cada, who secured the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event title at the tender age of 21. Cada’s entry to the event was reportedly backed by financial supporters who received a generous share of his $8.5 million prize money. This event vividly demonstrated the high-stakes world of poker staking, where an investment can lead to life-changing returns.

2. The Story of Scott Blumstein

Scott Blumstein, an unknown poker player before the 2017 WSOP Main Event, is another story of poker staking success. Prior to the event, Blumstein sold shares of his action, allowing friends and family to invest in his tournament performance. The move proved fruitful as Blumstein clinched the title and a $8.15 million prize. His backers received hefty returns on their investment, highlighting how poker staking can transform a game of cards into a lucrative investment opportunity (source).

3. Martin Jacobson’s Triumph

Swedish poker pro, Martin Jacobson, won the WSOP Main Event in 2014 and with it, the $10 million first prize. Jacobson’s win didn’t just benefit him; it also paid off big for his backers. Before the event, Jacobson sold stakes of his tournament action on an online poker staking platform, turning his backers into instant millionaires following his victory (source).

4. The Ivan Demidov Effect

Russian player Ivan Demidov’s performance in the 2008 WSOP Main Event is another landmark instance of successful poker staking. Demidov finished second, bagging a whopping $5.8 million. Reportedly, a considerable portion of his action was staked, delivering a sizeable payday to his backers (source).

5. Jamie Gold’s Record-Breaking Win

The largest first-place prize ever awarded at the WSOP Main Event was $12 million, won by Jamie Gold in 2006. Gold sold stakes to a number of backers prior to the event, with the ensuing victory resulting in colossal returns for his investors (source).


Poker staking allows investors to become a part of the thrilling poker world, offering opportunities to share in the victories of successful players. These stories illuminate the immense potential returns from backing the right horse. Yet, it’s essential to note that such returns are not guaranteed. Investment in poker players should be seen as an exciting venture with the potential for big returns rather than a sure-fire way to riches.

At, we provide comprehensive and secure poker staking contract solutions, ensuring your investment is protected, and your agreement is transparent and fair. Navigate the exciting world of poker staking with us, and who knows, you might just back the next poker sensation!