Poker’s Biggest Bad Boys Of 2014

December 25th, 2014 | by Kaycee James
Mars Callahan

While plenty of scandal surrounded this year’s list of bad boys, only Mars Callahan had death threats to his rap. (Image:

Poker’s 5 Biggest Bad Boys of 2014 is a star-studded list. Big name players were ill-behaved over the past 12 months, giving them an honor most wouldn’t want.

However, these five men don’t play by the rules or adhere to typical moral standards, which is why they would likely be flattered to be recognized on this list as one of the “bad boy’s of poker.”

Today’s game is played for more money than ever before, and with stakes now at levels that attract not only highly skilled players, but also crooks. From online poker cheats and illegal betting rings, to death threats and extortion, this rat pack has raised the limits for next year’s bad boys to aspire to.

#5. Darren Woods

Now claiming the unsought title of being the first person criminally prosecuted for online gambling activities in the United Kingdom, Darren Woods’ reputation has flopped since his 2011 World Series of Poker bracelet win.

After a forum poster representing high-stakes players named “feruell” accused Woods of being a cheat and scammer on 888poker, costing them “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” 888’s fraud department looked into his activities.

Woods pleaded guilty in October to fraud and collusion when evidence was revealed he had opened Moneybookers and Skrill accounts in third-party names that allowed him to collect huge bonuses and commission fees.

#4. Mars Callahan

Mars Callahan is a former WSOP Main Event contender, but he’s also a TV producer and actor, which makes sense considering his 2014 resembled something straight out of Hollywood script.

Callahan was sued this year by Gawk Inc., his former production company, for fraud, improper use of corporate funds, racketeering, and even making death threats.

The suit alleges Mars stole money from the company in order to make improvements to his house. The case is still under deliberation.

#3. Christian Lusardi

The Borgata Winter Poker Open last January was abruptly canceled with 27 plays remaining after it was revealed Christian Lusardi was playing with counterfeit chips. Lusardi had cashed in the $560 no-limit hold’em event to the tune of $6,814.

However, he was discovered to be using fake chips when he attempted to flush 2.7 million worth of them down the toilet in his Harrah’s hotel room. When the pipes clogged and water dripped into rooms below, Christian’s run was flushed.

#2. Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey is one of the biggest names in poker, often considered the best all-around player in the sport today. He claims his luck ran wild playing punto banco baccarat at Crockfords in 2012, winning $12.4 million.

The London casino accused Ivey of edge-sorting, a technique where the player determines values by noticing subtle differences on the backs of cards. Ivey insists the practice of edge-sorting is fair, however, a London judge thought otherwise as the 2014 ruling went in favor of Crockfords.

#1. Paul Phua

Paul Phua

Paul Phua’s FBI sting in Las Vegas makes him the #1 bad boy of poker in 2014. (Image:

Poker’s #1 bad boy of 2014 was undisputedly Paul Phua. His Las Vegas FBI raid made headlines around the world after the government agency seized his Caesars villa in a rather questionable way.

According to court records, agents disabled the villa’s Internet access and then posed as technical support personnel, at which point they videotaped the residence in order to gain evidence on Phua’s activities.

The FBI alleges the wealthy high-stakes player was running an illegal betting ring, and at the time was taking bets on the World Cup. Phua will have to stay in Vegas as the case unfolds.


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