Mike Leah Responds to WPT Title "Buying" Controversy

Mike Leah Responds to WPT Title "Buying" Controversy This week, Mike Leah took down the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic after agreeing to split the remaining prize pool with his heads-up opponent Ryan Yu, despite the latter enjoying a 2-1 chip advantage at the time. The last few hands of match then saw Yu “raise fold large portions of his stack” until his stack was all gone, after which Leah commented:
“We did this in an extremely obvious way, making a lot of jokes and having fun. We were both extremely happy with the outcome.”
While the deal took account of the $15K Tournament of Champions ticket on offer which Mike Leah collected, the Hendon Mob database, however, doesn’t seem to reflect the deal as it is currently showing  the Canadian pro as having won US$358,531 to Ryan Yu’s $239,023, in addition to 471.56 POY points. Following his “victory”, Leah subsequently expressed his delight at having picked up his first ever WPT title, while saying that his accomplishment “hasn’t sunk in yet.”
What should have been one of the highlights of his illustrious career, though, has turned into a heated backlash from the playing community who have since accused him of being involved in a chip dumping collusion and of buying his title. Feeling a need to defend his integrity, Leah has since said that he has “never or will ever ‘pay’ for a win,” and explaining his decision at the time, stated:
“Wow I actually get to be responsible and not just “flip” for 150k and I get a WPT title, a spot in the Champions Club, entry into the TOC and my 4th Fallsview title in 5 years.. How could I not agree to this??”
ICM deals usually involve dividing out the money according to the players’ chip counts, while leaving a small amount left over plus the trophy for the eventual winner. Needless to say, Leah’s deal has continued to leave many of his fellow poker enthusiasts fuming, including Grant Hinkle who insists that “Majors should be played out”. Lance Williams, on the other hand, had some harsher words to say to Leah, writing:
“You’re an embarrassment to poker, and give a slap in the face to all the rest of us who would fight to the end for this kind of opportunity. Pathetic, awkward, disturbing. Basically unethical if you ask me. I hope they ban you from future events.”
Not everyone has reacted angrily to the controversial deal, though. Vanessa Kade, for instance, has said that she didn’t really understand what the huge uproar was about, calling a chip dump between heads-up finalists as “a clear-cut case of a means to facilitate your own deal.” Similarly, Alex Keating made the following point:
“Don’t see any issues here. Not good for poker, but no one did anything wrong. As long as you’re not buying trophies and POY points. He didn’t. His opponent got no extra money for forfeiting the trophy.”

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