Major League Baseball official get real nervous anytime that any of their stars are associated with anything related to gambling. As such, it is no surprise that officials have opened an investigation into Alex Rodriguez and his alleged participation in the infamous Hollywood underground poker ring that has been frequently reported on over the last year.
Bradley Ruderman, a convicted felon who ran a Ponzi scheme embezzling over $25 Million from clients, has claimed that Rodriguez was part of the Hollywood underground poker ring that included numerous celebrities. He not only claimed that Rodriguez was a player, but played against him personally in the games. Ruderman used part of the money he embezzled from clients to pay off gambling debts in association with the high stakes games.
Several big name celebrity and poker tournament players have been named as participating in the games. Toby Maguire and pro player Gabe Kaplan were both sued by victims of Ruderman’s Ponzi scheme to recover winnings. Both settled out of court.
Rodriguez was not named in the Ponzi victim’s suit and his participation in the games has actually been described as somewhat limited. However, the allegation of his playing in the games was still enough for Major League officials to act. According to a MLB spokesperson, “Like all situations, when we receive new information we investigate.”
This is not the first time that Rodriguez was investigated over his involvement in poker. Back in 2005, New York Yankee bosses told him to curb his gambling habits after Rodriguez was spotted in an underground poker game with pro Phil Hellmuth. They claim that it proved unsavory and could be harmful to his overall image.
It is unknown at this time whether or not Major League Baseball will do anything to punish Rodriguez. Fortunately, his gambling stayed strictly to poker and did not involve any gambling on baseball. With that said, this should be a lesson to other players to keep out of underground games as they are not only illegal, but they cannot guarantee any true level of privacy.