Drama at the WSoP as Lazaro Hernandez and Tony Bracy almost come to blows

  • World Series of Poker event in Rio erupts as Bracy and Hernandez are caught up in a ruckus
  • Argument starts as Hernandez uses smartphone to text at table, holding up play

Poker is a game that stirs up strong emotions in people, especially when there’s millions of dollars at stake. Most of the time the trash talking and ribaldry is nothing more than harmless banter, but every now and then a throw away comment causes an opponent to snap and all hell breaks loose. That’s exactly what happened at the World Series of Poker main event in Rio on Sunday.

bracy hernandez wsop fight
Kicking off: Bracy and Hernandez lock horns at the table

Smartphone while playing

It has been reported by CardsChat that players Tony Bracy and Lazaro Hernandez found themselves sat at the same table and the latter became enraged over Bracy’s phone etiquette. Using a smartphone at a poker table – especially when that table is at the prestigious WSoP – is something many players and spectators and players frown on.

But using a smartphone to text while playing a hand? It was too much for Hernandez to take and the poker pro lashed out, causing the two players to get into an altercation.

How much of an altercation are we talking? One that allegedly included racial slurs, general threats and a lot of huffing and puffing, and which culminated in both players receiving a penalty. The whole incident was captured on camera thanks to ESPN, which was in the house broadcasting the action live. Cameramen were swift to zero in on the commotion the moment it kicked off as Hernandez rose to his feet and began laying the verbal smackdown on his texting colleague.

While the cause of the ruckus – Bracy slowing down play by tinkering with his phone – might seem trivial, even the slightest grievances can be amplified under the harsh glare of the spotlights and with so many faces scrutinising your every expression and hand.

Escorted out by security

After the incident had blown over, ESPN sought out Tony Bracy, who was only too happy to recount his version of events. “You got some guys in here that don’t know the rules of poker,” he began. “And he’s on his phone. We’re all involved in a hand, he’s on the phone so I ask the dealer to control the game. The guy just loses his mind. He said ‘talk to me like a man.’ The next thing you know he said ‘let’s go outside’. He uses the N-word and all this other crap.”

Hernandez was escorted out of the room by security as the two players were forced to take a timeout and was also penalised three rounds, but not before challenging Bracy to a fight. In response, Bracy called his opponent fat and told him to “go eat a Twinkie” because that’s how grown men settle their differences: like rational adults and role models for the next generation of poker pros.

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