If the famous tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde were set in the poker world, there is little doubt about who would play the dual personality lead role – David ‘Chino’ Rheem.
His amazing poker play, balanced by his horrendous scamming, has seen well over $10million in tournament cashes, and what feels like just as many accusations of shocking behaviour, so let’s take a closer look at the strange case of Chino Rheem…
Rheem the Winner
If the name sounds very familiar, even to those who don’t closely follow the poker news, it’s because he won last week. He won big. A $1.5million victory score at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event to be precise.
For Rheem that would be his 5th seven-figure payday of the last decade, a feat very few outside the best of the high-rollers will ever manage.
?? David @ChinoRheem Rheem wins #PCA Main Event for $ 1,567,100!
A proper way to celebrate your 100th career cash. Congrats Chino! ?
? Profile: https://t.co/wpHh9A2rlA
? Full PCA ME results: https://t.co/hfJkL5iqEN
? Carlos Monti – @PokerStarsLive pic.twitter.com/wLtoU76kCk
— The Hendon Mob (@TheHendonMob) 18 January 2019
The big wins started back in 2008 when then 28-year old Rheem came 7th in the WSOP Main Event, winning $1,772,650. A life-changing score for a young man who had previously spent time in jail for drug possession and theft.
He followed this up the same year with a $1.5million takedown of the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas, and he seemed set for the highest heights of the game. But not everything was rosy in Cheem’s garden…
Chino Rheem – the Scammer
When Will Molson, the heir to the $billion Canadian beer-magnate fortune, went public in 2011 it was to accuse Rheem of scamming him out of $40,000.
With Rheem claiming close friend Mike ‘the Grinder’ Mizrachi as a vouchsafe, Molson transferred him the money via PokerStars.
The money, however, would never be repaid, Molson writing on the 2plus2 forum: “After weeks and weeks of trying to get my money I finally get a text from his saying I’m broke and I can’t get you the money… lol wtf? Dude, you cashed in the event I got you into for 150k and you don’t have the courtesy to ship back asap?”
That post started a 79-page, 1972-post thread entitled ‘Chino Rheem SCUM part two (more scams)’, which gives you just a flavour of what the off-table Rheem does to pass the time!
Molson’s public outing of Rheem came on the back of the LA man scooping $1million by taking down the inaugural Epic Poker League title, but what should have been a momentous occasion was marred by a mass of fellow pros claiming they had been swindled, scammed and just plain stolen from by the victor.
Ben Lamb, one of the few to be paid back, was among them, as well as Joseph ‘subiime’ Cheong, the latter explaining: “He has also scammed me for $40k and I know others in the same spot. The poker world is full of borrowing and lending money, so when a well-known player comes to you with believable collateral, it’s hard not to lend money.
“For me, the collateral he offered was that he had a piece of the Grinder at the WSOP Main Event last summer. The Grinder confirmed this for me. But clearly it was offered to multiple people and I never saw a dime back”.
Where does the money go?
Well, from various sordid tales of Rheem’s scamming ways, the gambling pits are as good a place as any to go looking for him when he is feeling flush with success and $$$.
Guy Laliberte, the billionaire co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, high stakes poker player and the man behind the One Drop Foundation charity paid Rheem’s entry into the $111,111 Big One for One Drop tournament at the 2013 WSOP.
How did Rheem fare in the event? Not at all, having spent the entire entry fee at the baccarat tables and – it transpired – also sold shares of himself for the tournament. Lower than low, but it wouldn’t be Rheem’s last scam, not by a long shot.
In the meantime, check out what happens when someone finally refuses to play with Rheem…including the classic line: “You owe the whole ****ing city of Las Vegas money you’re a *****”
Why do people keep giving him money?
A very good question. As Cheong stated years back, First of all, he’s a very charming, nice guy, something that was in evidence last week at the PCA in the Bahamas, Rheem making the others at the final table feel at ease.
Secondly, despite his horrendous reputation preceding almost everywhere he goes, the likes of Daniel Negreanu and Jean-Robert Bellande congratulating and bigging him up.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) 17 January 2019
12 years ago, @ChinoRheem and @ssung41585 were the 2 of the hottest young guns of poker. They’re Back!!
Congrats and GL Steve on tomorrow’s WPT final Table. and congrats Chino on your win! #brokelegends pic.twitter.com/K5PKdqTFpm
— Jean-Robert Bellande (@BrokeLivingJRB) 17 January 2019
This despite the fact that 2018 saw Rheem called out for yet more dastardly scams…
Chino Reem has told his backers/swaps that he busted with AA < AK aip. He actually busted cold 4bet jamming 95bbs with KTs into KK. Stay classy.
— Alex Goulder (@justalexok) 9 April 2018
Chino Rheem, if we were looking for things to say in his favour, has admitted many times he has screwed up royally….
…but the main problem with this is…he then goes on to commit more ‘crimes in the poker community’. Jokes that the line at the 2019 PCA cashout desk would be Rheem followed by the dozens of people he still owes money to were, on the face of it, not really jokes at all.
It may depend on how many people had a chunk of Rheem’s huge score to begin 2019, and how quickly they got to him before he got to the pits. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely given his history that this year will see the end of ‘Rheem the scammer’ tales.
Get the best Partypoker deal!
Ready to hop into some poker action yourself? Get the best Partypoker deal and claim your free $22 Tickets, up to 50% rakeback and take part in our exclusive promotions, including:
Terms and conditions apply. New customer offer and 18+ only. Should you require help regarding your gambling pattern, please visit www.begambleaware.org.