Lying and cheating at the Las Vegas Maf Cup tournament

This was the scene moments before the check presentation at this year’s Las Vegas Maf Cup tournament.

Mafia is a game of deception, persuasion and logical reasoning. It’s the most exciting, fun and challenging game ever invented. Makes poker look like Go Fish.

Last year I competed in the Maf Cup international tournament and I made the final table. Which is a nice way of saying that my team lost at the final table.

I’ve been pretty bummed about it for the past 11 months. But now I’m straight-up pissed. Here’s why: Apparently somebody from last year’s final table winning team got kicked out of Maf Club, shortly after the tournament, for cheating. Seems that when he put on his blindfold, he peeked down at his watch, through the tiny hole created by his nose. His watch was black and glass, so it functioned like a mirror. Presumably, he used the reflective surface—gamblers call this a “shiner”—to observe my actions during the “nighttime” portion of the game, thus ensuring his team victory.

Cost me five or six thousand dollars.

I mean, technically, we have no way of knowing whether I would have won the game if he hadn’t been wearing that watch, but I’ll tell you this: I’d sure like a do-over. Or, perhaps more fair, I’d sure like his money.

As for this year’s tournament: I won three of six matches in the prelims. Didn’t even make the semi-finals. But the players who did were all brilliant, clever people and I can’t feel bad about losing to them. I actually feel good about losing to them. Serious sportsmen and sportswomen know what I’m talking about—that feeling you get when you play your best, give your all, and nonetheless get trounced. What can you do but respect the victors?

Look, every sport and every competition goes through a cheating scandal. I just wish somebody else were on the losing end of it.

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