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Gossip Column: Andrew Esposito Called Out By Peter Cross For Using GTO Wizard During WPT Gardens Poker Championship

Andrew Esposito & Peter Cross
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis May 24, 2023
  • 4 Minutes Read

Day 2 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) $5,250 buy-in Gardens Poker Championship was nothing short of dramatic, causing quite a stir on the floor and across social media. A player was suspected of using a game theory optimal (GTO) solver right there at the poker table!

The player in question was Andrew Esposito, a well-known poker enthusiast from San Antonio. Esposito vehemently denied any in-hand usage of the GTO Wizard app, claiming he was merely browsing an output between hands.

However, not everyone was convinced. Peter Cross was quick to challenge Esposito in the heat of the moment, an incident that was captured on video and later shared on Twitter by poker pro, Josh Arieh. The allegation? Esposito reportedly used the poker training app GTO Wizard during hands.


In response to the situation, the floor intervened to clarify that Esposito had not crossed any lines according to the Tournament Directors Association (TDA) rules. Yet, the incident surely spiced up the competition and made for a memorable day at the championship.


Esposito Speaks Out

After his tournament departure, Esposito discussed with PokerOrg, offering clarification on his actions.

Andrew Esposito
Andrew Esposito


Contrary to what was assumed, Esposito denied using the GTO Wizard in real-time. He affirmed that the app was employed as a reference tool for a hand played ten to fifteen minutes earlier.

“I did open the app – GTO Wizard – but it was just to revisit a hand I’d played about ten, maybe fifteen, minutes before. I understand it may sound strange, but I’d downloaded the app just the previous Saturday, or perhaps Friday. It was my first time using it, and honestly, I was struggling to figure it out,” he explained.

He proposed that Cross may have misconstrued his actions.

“From an outsider’s perspective, it might have appeared as if I was consulting the app for every hand, but in reality, it was just one particular hand I was referring to. I’ve observed many people with GTO Wizard open often, and I don’t believe its usage is quite black and white,” Esposito stated. “It didn’t occur to me that I was doing anything inappropriate since I’ve seen others using it openly. I believe there needs to be a definitive rule on this.”

Esposito added that the floor ruled in his favor by advising him against keeping the GTO Wizard open throughout. When questioned about his proficiency with the app, Esposito confessed, “No. Not at all.”

Esposito also voiced his disappointment with Arieh’s decision to share the clip on Twitter.

“The fact that he publicly exposed me without fully understanding the situation seems like a bid for attention on his part. Honestly, it’s quite irritating,” Esposito expressed.


Cross Shares His Views

Peter Cross replied to Arieh’s post with some clarifying context from his side and explained why he felt obligated to alert tournament staff to the issue.

Peter Cross
Peter Cross



The Official Ruling

The Gardens Casino Tournament Director, Cavin Quintanilla, took to Twitter to explain his ruling.


The World Poker Tour issued the following summation of events via e-mail to media members present at the tournament.

“1. The situation developed with one player calling out another player on using a solver during the hand

2. The floor staff came over to assess the situation

3. Eventually, the head floor person came over and pulled the player aside and explained how a phone can and cannot be used at the table

a. He even brought out the Tournament Directors Association rule book to cite the rule

4. The player got a detailed warning on why he could not do what he was doing on his phone

5. The Tournament Director announced that the player received the warning and would not be violating the phone rule again”


Poker Community Reacts

Although there’s consensus that the in-hand use of a solver constitutes cheating, the poker community expressed mixed views on social media about using real-time solvers when not actively engaged in a hand.


After the blow-up and resulting controversy, Arieh tempered his original tweet.


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