Georgii Belianin, the poker player who was disqualified from the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event on Day 1C for taking the chips of an absent player in the seat next to his, has issued a public apology for what transpired.

As witnesses to the incident told it, Belianin had been playing for a little while – the tournament was still in its first level – when he won a small pot. While scooping the chips into his stack, he decided to also take the stack of the player who had yet to arrive next to him. Belianin was reportedly drunk and some who saw what happened thought he grabbed the chips as a joke, but taking another player’s chips is no laughing matter, especially during the Main Event, and Belianin was promptly disqualified from the tournament. His chips were removed from the tournament, though his $10,000 buy-in stayed in the prize pool.

Belianin issued an apology on Sunday via Twitter, confirming the accounts of what happened.

“I really want to apologize to all players, staff, mr. Effel and the whole poker community for my unprofessionalism and misbehavior in WSOP main event. I take full responsibility for my behavior that I really got drunk and could not control myself,” Belianin wrote.

He elaborated in a longer, written statement to PokerNews, saying, “Currently, I’m going through a painful period and a lot of difficulties in my private life. Unfortunately, the night before the Main Event I got totally drunk while playing cash games in Rio.”

“It was my fault and definitely bad judgment to register to the Main Event in such condition. I completely understand that being drunk doesn’t excuse my later behavior.”

He then detailed what happened at the poker table:

I came to the beginning of the tournament, I had seat No. 5, but I took seat No. 6. [For] several minutes the dealer was explaining for me that my seat was No. 5. I played several hands and then this situation happened. Actually, I don’t clearly remember what I did.

As other players said, I took the stack from Seat 6 and mix it with my stack. I was trying to make a joke and under no circumstances did I want to cheat or really take somebody’s chips. After this awful and ridiculous joke at my table I was disqualified. Then I was taken away from the tournament area but tried to return to the casino. That’s why I was imprisoned for trespassing. All night in jail I was thinking about my horrible deed and I fully blame myself for what happened.

Belianin added that he had no problem with Jack Effel’s decision to disqualify him, that he deserved his punishment.

At the same time, he pleaded for further mercy, explaining that he was also banned from all Caesar’s properties, meaning that he can’t play in any more cash games at the Rio, nor can he play in any future WSOP events. Because poker is his career, he would like the powers-that-be to reconsider that portion of his punishment, particularly because he says that this is the first time he has done anything like this.

Other players backed this up, posting on social media that they had only had positive experiences playing with Belianin prior to this incident.

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