Felonious Monks Get Caught Playing Illegal Poker with Charity Money

It’s a story so difficult to believe that we forgive you if you think this article is an April Fool’s Day poker gag. It can be assumed that a typical gathering of Buddhist Monks would usually consist of prayer, silence, and introspection. But there was nothing holy about the secret high stakes poker game being played in South Korea last month, as close to $1 million changed hands among a group of monks staying at a luxury hotel. The cash game session lasted for 13 hours, from 8 p.m. on April 23rd until 9 a.m. the next morning.

Since we came online, Cardplayer Lifestyle has always championed the growth of poker and encouraged its mainstream acceptance. There are some lines, however, that we don’t believe should be crossed and these monks didn’t just cross the line, they completely obliterated it.

Just how wrong were the monks’ actions? Here’s a summary of their infractions:

  • The hotel surveillance video captures the participants drinking and smoking. That kind of stuff is not part of any monk training manual we’ve ever heard of…
  • Gambling is not only frowned upon by the Buddhist religion, but also against the law in South Korea unless specifically licensed, like at designated racetracks.
  • The money these monks were playing for was obtained via donations! This is not the kind of charity poker game that we promote.
  • Disgustingly, the monks were staying at the luxury hotel to attend a colleague’s memorial service.

There has been no word about what happened to the approximately $875,000 the monks were playing for. We hope that it gets returned to the leaders of their Jogye religious Order, one of whom publicly offered to resign as a form of repentance on their behalf.

We’ve read that the footage was secretly shot by a fellow monk, who also tipped off the authorities about these unholy activities. Courageous, indeed, and bravo for taking action sir! We just wonder what on Earth that ninth monk was doing there in the first place… You think he was the first one to lose all his money? 😉



Sign up
Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded in 2009. A veteran member of the poker media corps, in addition to writing and video presenting, Robbie has hosted multiple poker podcasts over the years, including Top Pair, the Red Chip Poker Podcast, The Orbit, and the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of Poker Hall of Famer Eli […]


Join The Discussion

Latest Post


Mixed Game Festival VIII

Pokercoaching All Access

WPTGlobal Welcome Offer

Don’t miss our top stories, exclusive offers and giveaways!