Allegations against Rodriguez first surfaced in early July when Star Magazine reported that Rodriguez played in poker games involving celebrities. A-Rod declined to make a comment when the first story was published. A-Rod's agent Richard Rubenstein said this in July, “Mr. Rodriguez has not participated in these poker games.”
Rodriguez was warned about illegal gambling by the Yankees and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig in 2005, but with these new allegations MLB has decided to investigate the situation. The MLB is even considering suspending the perennial All-Star, who has been on the disabled list since mid-July. An annoynmous MLB executive told ESPNNewYork.com that Rodriguez could miss games if the investigation proves he was at the poker games. “We're talking to people involved in the investigation and we're taking this very seriously,” he said. “Because he had been warned about this before, I would say a possible suspension would be very much in play.”
Witnesses have said that A-Rod gambled on at least two occasions. The woman who runs the West Coast games, a “stunning brunette,” that goes by the name of Molly Bloom, 33, and is rumored to have had an affair with Rodriguez. Poker pro Dan Bilzerian said Molly had organized a game at investor and record label owner Cody Leibel’s $16.5 million Beverly Hills mansion. Bilzerian revealed that A-Rod was there as well as Rick Salomon, and professional poker player Kenny Tran, who won the 2008 World Series of Poker. He noted that one player openly used cocaine, but would not reveal the identity.
Bilzerian said, “Everyone had to chase Cody down for the money, and he later paid me a sum and gave me a watch but stiffed me for $100,000.” Then a fight nearly broke out when Leibel refused to pay after losing more than a half million dollars. When the argument began, Rodriguez wanted nothing to do with the dispute and tried to distance himself from the game, another insider told Star. “He just shook his head, not knowing what the hell happened,’’ the whistle-blower revealed. “He didn’t want to deal with it at all. He was like, ‘OK, whatever. It’s your game.’ I would estimate A-Rod lost, like, a few thousand dollars that night. After everything that happened, he paid-up and left,” Bilzerian commented.
Rodriguez is scheduled to return from his knee surgery in mid-August, then things will be back to normal, A-Rod will be in the spotlight again for an off-the-field distraction.