A suspect series of backing agreements involving Florida pro player Ian O’Hara has led to the publicizing of claims by Kane Kalas about O’Hara’s backing history, including unpaid debts and a fraud allegedly inflicted by O’Hara upon another, as yet unidentified player.
Kalas, a Pennsylvania-based pro with over $1.7 million in live-tourney winnings over the past dozen years, took to social media with his claims regarding O’Hara, a Florida-based pro with over $4.3 million in live-tournament winnings who’s been a fixture at the WSOP and other higher-priced events over the past decade. Kalas’s Tweet earlier this week was titled “Scammer Alert: Ian O’Hara” and offered four images displaying a larger block of text outlining his claims.
According to Kalas, O’Hara approached him in 2020 seeking a 50/50 stake for both tournaments and cash games, a proposal to which Kalas agreed. However, after what Kalas described as “months of consistent losses,” he learned that O’Hara was simultaneously being staked by a third pro, Jonathan Jaffe. The losses and the undisclosed second backer triggered “concerns” according to Kalas, and after he and Jaffe compared notes, the two discovered numerous reporting discrepancies.
Kalas allowed that O’Hara had never booked action for over 100% of a buy-in for any given event, but Kalas alleged that he and Jaffe “instances of Ian reporting losses that were later verified to be wins.” Kalas continued, “It became clear that Ian was fabricating data on the stake, in order to finance his lifestyle.”
Kalas continued by asserting that O’Hara admitted to having “fu**ed up” and scamming Kalas and Jaffe out of “a combined mid six figures.” Kalas and Jaffe immediately ended the backing arrangement but allegedly agreed to O’Hara’s plea not to make the matter public if O’Hara made restitution and agreed never to perpetrate another backing scam.
Later alleged fraud included faked buy-in receipts
As part of the repayment agreement, Kalas asserted that O’Hara also agreed to provide Kalas and Jaffe with records of all poker-related transactions, including funding from a new backer that O’Hara subsequently found. The repayment agreement involving Kalas and Jaffe worked for a while, with O’Hara returning roughly 40% of the earlier ill-spent backing money.
According to Kalas, that changed in the recently completed Poker Masters series, where O’Hara may have once planned to complete. Kalas outlined a different series of events:
“Ian recently sold action for the Poker Masters series, which he never disclosed to me and John. In fact, Ian did not actually even play in the Poker Masters events; he sold action, sent screenshots of old tournament ticket receipts along with pictures of a random stack in the tournament, then claimed he had busted. He lied about playing the tournament in order to pocket the action.”
Jaffe did not state whether any of the backers involved are considering any sort of recovery action against O’Hara. Debts associated with gambling activity are not always able to be collected via legal means. Instead, Jaffe described O’Hara as displaying a pattern of “untruthful, manipulative, and destructive behavior.” Jaffe concluded his lengthy post by declaring his own belief that O’Hara was genuinely remorseful but had still failed to honor his prior commitments or be truthful in his dealings.
O’Hara acknowledges actions in response
O’Hara, via his own Twitter account, replied directly to Kalas’s claims, largely acknowledging their accuracy. “I’m very sorry to all I have [a]ffected with my decisions,” O’Hara’s response stated. “I made these choices on my own and I must now face the consequences. I will do everything in my power to rectify the situation as much as possible. I will do better in every aspect of life moving forward. Thank you.”
O’Hara has since gone silent on social media. Responses to his admission varied widely between support for admitting his dishonest behavior to further castigation over the theft and misrepresentation toward his former backers.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze