Houston poker room altercation includes Sammy Farha

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: December 12, 2021 10:25 PST

Three-time WSOP bracelet winner Sammy Farha was involved in an altercation on Thursday at Houston's Legends Poker Room, in which words exchanged between Farha and another player at the room, known as Amjad or "MJ". What began with heated words soon led another person at Legends, known as Amjad, reportedly slapping Farha in the face and both persons quickly being ejected from the venue. (This story corrects a previous and erroneous version of the story that listed Brent Thomas as the person who had possibly slapped Farha, in part due to now-claimed-as-jokes posted online by Thomas claiming responsibility. - hh)

Amjad, who goes by the nickname "MJ," had prior bad history with Farha. He was once a dealer at the Johnny Chan's 88 Social poker room across the street from Legends, where he and Farha were involved in an earlier incident. Farha had claimed, according to Houston poker social-media posts, that Amjad was fired from the now-shuttered 88 Social over the earlier incident, though he was allegedly and quickly rehired at another area poker room.

Thursday's brief fight reportedly began with Farha declaring that he had trouble with Amjad being present at the Legends club after his earlier disagreement with Amjad at 88 Social. Why Farha believed he had eviction power over another player at a different club remains unexplained. The two men, according to multiple reports, then exchanged heated words before Amjad appears to have slapped Farha. One image circulating online shows Farha seemingly staggered or pushed backward after the brief confrontation with the other player (allegedly Amjad) whose back is turned to the camera.

At some point police were called to the club. Another player at the venue, Fredrick Maxie, posted a photo in Facebook's "A Prominent Houston Poker Live" group showing Farha discussing the matter with a uniformed officer in the Legends parking lot.

Farha widely disliked on Houston poker scene

In a stunning exception to most players' takes on physical altercations at the poker table, a large majority of social-media posters in the Houston-area groups came to Amjad's defense, declaring that Farha was long deserving of such a response to his verbal abuse at the tables. (Author's note: Neither this author nor Poker.org endorse any form of physical contact or intimidation in response to such a situation. The circumstances described herein are reported solely to illustrate the larger nature of the situation involving Farha and Amjad. -- hh)

The support went far beyond simple praise. A GoFundMe account has even been created to support possible legal-defense needs should Farha escalate the situation in that way. The GoFundMe fundraiser included the post-altercation picture and had raised $590 of a stated $20,000 goal

A couple of posters speculated that Farha might try to seek a legal settlement from Legends over the incident. However, given that Amjad was another player and not an employee of the club likely forestalls that possibility, especially if Farha, as reported, was the verbal aggressor and the club took immediate steps to separate the parties. Whether Farha has any case against Amjad also includes aspects of the situation far beyond the scope of this update. As of early Monday, no record of any such action possibly being filed by Farha in connection with the incident was listed in the Harris County (TX) online court system.

If nothing else, however, the incident has shone a bright spotlight on Farha, who despite his earlier poker fame has fallen on harder poker times while also becoming one of the more disliked players in the Houston poker scene. Farha appeared only briefly at the 2021 WSOP, where he cashed in the $1,000 Super Seniors NLH event and played in a couple of other preliminary events.

Featured image source: Facebook / Fredrick Maxie