Thursday, January 14, 2010

Who's the cheater?

My friend and recent blogger tournament partner Jennifer Newell writes a column for Poker Player newspaper. (See archives here.) Take a look at the one she wrote recently on the challenges Joe Sebok faces in living up to his commitment to get UltimateBet to fully come clean on its cheating scandal, here.

Now take a look at the blog post put up earlier today by Richard Marcus on his "Poker Cheating and Casino Cheating" blog, here. You might spot more than a few similarities, and you will find no attribution.

By my quick review, it appears that after the first paragraph and the first few words of the second paragraph, the entire blog post is lifted word-for-word from Jen's column. It's possible there are a few word changes that I didn't notice, but if so, they are minor.

There's just no escaping it: Richard Marcus plagiarized about as flagrantly as it's possible to do. The irony is that this is in a blog devoted to exposing cheating. Marcus famously claims to be a reformed casino cheater. It appears, though, that his ethics haven't improved any--he has simply changed the target. Instead of cheating casinos, he cheats (and steals from) other writers.

What a low-life scumbag. I wonder how many other of his posts are ripped off from other sites/writers, and I just haven't known of it before. I had always blithely assumed that his posts were original work, but now I have to wonder. Of course, when caught, cheaters/thieves always claim that it's their first time, but that's rarely true.

His email address, as listed on his blog, is Why not drop him a line and tell him what you think of his plagiarism? I'm going to.


TheLuckbox (who, coincidentally, sat on my immediate right through most of the blogger poker tournament last month) was inspired to do some poking around at other posts on Mr. Marcus's blog, and posted this series of three messages on Twitter:

@WriterJen @pokergrump Check out this: and this: More plagiarism?

Yep, it's all
plagiarism. Seems like every post. Here's another. This: and this:

And more plagiarism. This: and this: I think that's enough evidence.

Good work, sir! I probably should have taken the initiative to do a text search on some phrases from other posts in the blog, rather than just speculating that one would find more plagiarism by doing so.

Also, Matthew Parvis posted a Tweet a short time ago indicating that he had just yesterday emailed Mr. Marcus about stolen content from, though he didn't point to any specific examples. He followed this up with another Tweet saying: "lame response that "he forgot to attribute" and that he added I emailed him that it was not acceptable."

It certainly appears that stealing is the primary means of getting content onto Mr. Marcus's blog, and that he "forgets" to attribute as a matter of course. There's nothing wrong with a blog that gathers pointers to and/or reprints of posts and news articles on a given subject from sources all over the world. In fact, such things are extremely useful to those interested in the subject. But--do I really need to say this?--you have to provide documentation and give credit to your sources. If you do, you're providing a useful aggregation service to readers, who then don't have to scour blogs and news sources to find news and updates on some subject. If you don't, well, then you're just a scummy thief of content and intellectual property rights.


Conan776 said...

There's just no escaping it: Richard Marcus plagiarized about as flagrantly as it's possible to do. :-P

Grange95 said...

Wow. Just wow. "Flagrant" and "ironic" are charitable of you. I'm not sure there are words strong enough to condemn this degree of plagiarism--excuse me, theft.

FWIW, I follow both blogs, and I had read Ms. Newell's blog last night. Going forward, I will never return to the Marcus blog. I encourage others to ignore him as well.

P.S. You may want to get some screen shots of the Marcus blog before he finds your email and does some editing.

Cardgrrl said...

Yep, copied word for word including a grammatical error ("was forward")!

Rakewell said...

Grange: I considered that possibility, too, and archived a copy.

Conan776 said...

All kidding aside, I emailed him. Although leaving out the swearwords and the links, I didn't say much. Hopefully he takes a lesson from this. There are some good articles on the topic of plagiarism here.

Jennifer said...

I couldn't be more grateful to you for finding this! After I speak to my Poker Player Newspaper editor, you can be sure Mr. Marcus will be hearing from me.

Once a cheater, always a cheater?

Cardgrrl... DOH! You and your keen eye... I didn't catch that, nor did my editor OR my plagiarizer! I'm slipping. ;)

OhCaptain said...

Well done sir! Self policing is all we have. But as Cardgrrl points out, maybe all my grammatical errors aren't always a bad thing :)

Thank you for exposing this!!

Rakewell said...

Yes, excellent point. From now on, let it be known that any grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors in my posts are deliberately put there as markers in order to catch the lazy cheaterpants copycats who don't even bother to clean up the material they are stealing. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Rakewell said...

Just to be sure I'm not guilty of hypocrisy, let me add that "cheaterpants" is a word Cardgrrl recently used in a blog post. I don't know whether it was original with her, but I instantly liked it, and it naturally came to mind in conjunction with this post subject, and hence made its way into my previous comment.

Jennifer said...

Ummm, I left the grammatical error in the article on purpose. Is it too late to claim that?

Rakewell said...

Not at all! We all believe you. Besides, nobody saw the earlier comment. :-)

Cliff said...

I certainly had fun with my email to Dick... er... Richard.

scott said...

"Yeah, that's the ticket!"

Please attribute this phrase to Jon Lovitz, "Saturday Night Live", and the writers of said show.

Thank You,

Ronald Braithwith said...

Richard Marcus may have plagiarized on his blog, but let's not get carried away with this. As a poker room employee and an avid reader of poker material both in the brick and mortar and online world, including Marcus's blog and book Dirty Poker, I can say that Marcus' website AND blog includes much original and very useful material for those of us concerned about cheating in all forms of poker. I might also add that I saw Marcus on TV in 2005 warning the world about superuser account scams with key site employees cheating players by seeing their hole cards. At that time, many comments accusing him of being a fraud appeared on blogs such as this, and in any event, the terminology of "scumbag" is not appropriate here.

Rakewell said...


What do you mean? You mean somebody else has used this before? I had no idea! It was totally original with me.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

(Yes, I made up that line, too.)

Cardgrrl said...

Re Mr. Braithwaith's comment above:

The problem with plagiarism is that it casts a long shadow. It's entirely possible that Mr. Marcus may have written interesting and original material at some point. But how am I to know, now? How am I to sift the out his own work from the stolen and regurgitated?

And why would I put any reliance in someone writing about ethical issues who has clearly demonstrated a disregard for ethics?

Oh, and thanks for joining the discussion, Richard.