Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Any black helicopters overhead, Mr. Marcus?

Richard Marcus (my opinion of whom you can read here) has a blog post today titled, "Poker Pros Fleeing the US For Fear of Online Poker Cheat Allegations!" Note that it ends in an exclamation point, not a question mark.

Naturally, this intrigued me, as I had not heard of anybody leaving the U.S. to avoid allegations of poker cheating.

Marcus writes:
A bunch of US based poker pros who are citizens have been getting out of "Dodge", which in this case is the United States of America. Some notables who have recently fled are Mike Brooks, Phil Galfond, Jon Agular, and Vanessa Selbst. They have all given reasons such as "looking for work" but is this not a cover to avoid problems and even possible prosecution by the US Department of Justice over online cheating accusations?
Uh, no, it isn't. They're leaving so that they can ply their trade, which is high-stakes online poker. Only two online poker sites have routinely offered the highest-stakes games, and neither is now open to players who are either physically inside the U.S. or who have declared themselves to be U.S. residents.

None of the players named, to my knowledge, has any taint of cheating, and I keep my ear pretty close to the ground on such matters. They simply want to be able to play online for higher stakes than are offered by the few remaining small sites open to U.S. players.

And, by the way, it's Jon Aguiar, not Agular. Nice fact-checking.

Marcus goes on to mention Dan Cates and Justin Bonomo, both of whom have made public that they are trying to move out of the states, and both of whom have admitted to online poker cheating of one form or another. Marcus concludes that they are "running from the online poker judges!!!" And what "judges" would those be? Marcus doesn't tell us, other than his suggestion (quoted above) about federal prosecution. But the Department of Justice has not shown any interest in prosecuting poker players. In fact, it's not even clear to me that they could. What federal statute is a multi-accounter violating?

Predictably, Marcus provides not a single shred of evidence that these players are leaving for any reason other than the one that is both most obvious and the one that they all cite: They want to be able to play online again, and they cannot do so from their U.S. homes. Of course it's always possible that one or more of them has some other hidden, nefarious motivation. But when the obvious explanation is 100% plausible, and there is zero evidence for another, it takes a bizarre, twisted mind to conclude that these players are secretly fleeing some phantom panel of "online poker judges."

1 comment:

Hugo Justice said...

His website does say the "The Worlds #1 Casino and Poker Cheating Expert," sounds pretty legit.