Sunday, August 7, 2011

don't make people into idols

UPDATE: good cliffs thread here: More info has come out, and it just gets worse and worse. The supposed prodigy is clearly nothing more than a scamming con artist, and the more information that comes out the worse that the people involved with him look. Just a really sordid affair.

read this thread if you are bored and want to see the kind of scummy stuff that supposed high stakes brilliant players will do for money:

Just a quick rant. I've never made a huge effort to engage in the rest of the poker community like most of my peers do. Part of the reason is that I think it creates huge imbalances in life styles, encourages an unhealthy disconnect with money and it's intrinsic value to your current happiness, and because I know that many people that play as "pros" probably are degens at heart and degens can't be trusted when they need their fix (in this case money or action).

I've gone on rants before about groups that have formed on twoplustwo to start private forums and specifically discuss strategy and how I thought it was ethically wrong (if not actually breaking TOS of the site) and I've avoided taking part in those discussions or joining those groups in the past. I know others do, and I know that certain players gain and edge by sharing information that I am losing out on. But I feel that I've earned my money honestly and have a clean reputation and that in my mind still means something when I go to sleep at night.

Everything about the story I linked above disgusts me. First that high stakes players would form these little private covens to discuss strategy of how they were going to fleece the fish and then try to set up games for each other. Not surprisingly the kind of people that don't see anything ethically wrong with this borderline collusion would then be willing to take it a step further and try to set each other up by sweating hole cards while feeding the information to a friend. It's abhorrent behavior on nearly all levels. Certain things have not been confirmed, but I think the evidence seems to point that several high stakes "crushers" were ghosting under the account of some 18 year old wunderkind that they essentially created with their own vouches and claims on various forums.

None of this is confirmed but it is my guess they used this player to gain access to sites and opponents that they wouldn't have been able to play otherwise. That they even discussed buying heavily losing accounts in order to play under them and get action is absolutely disgusting. And it is laughable that this 18 year old Portuguese player is a sponsored pro on a site despite having little to no long term history of success in poker.

I'm not trying to be self righteous here, because I don't think how I approach the game is vastly different than many other pros and most amateurs. But I'm sick of reading about players crossing ethical boundaries and then giving some sob story apology after they get caught. As far as I'm concerned this kid and his fellow conspirators should be banned from the sites they played, ostracized from the community, and all potentially ill gotten funds confiscated.

I may not ever make it to high stakes (less likely now that 80% of my roll is seemingly lost on FTP) but I can promise you I'll never cross those boundaries in the effort. I may be as much of an outsider as someone can be who has made half a million dollars in the poker world in the last three years. But as a result of keeping at least one foot firmly planted in the non-poker world I feel like I've avoided the trap that has snared many young poker pros. Money becomes god and the latest high stakes crusher is their idol. In the end they chase god, and want to become the next idol to get the fame and attention of their peers and followers. Ethics and codes of conduct eventually take a back seat, and chasing the money and attention becomes the consuming goal.

I'll stick to playing baseball in the summer and paying bills, and leave the legend creating to the forums.

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