Monday, December 22, 2008

Does Your Compass Point to "D"?

"D" for disappointment, that is?

This post started as a comment on Hoy's latest blog entry, but I felt it bears reposting and expounding upon here.

For the unfamiliar, two of the strongest poker-playing bloggers I know have recently scored a ton of MTT success over at Ultimate Bet Fraud. Without question, Chad and Hoy are two of the most dangerous agressive MTT players out there. Both are clearly talented players, and both have pulled down quite a few significant and well-deserved scores over time. Yet, I'm disappointed in them both. (And yes, I'm fully aware that my disappointment shouldn't, or at least doesn't, matter two shits to either of them.)

Why?

Because it's come from playing a site on which founding ownership openly cheated players out of at least hundreds of thousands of dollars. A site that, although since sold, the new ownership (which is actually not much different at all from the previous ownership, by accounts) has simply papered over the scandal by paying restitution to accounts known to have been cheated, but not outing those actually responsible and only describing their response in the vaguest of terms.

Yes, they're on a new network, Cereus. So let's see who else is on that network. That's right, the other known cheating site, Absolute Bet Fraud, owned by the very same people. I won't even accept blog advertising from them, and have turned it down in the past.

Look, we all know that poker is already perceived as a shady proposition (and in some instances, it actually is).

Cereus ownership would like us to simply take them at their word that their site is safe and honest. Let's take a quick look at that, shall we?

Just this past weekend, in a 200/400 Limit HE game, Bet Fraud awarded a pot to the losing hand. This pot was over $4,000 in cash. Not chips, but hard dollars. And just who was the "losing" player in the hand, who had the 2nd best hand at showdown but who raked the pot? None other than Phil Hellmuth, chief spokesperson for Ultimate Bet. In their press release, UB again only vaguely refers to some misawarded pot, without acknowledging that the beneficiary was one of their most insider of insiders.

Here's the thing -- in my eyes, anyone who plays on that site now would seem to have to exercise some real moral equivalency in order to do so. Like, it's not that big a deal that UB cheated players -- after all, as long they haven't cheated you or someone you know, they can't be that bad, right? Something like that. And that if someone displays the moral equivalency in that regard, then their moral compass may be as equivalent in other areas.

Like, it may be okay to lie to the UN Security Council to justify an invasion of a dictator you don't like, because while you don't have kids in the armed forces, the ends justify the means, but it's not okay for your employer to lie to you about the corporate health of your employer, because YOUR 401k is at stake, so their ends don't justify the means. Just a hypothetical...

I think that kind of shifting moral compass is just wrong. And I'm sad that Hoy and Chad appear to value winning money over having a certain amount of principle. It's almost as if they saw that the scandals chased out a lot of the strong players, leaving behind only the fishiest of fish, and they've seen it as a golden opportunity for their advanced poker skills to take advantage of the weak.

My problem with this isn't with the latter part of this equation -- that's just poker. If you suck at poker, you're going to lose your money to someone better, as you should. It's with the former part -- joining a site with a long (and possibly still ongoing) history of cheating players, because the aftereffects of the ongoing scandals have shaped conditions on the ground in your favor (e.g., most of the other strong players have left, giving you a greater edge on the field).

The idea of essentially benefitting from someone else's cheating to put yourself in a better position just ain't cricket, in my book.

Now, I'm pretty certain those guys don't see things the same way. That's certainly their right, and reasonable minds can differ. I'm not even trying in the least to persuade them to leave those sites. Hell, if everyone felt like I felt, there wouldn't be any players on those two sites at all, so clearly, there are differing opinions.

But if you're okay playing on a site known to cheat, then you may be equally okay with playing in a tournament while girly chatting with someone else at your table during the tournament? Then you might just be okay with "just this once" IMing about a hand while its in progress? It's a slippery slope, is all I'm saying.

8 comments:

lightning36 said...

"Here's the thing -- in my eyes, anyone who plays on that site now would seem to have to exercise some real moral equivalency in order to do so. Like, it's not that big a deal that UB cheated players -- after all, as long they haven't cheated you or someone you know, they can't be that bad, right? Something like that. And that if someone displays the moral equivalency in that regard, then their moral compass may be as equivalent in other areas."

A bit of a stretch there don't you think, my friend? Otherwise, this way of thinking leads to ...

"But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!"

One other point, in my mind, is that the entire history of poker is filled with shafdy dealings. How many professional poker players are probably also professional douchebags? How many poker bloggers and opponents we meet at the virtual table seem to have their share of douchebaggery?

I'd write more but, and I swear this is true, I have a tournament starting right now at Ultimate Bet. lol

Mondogarage said...

LOL at the most awesome Animal House reference. I LOL'd for real.

But I'll point out that some colleges have in fact shut down entire fraternities for the actions of some members, if egregious enough. I believe a couple have gone as far as removing all fraternities from their school. So yeah, it does happen.

And yeah, truckloads of poker players are douchebags. Bayne probably thinks I'm one right now. A professional douche isn't necessary a supporter of cheating sites, however (even if Phil Hellmuth is spokesperson #1).

But my point is, there are enough sites out there that do not have a history of allowing cheating to go on unchecked, such that there is no reason for anyone to play on a cheating site unless it is more important to them to find a weak game than to find an honest game.

And that, my friend, is the moral equivalency of which I speak.

And to justify it because they have nice tourney structures, or a nice user interface, does not alter that fact.

lightning36 said...

You'd never make it in Illinois politics. : o )

Mondogarage said...

Hah, the same statement without the word "Illinois" in it would be just as true.

Loretta8 said...

1. i dont really have a problem with people playing on those sites, as long as they dont complain after getting cheated. i definitely think it is dumb though.

2. "Cereusly?" would have been a much better title for this post.

3. your post reads like you're a disappointed parent who caught his kids doing drugs, which is a little strange. I think an "LOL you dumb asses are gonna get cheated out of your bankrolls" tone would have been more appropriate. I don't know much about Chad (I think he's CrackinAces?) but Hoyazo is def not worth getting upset about. I'm sure his next anonymous blog IPwnCereus is in the works as we speak.

Miami Don said...

Here's the thing -- in my eyes, anyone who plays on that site now would seem to have to exercise some real moral equivalency in order to do so.

What gives you the right to judge?

Morality is an individual choice. Nobody has the right to judge or tell another person what their morals should be.

If person A thinks cheating is not immoral, and persons B, C, D, and E think cheating is immoral, they are all correct. Why do B, C, D, and E have the right to judge where person A's moral compass should point?

Some people think sex, alcohol, and gambling are immoral but again it's just their belief and it has no baring whatsoever on what anyone thinks on the matter. It's 100% individual choice.

Politicals, religion, and morality, and principle are in the eyes of the beholder.

For you to be judging Chad or Hoy's principles make you appear arrogant, condescending, and holier than though which I find to be disgusting... but that is only my opinion.

Bayne_S said...

Your douchiness rises to amateur levels at best.

MiamiDon has nailed it. Everyone has their own moral compass. I myself don't choose to play on AP or UB, but I don't begrudge Hoy or Chad for wanting to play there.

Francis Luong (Franco) said...

"One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment.

Nothing can corrupt and disintegrate a culture or a man’s character as thoroughly as does the precept of moral agnosticism, the idea that one must never pass moral judgment on others, that one must be morally tolerant of anything, that the good consists of never distinguishing good from evil.

It is obvious who profits and who loses by such a precept. It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men’s virtues and from condemning men’s vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you—whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?"

-Ayn Rand
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/moraljudgment.html