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
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
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,
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.