In this poker video, we look at the four major poker scams and scandals in 2020, including a poker pro ghosting, the Midway Poker Tour paying everyone in silver, using real-time help to crush online poker cash games, and the old man in the middle scam.
Online poker has become increasingly popular in recent years, but with it comes the problem of cheating. Cheating in online poker can take many forms, such as ghosting, chip dumping, and multi-accounting. Even high stakes players are not exempt from these scandals. In this transcript, Maxine from PokerBangt discusses the top four biggest poker scams and controversies of 2020.
The first scandal involves high stakes player Bill Perkins, who posted on Twitter that he had knowledge of a major poker scandal that would make Mike Postle's case "look like a church service". He claimed that he was cheated in a private online poker game, where an unnamed pro had played in place of a supposed friend in exchange for a piece of the profit. Perkins initially did not reveal any more details about the scandal, but eventually, he named Jason Kuhn as the only player who showed integrity and alerted Perkins to the scandal. A separate player had also confessed to cheating, but Perkins agreed to keep the name private in exchange for more information about who else was involved.
Dan Bilzerian later stepped up and named the dastardly duo behind the ghosting, but eventually deleted the tweet. Perkins claimed that he was supposed to be playing against recreational players through a poker app, but the so-called recreational accounts were actually headed by professionals. Eventually, Jungleman (Daniel Cates) admitted that he played a few hands against Perkins but pointed out that these types of games are frequented by poker pros who are ghosting. He apologized to Perkins for being caught in the crossfire but cried foul over the apparent singling out when, in fact, there were many more who must be guilty of committing such an act.
Midway Poker Tour scam
The second scandal involved the Midway Poker Tour held at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Many players recognized the Midway Poker brand from the mobile poker app called Poker Bros, where you can find a club with this name. Thirty-one players made it to the final day of the tournament, where they were guaranteed at least $2,300, with five-figure prize money waiting for those players finishing in the last spots of the tournament. The charitable gaming act of the Illinois state area has placed limits on how much of the prize money can be paid with US dollars. Prize money above $1,600 could be paid in precious metals, which left some of the players confused. One of the players who cashed a total of $2,600 explained how the payout was different from what he expected. He was paid $1,600 in cash and twenty-eight pieces of one-ounce silver coins, which were valued by the tournament organizer at a total of $1,000. In other words, the players were given silver at a retail price, with no one there to buy it back at the same price. They were unexpectedly saddled with the problem of unloading the silver, which they wouldn't be able to do at a retail price point. When it was confirmed that no one was there to buy back the silver, pandemonium ensued. While the tournament may have been properly licensed under Illinois regulations, no evidence exists online that it was properly advertised as a charity theme event where the special payouts rule are mandated. The organizers had paid $208,000 for silver coins to cover part of the prize pool, and all prizes for the tournament were listed as USD on PokerNews.
In this story, we learn about a German poker player named Fedor Cruz, who goes by the username "Glitch System" on PokerStars. He shared an apartment in Vienna with two other players, Nicholas and Manuel, and primarily played MTTs but occasionally played cash games up to NL200, where he was a break-even player.
However, everything changed when Cruz switched to cash games and quickly climbed to the highest stakes available. He also started locking his room while grinding, which caused a confrontation with his roommates. Cruz confessed that he was using a real-time solver, which he called a "dream machine."
As a result of this confession, Cruz was kicked out of his flat, and his roommates decided to share all relevant information and data with PokerStars' integrity team and GG Network. They included screenshots and WhatsApp chats where Cruz confessed to using a solver. They also revealed more details, such as a high-stakes program that involved his roommates and Henry Buller. Cruz candidly admitted that he would be destroyed by regulars without the legal assistance of his solver.
After being confronted, Cruz stopped playing for a while and told his friends that he wouldn't use a dream machine anymore and would return to MTTs. However, it turned out to be a lie as he quickly returned to NL1K 2K cash games. The thread also describes the dream machine used by Cruz, which is another computer with a folder structure that contains all possible cash game spots solved. This way, he can play a nearly perfect GTO game.
Fedor defended himself by saying that his roommates had action in his high-stakes games. The general consensus on the 2+2 thread is that real-time solver cases are very common now, and online poker sites are not making enough efforts to control the situation. They proposed implementing lower time banks and a dynamic structure of blinds and antes.
In another story, two accomplished poker pros fell victim to a clever scam last year. James Romero, an American poker pro, and online payload crusher Graspidas lost $20,000 after a scammer created two Skype profiles mimicking their names. The affected players got involved in a heated argument as to who should be blamed for the incident.
It all began when Gras Vides expressed his intention to swap his PokerStars and ACR funds. Romero also posted in the same group that he had $60,000 Luxem and wanted to trade Bitcoins. The scammer who created a fake James Romero profile contacted Gras Vides, who responded and asked for a hard vouch prior to closing the deal. The scammer who created a fake Gras Vides account messaged the real James Romero and offered to trade his ACR for Bitcoins. The latter agreed and also asked for a hard vouch. The scammer complied, and the trade was made.
Gras Vides sent $20,000 to the ACR account of the real Romero. After receiving the $20,000 in the ACR funds, Romero then sent Bitcoin to the fake Gras Vides, meaning the $20,000 worth of Bitcoins did not reach the real Gras Vides. Both players were clueless that they were actually dealing with an impostor. Graspidas eventually figured out that he had been victimized by a clever scammer and immediately raised the issue on the same Skype chat group, but Romero's responses were not what he had expected. Romero apparently pointed fingers at him for being careless and negligent.
Some players think Romero did not care because he wasn't the one who went out of pocket, while others also said it with Romero. The pro eventually gave in and decided to split the $20,000 in losses by sending back $10,000 to Gras Vides.
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