Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Grab Your Popcorn (Isildur1 v. Full Tilt)

Full Tilt: Admit OneSpent most of yesterday running around seeing family and doing some last minute shopping. I did, however, try to monitor from time to time what folks were saying about the PokerNews interview with the still-unidentified Isildur1 that appeared yesterday. You know that name “Isildur” is a Lord of the Rings thing, right? This sucker is turning into a regular triple-feature.

I saw threads continuing to lengthen on the forums as the debate persists regarding what indeed might have happened prior to Brian Hastings’ huge $4.2 million winning session versus Isildur1 on 12/8/09. Still a lot of energy among the posters going back and forth with arguments over whether or not Hastings unduly benefited from information about Isildur1’s play prior to the session.

For most, the issue concerns Full Tilt Poker’s admonition, listed in its “Site Terms,” against players gaining “an unfair advantage” by “accessing or compiling information on other players beyond that which the user has personally observed through his or her own game play.” Statements by Hastings following the session alluded to his having seen reports on Isildur1’s play that had been compiled by his friend and fellow CardRunners pro Brian Townsend. (See yesterday’s post for more specifics.)

Adding to the intrigue, Full Tilt Poker’s Fraud and Security Team conducted an investigation of the matter, including interviewing Hastings, Townsend, and Cole South, and determined that neither Hastings nor South were guilty of any violations of FTP’s terms. Townsend, however, was found to be guilty of “datamining,” and has thus been stripped of his Red Pro status on Full Tilt Poker for one month.

Not the first time Townsend has violated FTP’s rules, incidentally. You might recall how late last summer (2008) Townsend admitted to having created and played under multiple accounts (though not simultaneously) on both Full Tilt Poker and on PokerStars. For that transgression, Full Tilt revoked Townsend’s Red Pro status for six months.

Interestingly, Townsend’s explanation at the time concerned the fact that he had been experiencing a downswing and was thus forced to play lower stakes games than he normally did. “The reason why I created these accounts,” wrote Townsend on his blog, “was because I enjoy anonymity when playing smaller and am very prideful in what I do.” (Townsend also spoke with PokerNews’ Gloria Balding at the time regarding the issue.) In other words, it was a desire to remain anonymous and not have players whom he faced know that he was Brian Townsend -- a.k.a., the former phenom “sbrugby” who a year or so before had suddenly turned up at the high-stakes games to take on the big boys (much like Isildur1) -- that motivated him to create and use the additional accounts.

If you’ve read the interview with Isildur1 from yesterday on PokerNews, you saw that the unknown Swede is considering filing a “formal complaint” with Full Tilt Poker regarding the session with Hastings. It almost sounds as though he hadn’t contemplated doing so until after having been told of Full Tilt Poker’s policies and their potential application to his session with Hastings. He also notes in the interview that he does not plan to play on Full Tilt Poker until he hears back regarding his complaint.

Not sure how far Isildur1 will get with his query, but I’m most certainly intrigued to watch what happens next. As I noted yesterday, the “Site Terms” at Full Tilt Poker as well as similar terms that exist at other online poker sites certainly include a number of essentially ungovernable prohibitions, thus creating a lot of ambiguity among many regarding their efficacy. It is interesting to think how a person’s voluntary publicizing of information regarding his play (e.g., Hastings’ post-session interviews) can invite such scrutiny -- not to mention the potential for punishment.

In other words, as many poker players already know full well, it usually pays to keep quiet.

Such was Isildur1’s strategy until yesterday. Like most, I’m curious to hear more from the Swede, and apparently more is to come over on PokerNews. However, I wouldn’t blame him should he decide to resume his former policy of keeping mum. The safer path, it seems.

(I’m not big on Tolkein minutiae, but I guess his Isildur was finally taken down by a group of attackers after taking a less safe path.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, your post led me into a Wikipedia journey through LOTR related articles. Interestingly, in the 80s, an argument against electronic encyclopedias was that you couldn't browse through it like a paper edition (the browser as an internet facing application was not invented yet) and happen upon articles you didn't intently looking for. Well, you can, much more so. Much much more.

OK, back to the post. I think that, would I become an online pro (hey, LOTR is fantasy too) I would opt for mid-level stakes, $10/$20 or $15/$30, maybe up to $25/$50. It wouldn't make for high soctiety living but I'd have no problem with that.
Above that, things get crazy. Like UB etc, fraudulent behavior mainly sits at the higher levels, I think.

12/29/2009 9:42 AM  

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