Friday, February 20, 2015

Poker Cheaters and Public Confidence

Today Daniel Negreanu posted a new entry on his blog provocatively titled “A List of Players Who Should Be Barred from WSOP?

The post goes on to answer the title’s question with discussion of six different individuals, each of whom has distinguished him or herself in the poker world via significant controversies that ultimately reflected poorly not just on themselves but the game, generally speaking. Negreanu doesn’t, in fact, propose banishing all six of those whom he discusses, but instead presents a specific criterion for earning such a penalty -- namely, having been found to cheat at poker -- then applies it to each of those he examines.

You can probably guess most if not all of the six persons Negreanu chooses to discuss as candidates for being barred, as well as who among them would be chosen for banishment by Kid Poker and who would not.

The WSOP’s official tournament rules cover a number of violations for which the penalty includes being ejected from a given event and/or losing the privilege to participate in future WSOP events (or even ever again being able to enter the Rio). Various forms of cheating are obviously covered under that heading, with tournament officials likewise able to use their own discretion on how to treat other behaviors thought to compromise the integrity of a given event.

In other words, if you cheat, collude, chip dump, or soft play, you’re risking being made to forfeit your chips, having to give up any prize money won, being ejected from the tourney, or losing the ability to play at the WSOP ever again. Other disruptive behaviors while playing in WSOP events can be penalized similarly -- you can check out Section IV of last year’s rules for a complete rundown of offenses.

The last rule listed in that section looks like it does give the WSOP authority to impose the kind of “barring” Negreanu discusses -- that is, to keep someone from participating who hasn’t necessarily broken any rules or committed other acts in a WSOP event, but who would nonetheless create problems for the WSOP should he or she try to register for an event.

“Where a situation arises that is not covered by these rules,” reads that rule, “[the] Rio shall have the sole authority to render a judgment, including the imposition of a penalty, in accordance with the best interests of the Tournament and the maintenance of its integrity and public confidence.”

I think it’s safe to say tournament officials would hate to face the prospect of delivering that kind of judgment upon a player who hasn’t actually violated any rules while playing a WSOP event, but who by attempting to participate in one would somehow compromise either the integrity of the tournament and/or damage “public confidence” -- like a known cheater would.

Check out Negreanu’s post and decide for yourself what might happen if any of the six he discusses happened to show up to play an event this summer.

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Blogger OhCaptain said...

I liked Negreqanu's post. The people he listed there gave very black eyes to poker and are definitely not helping any of us enjoy the game in light of how bad the public opinion can be. One thing I struggle with is the notion that somehow the WSOP is something separate from the company that owns it. While I love the idea that it's an independent entity, in the end, it is owned by Harrah's or whatever company name they use these days. It's their show and they can also run it into the toilet if they choose. It's there's to do with what they please.

2/23/2015 12:47 PM  

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