Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On the (So-Called) “Poker Mentality”

On the 'Poker Mentality'I saw the Poker King’s report yesterday that online whiz Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy has recently signed on as an “UltimateBet Pro,” joining a few other online pros as well as Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth as representatives of the online poker site. Also noticed how the report instantly produced high-volume buzz over at Two Plus Two and elsewhere. At the moment a thread regarding the matter sits atop the “News, Views, and Gossip” forum at 2+2, having garnered hundreds of responses in just twenty-four hours.

Predictably, most of those posting are quite critical of Josephy for having joined with Ultimate Bet, particularly in light of the site’s continued delay in responding to what appears to have been an Absolute Poker-like cheating scandal on the site in which players possibly using “super-user” accounts managed to bilk opponents of at least $1.5 million.

On May 6th, Annie Duke posted on Pocket Fives what she described as “Good News Regarding the UB Investigation,” noting that she was pleased with how the UB “management team” had been looking into the matter, and expressed her hope “that all the details will be released very soon . . . perhaps within two to three weeks.” It has been just over three weeks since Duke’s post, so while some of us remain skeptical, it is nevertheless possible we may well be hearing something from Ultimate Bet in the near future.

Of course, if it is the case that a report from UB on the scandal is indeed imminent, why in the world wouldn’t the announcement of Josephy joining the UB team have been delayed until after that report had been made?

However one feels about UB or Josephy, it seems to me that it would’ve made much more sense from a public-relations standpoint to have waited until after the report to announce Josephy’s signing, when the news would’ve sounded more like the online pro and co-owner of PokerXFactor -- a person with quite a bit of influence in the online poker world -- was endorsing the site’s integrity by joining the team.

Too logical, probably. Two other brief points on the subject . . .

Earlier today, Mark over at Plan3tGong raised an interesting question regarding the issue when he asked “Has Anti-Absolute / UB Sentiment Gone Too Far?” In his post, Mark primarily questions “the militancy of those who believe that this group of poker sites is ‘evil’ and anyone associated with them has ‘lost all credibility.’”

Mark makes a worthwhile point, although he doesn’t directly touch upon what for me has always been the primary issue, namely, the lack of upfront communication from either site with their customers regarding the serious breaches of security that definitely occurred at AP and almost without a doubt occurred at UB. Doesn’t make ’em “evil,” necessarily, but most certainly does affect their credibility pretty severely, in my view.

Finally, I noticed someone in the 2+2 thread making this argument in response to the “militants” (as Mark characterizes those spewing vitriol in Ultimate Bet and/or Josephy’s direction):
would anyone of you care to elaborate what exactly should he [Josephy] be doing with his reputation? this is poker and the poker mentality is to get yourself in as many +ev situations as possible.

getting sponsored by a big online poker site >>> having a good reputation which by itself is worthless

take a deep breath and lay down your double standards (i know this won[’]t happen)... actually just keep on lying to yourselves and riding on your high morales [sic] while in reality you would make the same choice in a hearbeat [sic] if you were in his shoes.
Pretty bleak stuff, wouldn’t you say? I’ve written before about this notion of the “poker mentality” inviting a different system of ethics on human behavior, one based primarily on greed, selfishness, and a lack of respect or concern for others’ welfare. All applicable at the tables, of course (if winning is yr goal). But hardly transferable without adjustment to all other situations.

I’m obviously none too enthused by Josephy’s becoming an UltimateBet pro, primarily because for some it seems to endorse that anything-goes, screw-em-if-you-can-get-away-with-it, “poker mentality” the poster (and a lot of other online players) seem readily to champion.

As also happens when sites where cheating has occurred don’t respond in a serious and timely manner.

(EDIT [added 5/28/08]: After posting, I saw via California Jen that Josephy posted deep in the 2+2 thread that apparently his “signing with UB is contingent upon a satisfactory resolution of the ‘superuser’ issue.” Which makes the timing even stranger, to me -- if that’s case, why announce now and not later?)

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Blogger Otis said...

Why now instead of later? I'll give you one guess.

And you have to guess before you see Bax's shirt this weekend.

5/28/2008 1:39 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Of course, of course. Good point, Otis.

Would be surprised, really, to hear UB's report come out right as the WSOP kicked off. We'll see, tho'.

5/28/2008 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think all of us in the poker community are eagerly awaiting anything from UB on this matter.

What will happen after that remains to be seen.

5/28/2008 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I agree but I dream the list inform should prepare more info then it has.

12/28/2009 12:32 AM  

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