Tag Archives: multiaccounting

The Cheater Challenge

(I’m going to leave names out of this post because I think it applies to a lot of people, many of whom I don’t know about. Obviously I have some specific people in mind, though.)

I’ve had a lot of discussions over the past year or so with known former cheaters and friends of known former cheaters. A lot of them feel that the sort of incessant verbal abuse directed at them on the internet (and much much less often, in real life) is unfair. Their arguments of course vary, but usually the gist will be something like this: “I made mistakes in the past. I’m a different person now. I can’t take back my actions.”

I agree. I believe strongly in forgiveness, and I absolutely hate the idea of giving known former cheaters no chance of redemption and therefore very little incentive to avoid cheating, scamming, and stealing in the future. So, I’d like to try to do something about this.

While I don’t claim to speak for the peanut gallery and I certainly can’t control their opinions, I do think I know enough about the poker community to know how former cheaters (and likely former scammers and thieves as well) can salvage their reputations with the majority of its members. Frankly, it’s pretty obvious, but most known former cheaters are too busy feeling like victims to actually proactively try to make up for what they’ve done, and the community seems to be mostly interested in insulting cheaters and arguing about whether they deserve to be insulted. So, in order to nudge both parties towards a solution, I present The Cheater Challenge:

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Unenforced Rules Suck

It’s becoming more and more clear that the major poker sites are not enforcing many of their own rules.

Part of this is because they’ve made rules that simply can’t be enforced: FTP bans ghosting, and most major sites now ban datamining. Some of their rules clearly are enforceable but either aren’t enforced at all or have no real punishments associated with them: I only know of one example of a site actually confiscating money for multiaccounting in cash games (and it was a complicated case), and I don’t think anyone’s ever gotten more than a warning for using PTR while playing. (Similar problems exist in the live poker world as well, but I’m not really qualified to comment. Nate detailed a bunch of problems with selective enforcement at the PCA in this 2p2 post.)

The result is, predictably, a lot of confusion. Some people simply ignore all these rules and make a lot of money as a result. Most people ignore some of the unenforced rules (PTR, ghosting while coaching), but not all of them. Some people get in trouble for doing things that they didn’t even know were wrong. Throughout this process, the unquestionably important rules such as the bans on collusion or buying accounts deep in tournaments lose their weight. This is obviously a terrible situation, and it will only get worse if the sites don’t do something about it as people continue to learn what they can get away with. Current high profile cases of people breaking the rules and making tons of money off of it with no consequences, like ugotabanana and PTR have, will encourage others to follow suit and certainly won’t make things easier.

So, things definitely have to change. In each case in which a rule is either not enforced or enforced only selectively, each site should either change the rule or start seriously enforcing it. They need to make it clear that breaking their rules is cheating, and cheating is both unprofitable and unacceptable. I’ll outline my specific ideas on how to handle multiaccounting and datamining below (a lot of which is just copied and pasted from an old 2p2 post of mine), but I think that the general policy that rules are rules is much more important than the specifics.

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