Monday, October 22, 2007

Cheaters, Thieves, and Angle Shooters

By Pauly
Melbourne, Australia
"For nothing can seem foul to those that win." - William Shakespeare
We're all criminals. America is a nation that is being run into the ground by suits in Washington who are nothing more than slimy used car salesmen flashing a fake smile one moment and then fucking you in the ass when you least expect it. But that's politics. And if you really believe that we have a freedom of choice in America, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell you. For cheap. And I accept PokerStars transfers.

Of course there is cheating in online poker and that's why it needs to be regulated by an independent watchdog to insure that the game is being played as fair as possible.

You can't eliminate cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters. Sure, you can make it hard for them to operate, but whenever there's any semblance of money, power, greed, love, or sex on the line... the cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters will be lurking in the shadows like the cockroaches that troll your kitchen floor late at night, only to scatter at the moment you flick on the light switch. Unless you have a big can of Raid, you're shit out of luck.

You have to be aware that the world is filled with cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters and do your best to minimize your risk when dealing with people that the Danes call "falskspillers."

Shakespeare wrote one of the most famous lines in all of literature in his epic play Hamlet. It wasn't Hamlet himself who uttered the catchphrase which he often gets credit for. Instead it was a minor character named Marcellus in Act 1, scene 4 of Hamlet who said... "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

The mainstream press got wind of the Absolute Poker online cheating scandal and will be beating that dead horse to a bloody pulp, until they lose interest and another sensationalist story pops up like Lindsay Lohan crashing her new Mercedes into the lobby of the Standard Hotel on Sunset Blvd. in Hollyweird after an insane coke binge.

The word is out about the AP cheating scandal and a bunch of Wonder Bread eating folks in fly over states might lose some sleep at night and avoid online poker like the plague. And yes, the religious zealots from the Bible Belt might stir up more shit in Washington and preach about the evils of internet gambling. But that won't deter the big poker machine from continuing its path.

Even if people knew a site was rigged, they would still play on it. Why? Because they're a bunch of degenerate gamblers and action junkies. Let's be honest, our society is riddled with fixed and rigged events and people still engage in those activities.

Does anyone actually believe a nimrod like George W. Bush could get elected... twice? Well, he did and the joke was on all of us who voted in the 2004 election when deep down, we all knew the 2000 race was rigged. It's an ugly truth that has riddled politics since the inception of democracy. Elections are rigged not just here in the land of apple pie and MTV, but all over the world. Joseph Stalin summed up democracy best when he said, "It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes."

Horse racing has been rigged for centuries. Yet, people still continue to bet on the ponies.

Cheating runs rampant in professional sports which is a billion dollar industry. Tennis players throw matches. Boxers take dives. Players on the take throw games and shave points. Referees and umpires fix games. Yet, we still watch and root on our favorite teams often wondering if that missed foul shot or that pass interference penalty had anything to do with the point spread. MiamiDon and I both agree that the best games to bet on in Vegas are the ones where you're on the good side of the fix.

Athletes cheat. There's so much pressure involved that those industries are running rampant with cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters.

The Chicago Blacksox. Marion Jones. Floyd Landis. Barry Bonds. Those are the cheaters that we know about. Joe Niekro used to throw a spitball, yet batters still got into the box to face him.

Roy Jones got robbed at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He lost to Park Si-Hun by a 3-2 decision in the gold medal fight. Jones pummeled Park Si-Hun for three rounds and landed 86 punches to Park's 32, yet Jones was awarded the silver medal.

Not only are Olympic judges bribed, but so are court judges. I grew up in NYC in the 1970s where the police force was infiltrated by dirty cops. It's continuously happened throughout history. Those in power who are supposed to protect us succumb to the evils of bribery and fat envelopes filled with cash.

I work in a shady business and despite the obstacles, I have achieved some success, which is why I constantly think about getting out of poker. Every day I say the same thing, "I'm waiting for the time when I can finally say, this has all been wonderful, but now I'm on my way."

But I don't and I'm still here mainly because outside of poker and Las Vegas, I'm virtually unemployable. Plus, I have made a lot of amazing friends along the way. And If I leave, I won't see them as much. I'm gonna stick around the party for a little while longer. But if more of my friends decide to bail, then the time will come when I'll sneak out the side door and I'll finally get to go home after being on the road for three long years.

My girlfriend used to work in Hollywood as a child actor and then as a studio executive and she has recanted thousands of horror stories. I thought that Wall Street was crawling with the lowest scum of the Earth until I started working in Las Vegas and immersed myself in the poker industry. Sure the suits on Wall Street are bad ass motherfuckers who will sell you out in a heartbeat, but at least there was a semblance of honor among thieves in that profession. Fortunate for me, the survival skills I learned in the trenches on Wall Street prepared me for the last three years in poker. Otherwise, I would have been screwed over at least a dozen more times.

We're all criminals. There's no a single person among us who has not broken a law. Even the most pious of people have weaknesses and push the elasticity of rules that we have set forth in society. Every single day, people drive without seat belts. People smoke pot, shit some of you reading this are high right now. People cheat on their taxes. People cheat on their spouses. Kids cheat on tests in school. Companies sell products like cell phones and cigarettes that they know are going to harm their consumers, yet they do it anyway.

Gordon Gekko said it best. Greed is good.

Some folks are legitimate gamblers and are willing to take risks breaking the law. Others are simply sheep. If they see others getting away with stuff, they'll follow suit. And then there are folks who do bad shit because they know that there's a very small chance they will get caught and called out on it. In modern times, people are lazy even those who are entrusted to enforce the rules of our society.

Cheating has been in poker since the inception of poker itself. Cards were marked. Cheating teams developed. Heck, some of the members of the illustrious Poker Hall of Fame took part in less than legitimate games over the years. Everyone has seen Rounders. Don't forget that even our hero, Mike McD, cheated with Worm and he alluded to the fact that they cheated in the past on more than one instance. That's what made the flick real for me. There's collusion in poker. It happens everyday in Las Vegas except it's hard to prove, unlike in online poker, where's there's a paper trail.

Flipchip has told me plenty of stories about the old Las Vegas before the corporations took over and ran all the mobsters out of town. Cheating was rampant those days and if they players weren't shooting angles... the casinos were. You really had to have balls of steel to play in the crooked card games. We forget how much poker has changed over the years and how much cheating had been eliminated. Brick and mortar rooms and online poker sites have it in their best interest to run legit games, but it wasn't always like that.

As Texas Dolly often said, if you managed to avoid the cheats, you were worried about getting robbed by criminals or pinched by the police. That's why they used to play with a gun as a card capper. When you know your opponent is packing heat, you'll definitely think twice about cheating.

Those scumbags at Absolute Poker are lucky it's 2007 and not 1957. Maybe they'll get prosecuted or maybe they'll get a slap on the wrist. In Arab nations, you get your hand cut off if you're caught stealing. Back in the day of those illegal card games in the back rooms of smoke-filled saloons and syphilis infested whorehouses, if cheaters were caught, they were shot on the spot. No questions asked. Yeah, there's lots of holes in the desert.

Within the gambling world, I have seen some of the most intelligent people I ever met succumb to the dark side of humanity. I've spent enough time in Las Vegas and working in casinos to witness the depravity. I've been asked by pros to help them cheat, I've been asked by others to plant false stories, and I've been asked by others to bury stories.

Pros dump chips. Cheating teams exist and pass higher denomination chips to one another during breaks. These days, everyone has a piece of each other that you never know if they made a bad call or simply were helping out one of their horses.

The human race is cluttered with evil, corrupt, vile, and manipulative people. When large sums of money are involved, it drives people to commit atrocious acts that they never thought were possible. Fame. Sex. Money. Power. Just name any of the seven deadly sins and any one of them or a combination is the motive behind people's malicious acts.

Absolute Poker got caught with their pants down and their hand in the cookie jar. This is not the first time this has happened. Sadly, it won't be the last time. Wickedness is around all of us at every moment of the day. That's why it's important to surround yourself with positive people that you can trust and have the moral rectitude to do the right thing. There are people and companies in the poker industry who are legit. They conduct themselves with honor and integrity. I suggest you figure out who those people are and give them your business.

Of course, that doesn't mean the people at your table are not cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters. Players cheat online in high stakes short-handed games and IM each other their hands. Players have multi-accounts and abuse the system. Sometimes they get caught and sometimes they don't. We have heard about a few instances such as ZeeJustin, JJProdigy, and most recently Mark Teltscher at the WCOOP. Sites like PokerStars, Full Tilt, PokerRoom, and Party Poker do their due diligence and thoroughly investigate these matters. But it makes you wonder about these smaller sites and the ones who got hit hard by the UIGEA crunch.

Remember the first ever online poker bloggers tournament that Grubby set up on a site called Choice Poker almost four years ago? A handful of us played and most of us got fucked when the site went under and they refused to pay us back the money that we had deposited on the site. I'm still waiting for my money from those fuckers, which of course will never come. These days there's a blogger tournament every single day on PokerStars or Full Tilt and everyone can play without worrying about getting paid if they decide to cash out.

So it's a catch-22. You can play in a live game where people can cheat without any proof. Or you can play online where people can cheat but there's a paper trail. If you ask me, you have more protection online. If the sites don't back you up, you have plenty of people in the poker community, like Nat Arem and the guys at PocketFives, who will take matters in their own hands to protect the integrity of the game.

You have to always keep your guard up and watch your back. After all, we're all criminals.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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