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Full Tilt Suspends Brian Townsend
Facing allegations of cheating, colluding and multi-accounting, Brian Townsend has come clean, resulting in his second suspension from Full Tilt.
The allegations, which claimed Cole South, Brian Hastings and Townsend colluded to cheat Isildur1 out of millions, began almost immediately after Brian Hastings’ one-day $4.2 million dollar win against the unknown Swede.
The first public comments made by any of the accused came from an ESPN.com interview with Hastings and Townsend after Hastings’ big win.
According to Hastings, the three players worked together to understand and find weaknesses in Isildur1’s game.
"Honestly, I give most of the credit to Brian Townsend here. I mean, Brian is honestly the hardest worker I know in poker,” Hastings told ESPN.
“He analyzed a database of heads-up hands that Isildur1 had played and constructed ranges of what Isildur1 was doing in certain spots. The three of us discussed a ton of hands and the reports that Brian made, so I'm very thankful to him and to Cole as well."
When it comes to sharing hands and information on opposing players, Full Tilt’s terms and conditions are very clear:
“Full Tilt Poker defines an unfair advantage as a user accessing or compiling information on other players beyond that which the user has personally observed through his or her own game play” (from item #8 of the Full Tilt T&C).
Townsend has taken full responsibility for the infraction, and through his blog clearly explained exactly what his infraction consisted of.
“I had about 20k hands of play on Isildur and I acquired another 30k hands” wrote Townsend.
“Of the three I was the sole one to break the T&C of Full Tilt. The three of us never shared hands where mucked hands were shown besides a few hands I posted on weaktight.org, and in fact all the information I received could be taken from watching the game.”
In layman’s terms, Townsend combined his own showdown hand histories with another 30,000 hands from South and Hastings to run definitive reports and queries on Isildur1’s game, allowing detailed strategic discussions between Hastings, South and himself, which directly led to Hastings having the successful session he did.
"At that level, to be successful, you really have to take advantage of the little things," Hastings told ESPN. "They can help make the difference. That's why [analysis and discussion] is so important."
The actual breach of Full Tilt’s T&C’s is considered a relatively small one, which the majority of serious online players are assumed to commit daily using software or websites to acquire or view hand histories from hands they were not specifically a part of. These histories do not share any private information and can be found through multiple sources, including PokerListings' own MarketPulse section.
As a result, Full Tilt decided to suspend Townsend’s Red Pro status on the site for a period of 30 days. It is assumed that during this suspension Townsend will no longer receive any of the benefits or rewards from being a Red Pro, potentially costing the online pro thousands of dollars.
As for the allegations of collusion, ghosting and multi-accounting, Townsend denies all claims.
“Cole, Hastings and I live about 3000 miles from each other," he wrote. "I have never played on Brian H's or Cole S's account.
When it comes to the issue of conglomerating hand histories, Townsend said that is simply not what happened.
"I analyzed the database I put together, and the three of us chatted about my analysis, and optimal strategy against Isildur," he wrote. "Any discussion we had occurred away from the table when we were not playing a session.”
Townsend was first suspended by Full Tilt for six months in 2008 after he admitted to moving down in stakes and playing under a secondary username "Stellarnebula".
He at no time played under mulitple usernames at the same table, but it is against the site's terms and conditions to have more than one active account at any time.
As of the time of publication Townsend ($1.5 mil), South ($210k) and Hastings ($3.8 mil) have taken a combined total of over $5.6 million from Isildur1.
As a result, Isildur1 currently sits with over $2.6 million in losses on the year, and appears to have either lost his roll or spirit. The Swede's last session came Sunday, resulting in a $25k loss from games as low as $10/$20 Pot-Limit Omaha.