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Rant: Let's Keep Thugs Out of Poker with Some Legal Loan Protection
I just had a drink with two of my old poker friends and asked them who was still in the game.
Nothing had changed. The stalwarts were still there, and the ‘sometimes’ gang were ‘sometimes’ in the game.
“Pete owes me money. We haven’t seen him since Christmas,” said Terry.
“Robert owes me £400. He’s out of work so I won’t see that for a while. But I’ll get it back. No doubt about it. I’ll get it back," said Tommy.
Par for the Poker Course
This is par for the course. At the grassroots level of the game people make loans to other people to keep the game running.
There is also a ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back’ mentality. But... In my local game there were a few simple rules.
- 1) Never make a loan to someone you don’t know
- 2) Never make a loan to someone when you don’t know where he/she lives
When defining the term ‘someone you don’t know’ there has to be a level of trust. In my game most of the players know each other very well.
Some of them have grown up together. There is a level of trust that runs quite deep.
At the professional level I have seen poker players lend other poker players thousands of pounds for no other reason than they are a poker player.
They know nothing about their background, they cannot hand on heart say they trust them - but they follow the code and hand over the money.
In the summer, during an online high-stakes clash between Noah Boeken and Daniel Cates, the Jungleman accused Boeken of being a cheat.
Just another day in the office of high-stakes chat box banter, really, until Boeken countered by accusing Jungleman of hiring a hitman to collect his debts.
I asked Cates if he would like to comment on the hitman accusations and he declined saying: ‘They are just rumors.’
I doubt that Cates would ever hire a gun-toting hitman to handle his debts. That would be -EV (you can’t get money from a dead man).
But I can see a player hiring a thug to batter the living shit out of a player because he's run out of patience over an unpaid loan.
This problem is rife. It’s difficult not to find a poker player who is not owed money by another poker player.
It makes you wonder why anybody ever lends anyone money these days. Then you realize that, in most cases, it’s a vital exchange to keep the game running.
So if it is a vital exchange, then why not place some protection around it? Why hasn’t someone - who is a lot smarter than me - figured out a way of protecting himself when dishing out a loan to a supposed friend?
A legalized system would not only protect the players but it would also clean up our game. No more headlines of doom concerning unpaid debts.
And who knows ... perhaps the hitmen can stay away from our world and concentrate on doing what they do best – killing people.
Garnishment Writ Step in Right Direction
In the summer, as Dutch Boyd was preparing to settle in for what would prove to be his third World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet, he was issued with a writ of garnishment by 2+2 owner Mason Malmuth.
It ensured Boyd would be legally obliged to pay Malmuth money that Boyd owed him from the winnings he was about to receive.
The garnishment writ idea was an inspired move. Unfortunately, this process won’t hold up during most of our exchanges.
These writs are generally granted via a court order and in the case of Boyd v Malmuth it was in relation to a court case than Malmuth had won.
So garnishment writs aren’t necessarily the answer, but it is a step in the right direction.
Once again, if a poker player wants protection then he needs to act more professional. Take the bull by the horns and do something about it.
Seek legal advice and evaluate if there is a more constructive way of making these loans -- instead of the current modus operandi that resembles two children haggling over a Panini sticker collection in the school yard.