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Rant: Wot No Live Poker Tournament Security?
I suddenly feel the urge to grab a can of black spray paint and attack the whitest of casino walls.
It’s time for Chad (or Kilroy if you're American) to emerge from the can, and send a message to the bigwigs of the casino industry.
The message is simple: “Wot no casino security?”
Chad was a motif used during the Second World War as a way for the general public to express its displeasure at a lack of "something" that was causing them hardship.
Back then the problems were bread, sugar and meat. In my world, my current problem is security at live poker tournaments. Or pointedly - the lack of it.
Among the Dumbest Poker Scams of All Time
After a 24-hour investigation by Borgata officials and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement the first event of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open - a $560 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) Re-Entry $2m Guaranteed Event - has been cancelled.
All unpaid prize money is frozen until a further review has been carried out. The problem?
A person, or persons, somehow managed to smuggle over $1m counterfeit chips into the field of an event that attracted 4,812 entrants and created a total prize pool of $2,325,835.
According to the grapevine, at the end of Day 2 tournament officials counted the chips of the remaining 27 players and found 97,370,000 in chips when there should have only been 96,240,000.
This has to rank amongst the dumbest poker scams of all time and yet it’s a scam that shows us how lax our security really is.
The problem first came to light after players started to notice that the grey 5k chips were different in color, feel and touch. Photographs circulating on Twitter show that the chips looked completely different.
Also ... How on earth did the cheaters believe they were going to make it all the way to the final table without tournament organizers finding out about the discrepancy? Nobody is that dumb right?
Here’s the thing. Nobody would have gotten away with it. You can’t. Players are responsible for counting their own chips before bagging them at the end of the day.
Those counts are then used by tournament officials to make sure the tally of chips is correct. As the field condensed it was inevitable that the additional million chips would have been found.
But what then? Players know they can create scams until their hearts are content. Nothing ever happens to them. If you have the capability to scam, then your skin is pretty thick.
These people don’t care what people think of them. Shout at them all you like. They don’t run to the hills. They turn up, take the stick and keep on playing.
Not only have they highlighted Grand Canyon-size gaps in security but they have also, once again, poured attention on the fact that we allow players to get away with murder.
Or, more pointedly, the casinos and tournament organizers allow them to get away with murder.
We Do Know People Capable of Doing This
During a recent interview with Mike Matusow the Mouth spoke of his worry about new re-entry rules and how they could compromise the games' integrity.
“It creates a tremendous chance for collusion. We know certain people who are very capable of doing that,” Matusow told a Bluff interviewer.
You’re right Mike. We do know people who are very capable of doing this. And they are still playing in tournaments all around the world.
For every Jean Paul Pasqualini that goes into hiding there is a Men the Master who couldn’t give a flying four-letter word what you think of him.
Nguyen was playing in this $2m Guaranteed tournament and most eyes on the 2+2 forum now seem to be pointing in his direction.
Nobody is guilty until proven so, and this isn’t a whodunit rant, it’s a rant at the casino owners for allowing this sort of thing to happen.
The organizers of this scam didn’t think they would get away with it scot free, but they did think they could get into the deeper end of the money pool and make a profit before tournament organizers got a sniff of how smelly this whole thing was.
Start Protecting Our Game, Mr. Casino
Have Pasqualini and Cedric Rossi returned the $2.3m in live tournament earnings that they allegedly earned via unscrupulous methods from the Partouche Poker Tour (PPT) back in 2009?
There was over $2.3m at stake here ladies and gentlemen. That’s a lot of money by my reckoning, and I have been at tournaments where there has been a whole lot more at stake.
So why are we missing the standards? Where is our security? Why isn’t our game afforded the same respect as the table games that are bleeding money just a craps throw away from our counterfeit chips?
The integrity of our game is being hauled through the mud and it’s sticking. We are never going to gain the universal appeal needed to push on from the excellent work of PokerStars, World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker, if we cannot clean this up.
We are becoming the leper of the gaming and sporting world. And it’s clear that we can’t rely on the players. So step forward Mr. Casino and start to make a difference.
Flex those muscles and start taking our game seriously. Stop thinking about profit for just one second and instead inject some logic - and cash - into security.
Start protecting our game before Chad starts rearing his head on the white walls of casinos all over the world.
“Wot no poker?”