Published on 2007-12-02 01:43:13

king is smoking a cigarette and talking about account takeovers in online pokerWith the breakout of the entire "Imper1um" / "BluffMagCV" scandal, maybe people have been wondering why a poker site such as Full Tilt Poker would ban a player for either allowing another player to take over his account late in a tournament, or for actually taking over another person's account late in a tournament.

First off, just because a site such as Pokerstars used to allow this practice, doesn't mean that it is ok now. Rules change. Sites adapt. Just because something was "legal" in the past doesn't mean it is ok now.

If you enter a tournament, bust out, and then take over another player's account late in the tournament (either because you are backing them or bought out their account), then this is no better from multi-accounting. You've played hands under two different accounts in the same tournament, and that's wrong.

Even if you didn't enter a tournament under your own alias, but decided to buy someone's account that is deep in a tournament, this still isn't ok.

Online poker is meant to be an accurate representation of playing live poker. Just because you are sitting at home instead of at a casino, doesn't mean that the rules fly out the window.

If you buy into the World Series of Poker main event and make it to the final table, you can't say to Phil Ivey "Hey, do you want to finish this tournament up for me? I'll sell you my seat for $1 million dollars." This obviously wouldn't fly in live poker, so why should it be any different online?

And before you say, "But what if my Internet crashes and somebody needs to take over my account?" .. I am talking about when people intentionally take over an account late in a tournament, for purposes of enriching themselves. These people all know who they are.

It is extremely unfair to the other people at the table. People who have paid their buy-ins, slogged through 8 hours of poker, dodging bad beats and making great plays .. and suddenly instead of Joe Schmoe at the final table, they are facing one of the best poker players in the world and they don't even know it? Completely unfair. It's costing them equity. Plus, it's not exactly fair that a player has to remain mentally sharp for 8 hours, and is battling fatigue, and suddenly somebody completely fresh takes over an account. Poker is a mental endurance test. Would it be fair if I took over for someone 25 miles into a marathon and sprinted to the finish? Sure, no one is going to throw you in jail for that, but you should definitely be disqualified because it is shady and unethical. Just because something isn't technically "illegal" doesn't make it ok. I'm not going to get thrown in jail for playing with a corked bat in the Major Leagues, but that doesn't make it ok. There are rules that govern the game that I am playing.

Also, if you develop a read on someone and suddenly there is a different person playing the account, this is a completely unfair advantage as well. Let's say that a great poker player takes over for an unknown person's account. The great poker player, if there were watching the tournament as it took place, would have reads on the other players at the table, but the other player's at the table would have no clue (and subsequently, no reads) on the great player who has taken over the account. Again, another unfair advantage. It's completely deceptive and unfair.

Just because someone is a "really nice person" or "they own" doesn't mean that what they are doing is right. They are directly harming the game that we all love, and the end result is going to be major changes that none of us will like. Some of the best conmen are "really nice people" .. that's how they are able to con people. People trust them, and don't ever suspect that they would do any harm.

If people legitimately think that they are being duped and the sites aren't doing enough to combat it, how long do you figure they will continue to shell out the $215 for the Sunday Million tournaments? If you ask me, I would much rather ban one "really good player who is also a nice guy" who cheats, then see one $215 buy-in from an Average Joe decide not to play because they don't really trust the site. That's just me.

Maybe one day there will be so much cheating going on that all of the best players in the world will take over an account that is at the final table of a major online tournament and then they can all "pwn" each other.


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