Forum Files: Four Big Controversies

Alex Weldon : June 15th, 2015

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It’s been “interesting times” in the poker world recently, and the forums are still dominated by threads covering four big controversies, two related to PokerStars and two related to the World Series of Poker. We’ve covered all of these in detail, but in case you missed them at the time, or want to keep up to speed on developments as they happen, this week’s Forum Files will tell you where to go to get all the latest gossip on these four big stories.

PLO Bot Ring Panic
Thread: Massive PLO bot ring on pokerstars. Millions of hands. Huge winners.
Thread: Massive bot ring on PokerStars and how to spot them

This one’s so big it’s managed to generate two separate threads for a combined 82 pages and counting. 2+2 user Schwein has been doing some independent sleuthing and developed techniques to spot players who have allegedly been using a specific AI bot to crush the mid-stakes Pot-Limit Omaha games on PokerStars.

PokerStars security has confirmed that many of these users have already been banned, while others are under investigation; Schwein himself is assisting in the hunt.

Predictably, a lot of players are angry and paranoid, particularly those who’ve been victimized by the players in question and have not yet received sufficient compensation from PokerStars. A lot of unfounded suspicion is likewise being thrown around, with many users being called out simply because they come from the same east-European countries as the actual bot users.

PokerStars Responds to Skier_5 Controversy
Thread: 3rd Party Software on PokerStars: Proposed Rule Changes

The PLO Bot Ring is the second controversy to rock PokerStars in the past month, and they’re still in the process of dealing with the first one. A few weeks ago, it came out that a player going by “Skier_5″ had produced a piece of software to assist himself and a few other users in crushing hyper-turbo heads-up sit-and-gos.

Although a statistical analysis of the users’ play seemed to indicate AI assistance, it turned out that Skier_5 had actually had the software pre-approved for use by PokerStars. The backlash against both Skier_5 and PokerStars was substantial, and apparently significant enough that they’re now scrambling to amend their 3rd party software policies to ban Skier_5’s software.

Although the proposed changes will also result in a number of other pieces of formerly-legal software being banned, the general consensus in the thread is that they are both necessary and positive. The most common criticism so far consists of concern that the new rules will be difficult to enforce fairly and consistently.

10k Heads-Up Championship: One Cheater, or Many Sore Losers?
Thread: Allegations of Cheating in WSOP 10k HU

The biggest and most contentious story to come out of the 2015 World Series of Poker so far has been the allegations of cheating against Valeriu Coca, a largely-unknown Moldovan player who showed up out of nowhere to play the $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship as his first-ever WSOP event and ran deep in it, finishing 5th. All of the players he defeated along the way felt something was fishy about his play and that, by the end of each match, he was able to tell what cards they were holding. He’s being investigated by the WSOP, but so far nothing has been confirmed either way.

Opinions are pretty diverse on this one, with players breaking down along pro-Coca and anti-Coca lines, as well as having varied opinions on how both his opponents and the World Series of Poker have handled the scandal.

Dealers: Victims of Capitalism or Overpaid Crybabies?
Thread: WSOP dealers $10.79 down, talk of mass walkout

It’s also come out that the dealers at this year’s WSOP are making considerably less money than in past years, and that this was sprung on them at the last minute. As a result, they’ve been threatening a walkout.

You don’t need to read the thread to know how this conversation is going, because it’s the same as any time wages are brought up, whether we’re talking about dealers, teachers, bus drivers or anyone else. Depending on their political persuasion, half the posters are outraged that the Rio would stiff its dealers while raking in money hand-over-fist, while the other half feel that dealers are a bunch of talentless brats who were making too much to begin with and demanding tips on top of it.

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