Forum Files: Nobody Likes a Rat; Or Do They?

Steve Ruddock : February 18th, 2016


The big topic of the week on the forums was an op-ed column at by Phil Galfond, with an assist from Chad Holloway. In the column Galfond not only talks about the need for the poker community to out scammers and thieves, but he does the unthinkable and names names.

The forums reacted predictably, with some calling out Galfond for any number of issues (some dating back several years apparently), while others applauded his efforts.

A day later another thread appeared that also named names, and all the while there is not so small story unfolding in Nevada, where a company with strong ties to the now defunct (thank god) Ultimate Bet is about to be approved for a license.

Phil Galfond outs scammer, encourages others to follow

Following his op-ed, the obligatory thread on 2+2 began as most do, with some poster simply relaying some information that he read on a poker site. But by page three the thread had already morphed into an esoteric discussion about  the role of training sites in poker and who’s at fault for educating players, and why you should NEVER lend anyone money, EVER… unless x, y, or z applies, in that case it’s probably ok… Otherwise, NEVER!

While the majority of the responses have been positive and in support of Galfond outing someone who owes him a very large sum of money for quite a while, and also of his encouragement of others to do likewise, there are pockets of opposition. Some posters are putting forth the argument that PokerNews shouldn’t have gotten involved in this matter to begin with, or given Galfond a platform to out someone without giving equal time to the accused.

There is also a tertiary group that is steadfast in their belief that Galfond only went public because he exhausted all other options to get paid, and this equals bad.

For most, the larger point Galfond was trying to make in his op-ed was that the poker community has a duty to one another to not let scammers and thieves go unnoticed, lest they hurt someone else far more than the person who has kept quiet.

However you slice it, it’s an interesting situation, as outing a scammer or someone who owes you money drastically reduces your chance of being paid, and hopefully you never find yourself in this situation.

The Canadian Chino Rheem?

Perhaps spurred on by Galfond’s call to action, or perhaps it’s just a total coincidence,just a day after Galfond called on the community to out scammers, a thread appeared on 2+2 titled, It’s official: Shakeeb “njaguar” Kazemipur the Chino Rheem of Canada, which linked back to a lengthy Facebook post detailing the situation from the accusers point of view.

2+2 astutely noted that there is already a lengthy reddit thread on Shak’s alleged malfeasance, and based on the still short 2+2 thread, it doesn’t seem like he’s made many friends in poker.

Meanwhile in Las Vegas…

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has given Iovation, a geolocation and verification company, preliminary approval for a license.

The problem with this approval occurs when you dig (and you don’t have to dig very deep) into Iovation’s corporate structure and its ties to a very dubious online poker site that stole some $20-something million from players during the heyday of the poker boom.

Iovation is headed by former Ultimate Bet executive Greg Pierson, who’s front and center on the leaked Travis Makar tapes that intimate that Peirson was part of, or had knowledge of, the cover-up of the Super User scandal at the site.

Oddly, when Ultimate Poker first launched in Nevada back in 2013, Iovation was found to be providing verification services for the company and the forums lost their collective minds, leading to Ultimate Poker dropping Iovation as a third-party provider. This time around not so much. The company is about to be approved for a license in Nevada and the 2+2 thread has only reached two pages, this despite several columns popping up trying to educate people on the history of the company.

Iovation Recommended For Nevada Gaming License

Nevada Gaming Control Board Recommends Approval Of Iovation Application

UltimateBet Fraud Firm Iovation Conditionally Recommended by NGC (Pt 1)

UltimateBet Fraud Firm Iovation Conditionally Recommended by NGC (Pt 2)

Perhaps as 2+2 mod PokerAddict noted, “people just don’t care anymore.”

The one bright spot was Iovation’s odd decision to follow PokerStars PR man Micheal Josem on Twitter. Josem was one of the original sleuths who helped uncover the whole Super User cheating scandal in the first place… hopefully they do a better job geolocating and with player verification than they do with choosing who to follow on Twitter.

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