As a rule, multi-accounting has always gotten mixed reactions from the poker community. Many players have engaged in it for a variety of reasons ranging from acquiring better bonuses or rakeback deals to getting action or gaining an edge granted by the anonymity. Some vocal players are outraged by the idea and consider it to be blatant cheating, particularly when the offender is a high profile player, however, most seem relatively ambivalent towards the concept.  The rule is virtually non-enforceable and par for the course in an environment where basic anonymity is part of the social contract.

Enter Dan Bilzerian playing on Bill Perkins’ ACR account on his Twitch channel, The Thirst Lounge. Bilzerian’s potential poker prowess has been a topic of speculation both inside and outside of poker circles for several years now, so the opportunity to watch the legend in action was unlikely to go unnoticed for very long. Thus, it’s not a surprise just how quickly this event blew up after Doug Polk humorously analyzed it on his popular YouTube channel, Doug Polk Poker, with ACR clearly benefiting from all the free press.

Streaming the match not only publicly, but live (on a delay) proves exactly why the subject of multi-accounting is so polarizing. If we assume that his opponent, SexAndWhisky, was watching the stream and able to see every hand that didn’t show down, this puts Bilzerian/Perkins at a massive disadvantage. Since the information available is not congruent, in this particular instance the multi-accounters are clearly not cheating with regards to gaining an unfair advantage. However, given the style of play, they are arguably more guilty of chip dumping.

It’s easy to assume that making it known publicly that Bilzerian was playing on the account might move the needle a tad towards the grey area. While one may consider multi-accounting to being akin to jaywalking with regards to enforceability, it’s one thing to do it and quite another to do it right in front of a police car. While I can grudgingly respect the fact that they weren’t taking any pains to hide it and therefore weren’t engaging in any kind of shady behavior, it does make a case as to why rules forbidding multi-accounting are so polarizing, and here is why:

In a future non-streamed session, a player or observer does not know from the outset if Perkins, Bilzerian, or someone else entirely is playing on the account. All that the other party can assume is that it may or may not be Perkins, since he knows for a fact that the account has been shared in the past. Being that Bilzerian’s play left a strong signature, it can easily be imitated simply by aggressively overplaying some hands and revealing his cards at showdown or showing them after a successful bluff. Against reasonably astute players who would know how to counter this style, Perkins could shift gears to capitalize on this image during a huge pot that was setup from the Bilzerian live stream. The entire metagame would be altered in his favor.

For all intents and purposes, Perkins comes across as a stand-up guy and is well regarded in the poker community, and therefore I doubt that this stream had any ulterior motives with regards to benefiting from this in the future. Yet that is not the same thing is saying it couldn’t happen, as the stage has now been set for this scenario to occur.

Letting the initial infraction slide or privately warning Perkins not to do it again without any consequences, ACR put itself in a very awkward position moving forward. By not disabling the account immediately following the violation, ACR was sending the implicit message that this behavior is tolerated, despite their TOS explicitly stating otherwise.

I’m not sure that ACR was sending the right message with the timing of the banning Perkins’ account. Their security team was almost certainly alerted right away to the highly publicized train wreck that was going on, yet failed to do anything about it at the time. It wasn’t until a month later when Dan attempted to redeem himself on The Thirst Lounge that the account was disabled live during the Twitch stream. Given the timing, ACR gives the impression that it was making a public example out of Perkins for the viewers watching the stream.

One now needs to ask:

  1. Are ACR’s rules selectively enforced?
  2. Is ACR not concerned about the integrity of their games?
  3. Worst of all, are ACR’s security team and management so lax that this widely publicized event slipped under the radar?

Personally, I couldn’t give a shite about the infraction, as I accept that this practice occurs with regularity due to its non-enforceability. I am, however, concerned about the lackadaisical regard to the site’s own rules. This is the best argument in favor of paying attention and taking notes, as it allows a player to detect irregularities in their opponents’ play and adjust accordingly. That being said, it’s an even better argument in favor widespread regulation, as it’s difficult to imagine a regulated site tolerating this blatant disregard for their own rules.

I will end this by drawing attention to ACR’s public response from a site representative on the TwoPlusTwo forums.

Just so you know…

I don’t sit and watch them stream or anything so if its not reported then I cant just imagine they are doing it.

However we have now spoken to Bill and he has accepted the punishment and also agreed that it will not happen again.

How reassuring.

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