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This is an unbelievable story. Brian Townsend over a short period of time has developed  a good reputation as being an excellent online cash game player and has been building up his entrepreneurial skills with his association with the Cardrunners site. He had a somewhat meteoric rise to fame last year, although from the results point of view has had a flat 2008 resulting in the need to drop down from the very high stakes he was playing. This probably peaked last year when he was playing in Bobby’s room during the 2007 WSOP playing against the top pros and had huge swings against Sammy Farha.

This is a youtube video of him playing a $363,000 pot against Patrik Antonius in one of the Fulltilt million dollar cash games.

He has now announced that this year he has been multi-accounting on Pokerstars and Fulltiltpoker in his blog.

He has been suspended from his red pro status on Fulltiltpoker for 6 months, although we haven’t heard what Pokerstars are doing.

The confession is certainly open, although I get the feeling that it was one that was made out of necessity because he got caught and this is the only honourable way out of the situation. However it only goes to show how easy it is for someone to setup more than one account. He says that at no stage did he play at the same table; the reason he did it (he states) is that he wanted to play anonymously whilst playing at lower levels.

This does make you wonder how many people do multi-account for more sinister purposes!

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Well I am toughing it out at the moment…really struggling. Looking over my post about WCG|Rider is helping because over the last 17,000 hands I have been going nowhere. My bankroll has been fluctuating between $400 and $450 over that time….at least I haven’t had a big downturn. It is just very frustrating when every 1,000 session you have coolers and suckouts preventing you from going forward. In the last session it was my set of Jacks going in all on the turn when my opponent had 2:1 pot odds calling with a flush draw and 7 outs…..guess whether he hit!

It is exactly for these periods of difficulty that I am writing this variance series. Preventing tilt is vital to becoming a winning poker player, and unfortunately I haven’t mastered this yet. I have definitely improved but I still have tilt tendencies that results in major leaks holding back the winrate.

One thing that I would like to do in this series on variance is comment on what the pros have to say about variance and bad runs. How do they cope with it? Well, perhaps some of them don’t cope with it that well. Have a look at this’blogfessional’ (on www.pokerroad.com) of Eugene Todd Bro.

This is recorded during the 2008 WSOP..he is a bit frustrated..and realise that he is actually a bit ahead thus far having had a good cash. As he mentions, there are many players who thus far  who haven’t cashed at all, including Phil Ivey (we are up to Event 38).

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For those of you who haven’t heard, a decision has been made to play the 2008 WSOP final table 3 months after the final 9 players are decided!!

Harrahs’ said that “the 16-week gap between the “end” of this summer’s WSOP and the main event’s conclusion in November will give the players an “unprecedented opportunity to capture the world’s attention” with the help of ESPN and the world’s media outlets. He believes it will help create buzz by giving poker fans the opportunity to speculate on who will win the main event while it’s being broadcast, instead of talking about who already won.”

The first time I heard of this I immediately thought of the TV show Survivor, where the winner is decided usually months later in a studio in front of a live audience, and I think broadcast on live TV. Next I thought of Daniel Negreanu, who is a big fan of survivor, but also a member of the WSOP Player Advisory Council (PAC). Indeed, he is a supporter of the delayed final table as expressed in 2 blog posts since the announcement: The WSOP Blockbuster News Story, and Harrah’s and the WSOP.

In Survivor, the participants have had time to clean up, put on weight and usually look almost unrecognizable when they shoot the last episode. The same will happen in the WSOP Main Event; the final table participants will not only look different, but likely they will play very differently as well with the opportunity to ‘get trained’. After all, they will be playing for what will most likely be more than $6 million. Who knows, they might even play well!

I don’t think this is a bad thing. Obviously a means to increase profits, I think it has a great chance to increase the profile of poker. Certainly these 9 players will become celebritys, and I imagine most of them will have gained a contract with a poker site before the final table is played out. As Daniel says, if it doesn’t work, they can always go back to the old method the following year.

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Tributes to Chip Reese

With the tragic news that Chip Reese has unexpectedly passed away, there are a huge number of tributes pouring in from everywhere. I think that this is a testament to a man who had a huge amount of respect in the poker world. I have only been interested in poker for less than 2 years, so my knowledge of Chip is based on footage from television covered torunaments and history footage. Of course, Chip was much more of a cash game player, and thought as one, if not the best. But certainly from what I have seen he was a true gentleman who died way too young. As TJ Cloutier says (see below), he never had a bad word about anyone. I thought I would gather some of the tributes that are coming.

Firstly, this is a very touching audio blog from Barry Greenstein.

Here is a nice blog, as expected, from Daniel Negreanu.

A few words on Bodog from various people.

TJ Cloutier says a few words:

Clip showing Chip winning the $50,000 WSOP HORSE event 2006.

A nice compilation of tributes:

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This is an interesting story from The New York Sun.

“Nearly 100 leading card players are flying into the nation’s capital this week to urge lawmakers to roll back a ban on Internet gambling. They are led by Senator D’Amato, the New York lawmaker turned lobbyist who serves as chairman of the Poker Players Alliance.The group is pushing a bill that would legalize and regulate online gambling through the federal government, effectively reversing a law that President Bush signed last year making it illegal for American banks and credit card companies to process online bets.

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The poker professionals in Washington this week include Chris Moneymaker, Howard Lederer, and many others who have become celebrities thanks to ESPN’s exhaustive televised coverage of the “World Series of Poker” events. They have scheduled dozens of meetings over two days with members of the House Financial Services and Judiciary committees, along with a public forum on Internet poker.”

Here is a report from Pokernews.

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Of all places, I heard about this story from Leo Laporte on his pioneering podcast (netcast!) This Week in Tech (TWIT), episode 118, 22nd October, 2007.

I found this report on Slashdot: Stony Stevenson writes with the news that the World Trade Organization is seeking billions of dollars in compensation from the United States from their ban on internet gambling. The view of the WTO is that the US has reneged on commitments to the organization. “The disputed concessions arise from Antigua’s victory earlier this year when the WTO ruled that the US violated its treaty obligations by excluding online Antiguan gaming operators, while allowing domestic operators to offer various forms of online gaming. Instead of complying with the ruling, the Bush administration withdrew the sizeable gambling industry from its free trade commitments. As a result, all 151 WTO members are considering seeking compensation for the withdrawal equal to the size of the entire US land-based and online gaming market, estimated at nearly US$100 billion.”

Here’s the story from Reuters.

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I am a bit behind the 8 ball on this story, but it needs to be posted. I am not sure whether this story, or the WCOOP Main Event story came first, but both are a worry.

From cardplayer.com: “The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) has hired an independent auditor to investigate claims that Absolute Poker’s security system was breached during a $1,000 buy-in tournament held last month. There is speculation that a former Absolute Poker employee shared holecard information with the winner of that tournament.

The investigation stems from a request made by professional poker player Marco Johnson, who plays under the screen name “CrazyMarco.” Immediately after the tournament, which took place on Sept. 12, he requested the hand history for a final table from Absolute Poker after a player named POTRIPPER called his all-in bluff with a busted nine-high flush draw with just 10 high.

Instead of the hands for the final table, Absolute Poker sent Johnson a spreadsheet containing a large amount of information about the first 94 hands of the tournament.

Card Player obtained a copy of this hand-history spreadsheet from Nat Arem, the first member of the poker community to analyze the spreadsheet in depth and share his findings with a number of prominent poker forums. The document is a little more than 9 megabytes in size (very large for a spreadsheet) and contains 65,536 lines of information.

The hand history shows a pattern of unorthodox poker play, wherein POTRIPPER maximizes his profits and minimizes his losses perfectly in each hand. The entire hand history is available in a video format on YouTube. ”

The initial post on Pocketfives here is.

Here are the 4 videos showing hole cards of all players where possible. It looks nothing other than highly suspicious.

The story continues:

Whilst posting this, I have just seen a post on Pocketfives about Absolute Poker coming clean:

“PocketFives just received a phone call from Absolute Poker confirming the suspicions of the online poker community over the past month. While we need to be vague in this post to respect their wishes, we can say that their systems were compromised, and that they are prepared to provide the details in a statement coming shortly.

Part of the statement will include a plan to refund players affected by this compromise.

We are extremely relieved to hear this outcome, as our most important goal in all this is to see justice given to those who were cheated in this process. Pocketfives is extremely proud to have played a part in the process of uncovering the impropriety that has occurred. We would of course like to thank all the other parties who played a key role in this process—specifically the folks that have been posting here and at twoplustwo.com.

This is great news for everyone. Keep your eyes out for the statement.”

Here is a blog post from Mark Seif about the situation.

Here is a report from Pokernews.com

“Absolute Poker confirms security breach” from Cardplayer.

I will add more to this post as news comes out.

Update 13th November: I missed this update from a few days ago. This is from Pokerlistings.

“Joe Norton, the former grand chief of the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and the owner of Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, which holds a 100% interest in Absolute Poker, sent out a statement Thursday with more information about the poker site’s recent security breach.

“First and foremost, we would like to assure our players, once again, that the security breach, which resulted in unfair play, was resolved immediately after it was discovered and confirmed, and AP’s sites are absolutely secure,” Norton said.

Players affected by the breach have been fully reimbursed with interest – an amount estimated at $1.6 million in refunds.

So far an internal audit by the poker site has discovered that the unfair play went on for about 40 days, beginning on Aug. 14.

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