Monday, December 17, 2007

Bluff Cans Chris Vaughn/Old Runaway move pops up on Vegas Strip

Bluff Magazine has canned its editor, Chris Vaughn, for his involvement in the Full Tilt account-selling scam. Can't say I'm surprised by this, as poker magazines, like any other medium in print journalism, has to do what it has to do to keep up appearances. One thing for sure, though: I bet Vaughn could write quite the interesting article about the scam, for whichever magazine or publication he ends up working for. Here's what went down:

Poker Magazine Fires Editor Following Online Poker Room Cheating

The managing editor of a popular poker magazine has been fired for his role in the latest cheating scandal to rock the online poker world. Bluff Magazine, which has both print and online editions, announced Monday that it had canned its 24-year-old managing editor, Chris Vaughn. Vaughn, according to news reports, had cheated in an online poker tournament and then, when confronted about it, lied.

In a statement posted on its website,, the poker mag announced: “Bluff Media, publisher of Bluff Magazine, has made the decision to terminate Chris Vaughn as managing editor. In light of Chris’ involvement, recently admitted facts and the feedback obtained from industry professionals, it became apparent that the credibility required to perform the job functions of managing editor of Bluff Magazine at our company’s level of standards have become severely diminished. While we regret having to make this decision, we believe that it is the best alternative for all parties involved, including Chris, Bluff Media and the poker playing community at large. We wish Chris the best of luck.”

According to news reports, Vaughn recently won an online poker tournament at the Full Tilt poker room. However, it was soon revealed on a poker posting forum that midway through the tourney, which Vaughn had entered legally, he had sold his account-–that is, his position in the tournament to another, better player, who went on to win the tournament, news reports said. Later, in an interview on Internet radio, Vaughn lied about his role in the scam, the reports said.

As is so often the case, the cover-up became worse than the crime and Bluff had to fire Vaughn.

Vaughn's win was a case of account-selling, the practice of turning over an account late in a major online tournament to a potent, star online player. The practice has come to light only in recent months, after several account-selling incidents were discussed on major poker forums. It was quickly recognized that a star player taking over one of these accounts was gaining a significant edge over his remaining players, who would have no idea that a new tough player, perhaps with a radically different style, had suddenly assumed a seat at the table. Account-selling is considered dishonest and therefore cheating, and is against the rules at online poker rooms.

In an interview, Vaughn was asked about his role in the cheating scandal and denied it. But then in a follow-up interview, Vaughn said, “When they asked me the question (about cheating) on the show, I panicked and I lied.”

Well, hopefully this online scam will at least get us to the end of the year, meaning that I hope there won't be yet another before we all toast one another Happy New Year!


I heard that over the weekend, a guy walked into a Strip Casino in Vegas, laid a stack of 20 black $100 chips on a blackjack table, was dealt a hard twenty, lost the hand to the dealer's drawing out a five to a sixteen, then swiped his 20 black chips off the table before the dealer could get to them, and ran out the door, down the casino's entranceway with security agents in pursuit, and finally disappeared in the throng on Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip).

At that I had to laugh! (lol) I don't know if he did it out of frustration or if he'd actually planned beforehand on bolting if he lost.

You see, I had done the exact same thing with my cheating team several times 25 years ago! We called the move "the runaway," which was a modified version of the old "walkaways" that old-timers in downtown Vegas did in the '50s and '60s when the casinos were all open like arcades to Fremont Street.

Back in the summer of '82, we had a lot of heat in Vegas on our pastposting moves, and we were sitting around the hotel room telling war stories, when my partner Duke told me about those old-timers doing walkways, which was betting a few $25 chips on "red" on roulette tables, then whenever "black" came in, scooping up their chips and walking out the open casino onto Fremont Street, which was literally a few steps outside the casinos.

I got a good chuckle out of it and said to Duke and the rest of my team, "Hey, Fuck the walkaways, let's do some runaways!" They all looked at me like I was nuts, but that very same night, I laid 20 black chips on a blackjack table at the Tropicana, lost the hand and ran out the door! My partner Jerry was waiting with his motorcycle outside the front entrance (in those days Vegas was not so congested and these escapes were possible, no longer the case today). I jumped on the back and we burned rubber and sped away!

We actually did three more of those runaways that night, and boy did that heat up Vegas! And then we did it a few more weekends during the following year, whenever we had too much heat on our regular cheating moves. I can tell you that the runaways were the most fun part of my entire cheating career; I was always laughing like a hyena when running out the door with the chips.

In the original manuscript of my book American Roulette (Great Casino Heist in Europe), I had written a chapter about the runaways, but unfortunately it was edited out by the picayune publisher to save space. However, there is a chapter about the same scam pulled off by others in my last book, The World's Greatest Gambling Scams. Go to my book page if interested in reading it.