Thursday, March 10, 2011

New WSOP Media Rules to Combat Blogger/Reporter Tournament Cheating...Are They Fair---or Ridiculous?

I have been blogging about the recent poker tournament cheating scams where players are using reporters and bloggers who sit and hang around the tables ostensibly looking to interview players and report on the action but who are really looking at the players' hole cards and signalling those values to players they are in cohoots with. The biggest reporter/blogger poker tournament cheat scam so far involved Ali Tekintamgac on the Partouche Poker Tour; he won the WPT event in Barcelona but was accused of using fake bloggers to spy his opponents' hole cards.

So now the WSOP rules committee has decided to implement two new rules to combat this type of collusion cheating, which is indeed serious and has that very type of repercussion on the outcome of final tables and near final tables during a poker tournament.

The first new rule that is to protect the integrity of the tournament and the security of the players and staff, according to a WSOP spokesman, is that no members of the media will be permitted at any single table for more than 5 minutes during each half hour. Well, this is a bit hard to digest, especially when reporters and bloggers are looking for big names involved in big pots. It often takes more than five minutes for a big pot to develop and play out, therefore reporters and bloggers would not be able to stay and cover that type of action, which is highly coveted by poker fans in front of TV and computer screens.

The second new anti-media-cheat poker rule is that members of the media will not be permitted to talk to players while cards are on the table. This will have the same type of negative effect as the first new rule and will also force bloggers and reporters to reduce the details on hands and strategies recounted by players involved as well as the general poker talk and entertaining stories related to the play of tournaments.

My take: I think these new anti-poker-tournament cheat rules are exaggerated. In fact, better than to iniciate this would be to increase the scrutiny on who the reporters and bloggers around the tables actually are. Since Ali Tekintamgac was accused of using FAKE bloggers with no legitimate accreditation and that the vast majority of these reporter/blogger poker cheats have no real affiliation to any accredited blog or media source, we in the poker world would all be better served by a format that really checks out all reporters and bloggers attending major poker tournaments.