If you’re been around the online poker world for any length of time, you have probably heard of the myriad of ways that people believe cheating is done (rightfully or wrongly). The last person you would think would make accusations of malfeasance would be one of the top pros in the game who cut his teeth on the online game. But that is just what German poker champion Fedor Holz is doing and in one of the big online events for the World Poker Tour.
Questionable Circumstances Raise Holz’s Interest
The tournament in question was a part of the WPT’s efforts to bring big stakes play to online poker at 888Poker. Part of the schedule was a €1000 event, which entered its final table just before Christmas. On Christmas Day, Holz took to his Twitter account to discuss the play of a couple of members of that final table, ‘Seijistar’ and ‘Selouan.’
The situation was as such:
‘Seijistar’ min-raised from under the gun and ‘Selouan,’ on the button of the four players remaining, moved all in for only seven big blinds with an off-suit A-9. Action folded through the blinds before reaching ‘Seijistar’ again with his A-J off-suit. The live stream then captured the fact that ‘Seijistar,’ instead of calling his opponent who logically would move in with any two cards at this point in the event, folded his hand.
In his Tweet, Fedor Holz alleges that the two players are a part of a Brazilian online team that plays the high stakes circuit.
Just as quickly as he made his accusation, however, Holz also stated that it did not “automatically” mean the duo were cheating. “I think it is a very sketchy spot knowing that they share action,” Holz Tweeted. He also commented that any player in that position would make the call with the potential to knock out an opponent – or let the opponent stay in IF he were teaming with the all-in player.
Online Poker Has History of Problems with Cheating
Online poker has routinely had issues with cheating at the virtual felt. Back in its early days, it was players who would enter multiple accounts in a tournament. In those early days, online poker sites were not so sophisticated against cheating, and it was possible to run several accounts in a tournament from one IP address.
As the technology got better, however, the multi-accounting was exposed and players punished for their transgressions. The “cheating” (in quotation marks because it technically wasn’t against the Terms & Conditions of the online sites) then moved on to other methods, including changing players in mid-tournament from a lesser player to a better one for an agreed on price, having someone watch you play and offer advice as to what course of action to take (‘ghosting’) or having several players linked via messenger or chat services to be able to relay pertinent information between each other. These types of things are extremely difficult for the online rooms to police and, once again, are not technically against the T&Cs of the online rooms.
For its part, 888Poker states that the incident is under investigation. “Any type of collusion is in clear violation of our user agreement,” 888Poker stated in Holz’s Twitter Thread. Meanwhile, Brazilian players are upset with Fedor Holz for making the accusations with what he even admits is a situation that can have many different explanations.