Last night, I wrote that Norman Chad is just about the last person in the poker world you would want to see get COVID-19 (I don’t want anyone to, but that’s not the point), but unfortunately, he did. Using a little parallel article structure for a moment, the last person in the poker world I would expect to see in the middle of a controversy is Erik Seidel, but somehow, here we are.

It all started last week during the 2020 World Series of Poker Online on GGPoker. In Event #54, the $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship, the co-star of Rounders was matched-up against soccer star Max Kruse in the Round of 64. As happens sometimes in online poker, however, Kruse was nowhere to be seen.

And then, as often happens in online poker, Seidel started raising every hand. The result of this when the other player is sitting out is that the unavailable player’s hand is automatically folded by the poker software. After all, an absent player can’t call or re-raise, so the only option is to fold.

Naturally, Kruse’s chip stack kept getting whittled down with every quick-moving hand. According to reports, this went on for about 12 minutes until the first break, at which point Kruse showed up. He had lost about half his stack.

Many poker players lit up Seidel on Twitter, which was a sight to see, considering Seidel is one of the classiest acts in the history of the game. But it’s the internet, so yeah.

Patrick Tardif, who posted a screenshot of Seidel’s table and effectively launched the conversation. Summing up the thoughts of the “you should not do this” side, Tardif said, “Is what he’s doing illegal? nope. Doesn’t change it being a cunty thing to do. Conor_1 waiting for his opponent to show up on the exact same round. We’re playing a game and there’s sportsmanship. He’s also playing a recreational, Doesn’t have to fight tooth and nail for his EV.”

Lots of others felt the same way, saying it’s about being a good sport and not punishing an opponent for perhaps being unlucky and having their internet hiccup.

Erik Seidel himself finally caught wind of the hubbub and said what he did was a “mistake.” He said his plan was to pay his opponent – he didn’t know who he was playing against – his buy-in and a percentage of his winnings if he “blinded out.” Basically, pay him for his troubles. Seidel noted that this has actually happened to him twice in live tournaments. Once, his opponent waited for him, once his opponent did not.

After someone called bullshit on Seidel, saying that he was just saying that because he got called out, Olivier Busquet came to Seidel’s defense.

“Are you kidding me?” Busquet asked, incredulously. “You think Erik is lying about his intentions? Because why? Because he cares so much about the opinions of the fucking poker peanut gallery? The real problem with this entire thread was not tagging Erik originally and simply asking him what the deal was.”

He has a point. If people had a problem with what Seidel did – and many don’t – someone could have just asked him to clarify what happened.

Seidel responded, taking the high road, calling this little controversy a “useful discussion.” He added that he wants to be held to a high standard and that “if I fall short, that’s a problem.”

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