Short window for second chances

GGPoker’s introduction of the Poker Integrity Council (PIC) a month ago has been generally well-received by the poker community. Cheating is a significant problem in poker and is about time for a concerted effort to not just root out cheaters, but punish them across the poker world, not just site by site. And PIC is led by both the world’s largest poker site and some of the world’s most respected players. In an interesting decision, PIC’s first big announcement since its creation is not one of revealing anyone who cheated, but rather inviting some banned players back to GGPoker.

GGPoker made the announcement on Reddit, saying that “apart from the most severe cases,” people who have “spent time away from the tables, for game integrity reasons” should be allowed to come back at some point and start afresh.

“As such, we would like to extend an ‘Olive Branch’ to previously banned high-stakes cash game and tournament players on GGPoker Network through Aug 15, 2022,” GGPoker said.

Prospective returnees must e-mail GGPoker and provide their real name, screen name, date and reason for their ban from the GGPoker Network (while GGPoker is the flagship site, there are several other, mostly Asia-facing sites on the network), a copy of their proof of identity (POI), a selfie of themselves holding the POI, and proof of address.

Requests must be made by August 15. Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and decisions will be made by August 22.

Poker community split

Reactions in the poker community have been mixed, as would be expected with something like this, or really any topic anywhere ever. Some people are frustrated that GGPoker is willing to let cheaters return. Others are fine with it, as GGPoker has said that the most severe cases won’t be allowed back. Second chances and all that.

Responding to some of the negative reactions, Jason Koon, one of the members of the Poker Integrity Council, said that many players have been banned for over two years already for “infractions like extensive preflop charts” and that things like that don’t deserve a permanent ban.

Some people believe that this “opener” of sorts from the Poker Integrity Council is a way for it to take control (not in a bad way). GGPoker may have banned certain cheaters, but now PIC is here to make its own, final ruling. PIC is the captain now.

Still others – with varying degrees of scold – think this is a bad first move, that PIC should have made its first big announcement be one about some sort of enforcement action. By offering to reinstate players, some feel that PIC is undermining its own efforts.

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