Started with a pro’s ban

In the wake of GGPoker’s closure of high stakes poker pro Tobias Duthweiler’s account a couple weeks ago, the online poker room has announced that it is giving previously banned players a limited-time opportunity to get out of jail free. That offer, as generous as it may sound, however, is not sitting well with everybody in the poker world.

To briefly review what happened with Duthweiler, he was banned from Natural8, a skin on the GGNetwork, in 2016 for bumhunting, a violation of the network’s “Security and Ecology Agreement.” In 2019, he signed up at Bestpoker, another site on the network, but left after the site got rid of high stakes cash game tables. Earlier this year, he created an account at another GGNetwork skin, Betkings, which was later folded into GGPoker.

He deposited $50,000 at GGPoker – later revealed to have been partially through an affiliate and partially via a player-to-player transfer – and went on a roller coaster ride, losing $20,000 before riding it up to $180,000. When GGPoker required high stakes players to verify their IDs, he did so for the second time. It was then that the site realized he had already been banned from a skin, so it kicked him out, confiscating his funds.

GGPoker eventually gave him his original $50,000 back. In a follow-up, the site told PokerNews that it does not share personal information with the other sites on the network and thus only figured out he was already banned when he submitted his ID.

Categorizing types of pros

That brings us to this past weekend. For two weeks, GGPoker is allowing banned players to apply for reinstatement, provided they use a “real name” account. Part of that “olive branch” involves players understanding the network’s “stance on pros.”

And that’s what causing the controversy. GGPoker categorizes pros as “Good,” “Regular,” and “Bad.” Good pros, it says, are those who actively try to elevate the game of poker and bring people in. Regular pros are, well, regular pros. People who play for a living and win money. The Bad pros are the ones the site says it doesn’t want. These are the people who violate the terms and conditions of the site and focus on “manufacturing unfair advantages over their opponents and exploiting other perceived weaknesses.”

Mixed reviews from the community

Naysayers of the policy have criticized GGPoker’s picking and choosing who is deemed “worthy” to play on its site. Of particular note are the pros who feel it is not fair to lump bumhunting in with much more serious transgressions like bot usage or collusion. Bumhunting, some feel, is simply pros engaging in proper game selection.

On the other hand, supporters of the policy like that GGPoker is trying to make the poker environment fun and comfortable for everyone by not welcoming pros who try to abuse the rules or at the very least, the spirit of the game.

Many players are on the fence, appreciating that GGPoker has the right to do what it wants and agreeing that its intentions are good, but are not sure if some of the bannable offenses are appropriate.

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