José “Girah” Macedo Admits to Cheating

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I know what you have been thinking. “Online poker needs another juicy cheating scandal.  The World Series of Poker is on hiatus until November and the excitement surrounding Black Friday has died down.  We need something to talk about.”  Well, if you have been thinking that, you’re in luck!  And this one involves one of the hottest young names in the game: José “Girah” Macedo.

Macedo rose to prominence over the past year, famously running a $30 initial online poker room deposit to over $2 million in just two years.  As a teenager.  Over the last few months, the “Portuguese Poker Prodigy” had become one of the most intriguing characters in the online poker world and in April became a member of Lock Poker’s LockPRO ELITE team.

During this time, Macedo became friends with several strong online players, including Haseeb “Dogishead” Qureshi, Daniel “jungleman12” Cates, Matthew “MossBoss” Moss, Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky, “TooCuriousso1,” “ImFromSweden,” and “Kjemmy,” among others.  The members of this circle formed a Skype group via which they could discuss poker strategy and eventually Macedo created a smaller one to further discuss strategy and “sweat” each other while they play.

In July, Macedo began encouraging some members of the group to play a couple supposed easy marks online: “sauron1989” on the iPoker Network and “dollarman223” on the Merge Gaming Network.  He insisted that these two players were horrible and even though his friends agreed when they played against them, they could not seem to win.  All told, they lost about $30,000 to the supposed “fish.”  This raised some eyebrows.  As MossBoss explained on the Two Plus Two forums:

“José watched 2p2 poster ImFromSweden whilst he played a session. During this session IFS played sauron1989 HU on iPoker. IFS lost just over $10,000 in 70 hands of $10/$20 but both of them typed into the skype chat group that they thought that this sauron1989 was very bad. About 10 days later, José offered to watch me whilst I played a session on iPoker. Thinking that this was a good opportunity for me to have my play reviewed by a top player, I agreed and he watched my session start out as a 6max session but soon I had sat with sauron1989 on an empty 6max table, after José had told me that this guy was bad and spewy and proceeded to lose a total of $21,900 to sauron1989 over the course of 2 matches at $25/$50. I felt like something was wrong during the matches, not a feeling I can explain, but it just didn’t feel like any other HU match I’ve played and I got suspicious.”

After that, MossBoss and TooCuriousso1 started combing their Skype chat logs and found a lot of circumstantial evidence that pointed to wrongdoing by Macedo.  Macedo kept encouraging his friends to play sauron1989, even though he himself never played against him, and whenever sauron1989 would logoff from iPoker, Macedo would disconnect from Skype.  When one logged back in, so did the other.  While the group did not have ironclad evidence that Macedo had cheated them, they were very certain that he did.

Eventually, Macedo was confronted about what the group suspected and he denied it for a while.  But finally, he broke down and admitted that he had, in fact, cheated this group of players who trusted him.  Essentially, he “superused” them.  He had his friend play on the sauron1989 and dollarman223 accounts (though there is some suspicion that it was actually Macedo himself playing) while he had access to the screens of his poker buddies, all part of the sweat sessions they had established.  Thus, he was able to make the cheating accounts seem like bad players while at the same time knowing he would be able to win with them, since he knew his opponents’ cards.

Since the revelation, Macedo has been jettisoned from the Lock Poker team and relieved of his duties as an instructor for

In a statement posted on Two Plus Two, Macedo said, in part:

“I’m holding my hands up and taking whatever consequences come. I realise [sic] the severity of this, but I also realise [sic] that I have to take responsibility for my actions and so I’m paying back everyone involved and in addition paying them compensation of $30,000. I’ve also told my sponsor etc and whatever happens there I will take the consequences too. They have been really amazing to me and I’ve enjoyed every minute of working with them. Representing Lock and being part of their amazing team, witnessing the incredible growth, was a pleasure and an honor.

I’m young, I made a mistake and I hope that this doesn’t define me; I hope that how I deal with this and move forward is the thing that does. And people will say I have no excuse and I know and understand that. I agree. I just want to let everyone know, I’m sorry. I apologise [sic] to the guys who lost their money, the people who I love and care about and I have disappointed and the guys in the poker world who have supported me for letting them down. I wish Ish [sic] I had something to say to you all, to say to my parents and my friends and all of those who thought I could do no wrong.”

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