Drama seems to follow Prahlad Friedman wherever he goes. Just months after his latest spectacle – signing a sponsorship with UB.com – Friedman called out two of the top players in the game for account sharing against him during several online sessions.
Friedman brought the situation to light on Twitter late last week, accusing Isaac Haxton and Justin Bonomo of switching accounts while playing against him to disguise their identities. He used examples of stats and graphs from PokerTableRatings.com as evidence. It was a strong accusation and the whole poker world took notice.
Said Friedman on Twitter, “Isaac Haxton and Justin Bonomo share and switch accounts often. Was playing a random guy and looked up his stats. Identical to Hax … Haxton knows I don’t want to play him head up. So scummy… They have been doing this to me for years. No more.”
Friedman claimed that Haxton was playing under a different screen name than the one he was registered for on UB.com. He said the account “XXTRMSK8RX” had different playing styles day-to-day and the stats from his losing days matched those of Haxton. “‘xxtrmsk8rx’ is for sure Haxton and the dramatic style change is indicative of when I played ‘zeejustin’ on Full Tilt. Same exact thing happened,” Tweeted Freidman.
While Haxton remained silent at first, Bonomo responded to the claims in a thread on the TwoPlusTwo forums on Sunday: “Isaac Haxton has never played on any of my accounts. I have never played on any of his accounts. While I did some things I’m not proud of when I was 19, I was given a second chance and take that very seriously. I have not done anything unethical in poker in 5+ years now.”
The “things” Bonomo was referring to included him being banned by online poker sites for playing on multiple accounts in 2006. Bonomo took advantage of glitches in the PartyPoker client by entering the same sit and gos with several accounts. His expulsion from online poker served as a lesson to players, but Bonomo has since apologized and been welcomed back by the majority of the community. His online poker accounts are currently in good standing.
While Bonomo denied the account sharing accusations against Friedman, he implied that Haxton could be ghosting or coaching him while he’s playing Friedman. Said Bonomo, “To the best of my knowledge, all three sites in question (Stars, FTP, Cereus) acknowledge that there is no one player to a hand rule online. As for the side accusation of Isaac playing Prahlad against his will: Isaac has the right to anonymity so long as he follows the site’s ToS. There would be nothing wrong with this behavior IMHO.”
Haxton then responded to the allegations on Tuesday: “In 2009, I had played [Friedman] on my UB account, ‘dasharkman11.’ He knew this was my account. He swapped me UB money for FTP so that we could continue playing after I busted him on FTP. I beat him for a lot and he quit that account. Shortly thereafter, I stopped seeing him on the Cereus Network. So, after he signed as a UB pro and started waiting at 50/100 tables on a regular basis, I played him on my AP account, which he didn’t know was me.”
Haxton continued, “Was this a nice thing to do? No. Would I do this to a friend, or even a friendly acquaintance? No. Does this break any rules? Absolutely not. Prahlad is not my friend. I will do whatever the rules of the site he is sponsored by and plays on allow [in order] to take his money. Given his general reputation, his behavior in relation to this specific incident, and the level of integrity displayed by his decision to sign with UB, I do not doubt he would go at least as far himself to take mine.”
One can recognize that Friedman is understandably fearful of being cheated again, especially when it involves a player with a shady past. Friedman dominated the high-stakes games on Ultimate Bet in the early part of the decade playing as “Spirit Rock” and “Mahatma.” But, he was purportedly cheated out of millions in the Ultimate Bet scandal that destroyed the bankrolls of several of the game’s top online cash game players.
This war of words doesn’t appear to be over. Stay tuned to Poker News Daily as more on this story develops.