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What's The Rumpus?
by Shaun Tobin | Contact   
Thursday, 29 May 2008

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me...

I recently received this note from the marketing director of CardRunners where the two pros I mentioned in my last article are instructors:


As the marketing director for CardRunners, I was pretty surprised to see and read your article.

I spoke with Cole and Eric, and both have assured me that nothing of what you had implied was occurring. If you are in Vegas, I would be happy to meet with you at the Rio to discuss this.

I am happy to endorse PokerStars taking a look at the cumulative play of Cole, and Eric together as well as any other CardRunners pros. I am 100% confident that no wrongdoing would be found.

I would appreciate if you would redact the article or offer an apology for the implication your article made. I can be reached at xxx-xxx-xxxx and, as noted earlier, would be happy to meet up with you at the Rio to discuss your concerns.


I’m trying to figure out what I should apologize for. I felt that my article more than once clearly stated that there were many other possible reasons for the hands to play the way they did, there were many other reasons for the pros not to play against each other, it made good sense perhaps to advertise one’s play as looser than it actually is etc etc etc.

I think what I am being asked is to apologize for implying is that there might be the possibility that these two great online pros could possibly share the same often flexible human nature that other human beings in the exact same situation have shown to have in the past TO SOME DEGREE. It should be clear to anyone reading the article that I have no inside knowledge of the specific games nor their players. But I do have a familiarity with human nature, more than a passing knowledge of poker players, and I have an inquisitive though I hope not conspiratorially focused mind.

These days when I fly on an airplane I have to pass through a place where they ask me to take off my shoes and surrender suspicious looking liquids such as Vitamin Water and the like. I am absolutely 100% sure that I do not intend to highjack an airline nor explode a bomb in mid-air. In the past, though, other human beings in the exact same situation have taken the opportunity to commit such nefarious deeds. So while it may be tiresome, unnecessary, and particularly out of my character for someone to even think I would be capable of such acts- it is not an insult to me.  And the screeners, though incorrect in their assumption of my possible guilt, DO NOT owe me an apology.

Since it is well-known and documented that connected poker players have soft-played each other, have made behind the back percentage deals, have done a long list of things of this nature there will always be people scrutinizing play for this. From time to time even honest up-standing SuperBallers like CTS and Peachy will be subjected to the petty shoe inspections that come with the territory. My article was a minor one of them.

Bad things happen when people start take being “disrespected” too seriously. High Stakes online cash games must be open to be scrutinized by many people, some even dumber and more suspicious than I. My opinion, honed sharp after viewing the mess we have gotten ourselves into in this country over the last decade, is that we need more scrutiny of higher-ups not less, more scrutiny of online poker not less, and less worry about seriously offending some higher-ups honor by merely suggesting that there is even a remote possibility that they may, from time to time, be somewhat subject to the same failings of human nature the rest of us are.

As the back peddling momentary chief of police in the fine movie “Miller’s Crossing” blurted when confronted by his supposed lack of fealty to the Big Boss --

“Jesus, Tom. I was merely speculating on a hypothesis.”

P.S. How could "nothing I implied be occurring?" I implied lots of possibilites ( not actualities). They could have swapped percentages, they might play easier against each other than against unknowns, they were levels ahead in their thinking to call 4x all-in reraises of reraises for 40K plus, they were advertising loose play to encourage action later, they were actually bots(wait, I did not put that in). The pros really stated that NONE of these things were happening?

Thanks for reading.

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