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The 2022 Poker Masters is up and running at the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas, and two PGT regulars, Ali Imsirovic and Jake Schindler, are conspicuously absent from the proceedings. Both players found their superstar status marred by controversy following allegations of cheating earlier this year, something which hasn`t gone unnoticed by PokerGO.
PokerGO is part of GGPoker’s July-formed Poker Integrity Council (PIC) that bans online poker cheats from their live events. In line with the stated guidelines, PokerGO announced the suspension of the two high-stakes crushers from all 2022 PGT events.
The PokerGO announcement read: “The PokerGO Tour (PGT) today announced the indefinite suspensions of Ali Imsirovic and Jake Schindler from tour play, effective immediately. The suspensions will extend through at least the 2022 PGT season, upon which time a review will take place.”
Statement regarding the PGT status of Ali Imsirovic and Jake Schindler.
— PokerGO News (@PokerGOnews) September 22, 2022
GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu, who is attending the series, had dropped a hint that a ban was coming.
Poker Masters today and I’m betting we don’t see Jake Schindler or Ali Imsirovic play any of the events…
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 21, 2022
Imsirovic and Schindler have also been removed from the season-ending PGT Championships and the 2022 PGT Leaderboard standings.
Incidentally, Imsirovic and Schindler were also missing from Cyprus’s recently held Triton Poker Super High Roller Series. A day back, Matt Berkey had indicated they were possibly banned. He spoke of players in the 2022 PGT Player of the Year (POY) race in his Solve For Why Poker Training podcast, where he noted that Imsirovic and Schindler had been removed from the rankings.
— Karen Kessler AKA: The Chop Saw (@thekarenkessler) September 23, 2022
The poker community reacted to the announcement! While most were glad that such a step was taken, some pointed out that the cheating allegations against Imsirovic and Schindler haven’t been proven yet.
Idk it’s not like it’s been proven they’ve cheated
— Jack McManson (@TruckerDAO) September 22, 2022
This really hurts us the fans the most, I really enjoyed watching these guys make high level bluffs in critical moments. Shame on the pgt for banning two of the best players in the world over hearsay
— Tim boudin (@BoudinTim55) September 23, 2022
For the record, in April, Alex Foxen charged Imsirovic with cheating in a PokerGO event, the PokerGO Super High Roller Bowl Europe in North Cyprus, and online sites.
Three days later, Justin Bonomo claimed he had been cheated of over $1 Million while playing on GGPoker, strongly hinting Schindler was one of the biggest cheats in the scandal. The allegations primarily centered around colluding in live poker events and using real-time assistance (RTA) tools online to gain an unfair advantage.
Both players have been consistent winners at PGT events this year. Imsirovic, who entered 2022 as the 2021 PGT Player of the Year (POY), scored early in January when he won the PGT Tour Venetian High Rollers Event #4: $25K High Roller for $270,000. On January 18, Imsirovic placed runner-up in the PGT Tour Stairway to Millions Event #7: $51K NLHE. A month later, he took down the PGT PokerGO Cup Event #7: $25K NLHE for $365,500. Imsirovic posted three final table finishes in April’s PGT US Poker Open, including a runner-up finish in Event #1: $25K NLHE.
Schindler’s PGT scorecard is equally impressive, with many standout scores. On January 17, Schindler shipped Event #6: $25.5K NLHE at the PGT Stairway to Millions. In June, he joined the bracelet winner’s club, taking down Event #12: $50K High Roller NLHE for $1.32 Million. Schindler was questioned about the cheating charges then but sidestepped the issue.
With Schindler and Imsirovic out of the 2022 PGT POY race, Stephen Chidwick (2,975 TLB points) has leapfrogged to the #1 position in the leaderboard rankings, with Phil Ivey (2,975 TLB points) currently ranked #2.