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The global poker community has been rife with cheating allegations over the past few months, and discussions of what should be done about cheaters have been raging across the poker community. Online poker giants PokerStars and GGPoker seem to have woken up to the urgency to ensure that cheaters understand that illegal actions will result in dire consequences.
GGPoker has set up a Poker Integrity Council (PIC), and PokerStars announced online poker cheaters would be banned from their live events. Players like Alex Foxen called for these exact types of moves earlier in the year when several top pros like Ali Imsirovic, Jake Schindler, and Brynn Kenney were called out as cheaters.
GGPoker Launches Poker Integrity Council
In an announcement from GGPoker, released on July 1, the company revealed that they have set up a Poker Integrity Council (PIC) to be headed by GGPoker’s own Jason Koon and Fedor Holz.
Koon and Holz will be joined by the likes of Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger (LearnWPT), Seth Davies (Run it Once), and Nick Petrangelo (Upswing Poker). This group of renowned poker players and ambassadors, who work for different poker brands, will be asked to adjudicate cheating cases and decide on appropriate disciplinary action.
The council will review poker hand histories from GGPoker (and other sites in the future) and find out which players engaged in unethical behaviors, like using real-time assistance (RTA), ghosting, or other banned activities.
Jason Koon commenting on the initiative, said, “I joined GGPoker with an important objective in mind; to help the GGPoker team make their poker games more secure and fair than ever. It’s an honor to launch the Poker Integrity Council and take another massive step in ensuring online poker is safe for all players. Our long list of allies also means that the wider community will be better protected via the industry-wide blacklist; we’re sending a united message that there’s no place in this game for cheaters.”
The decisions by the PIC will not only lead to players being banned from GGPoker but potentially being banned from major poker events worldwide. GGPoker has already announced its cooperation on this project with prominent live brands like the World Series of Poker (WSOP), World Poker Tour (WPT), Triton Poker, Poker After Dark, Asian Poker Tour (APT), Kings Casino, and others for this initiative.
PokerStars to Ban Online Cheaters From Live Events
Earlier this week, PokerStars announced via a blog titled “Keeping players safe at live events” that all banned online players would no longer be welcome at their live events.
PokerStars says their new policy is more “comprehensive” than their previous policy, as banned online players will no longer be allowed to play in PokerStars live events, regardless of their online infractions. The online poker giant said that in the past, they looked at whether or not the reason for the online ban would be a threat to the live event. However, now the site’s Game Integrity unit will ensure that cheaters are no longer allowed in any PokerStars-sponsored event.
The intentions of GGPoker and PokerStars are a step in the right direction for the game. But it will be critical for the PIC and others involved to make fair and reasonable decisions in all cases brought before them to make this initiative successful.