Another hit-job Op-Ed piece on poker

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Sep 28, 2011 Posted in Poker News | 4 Comments »

It’s not surprising to me when I see some random online magazine running an op-ed piece written by some Focus on the Family mouthpiece, pulling BS statistics out of the air about the dangers of online poker. But this latest op-ed article, from of all place Forbes Magazine, is simply appalling. Not only does the author 1) Know nothing about the poker industry, 2) totally disregard context, and 3) State totally false claims, but the article is very poorly written to boot –If you’re going to sling mud you should at least look like you know what you are talking about!

Ok, let’s get down to business and dismantle the ridiculous claims made by Joelle Scott in this Forbes article: Full Tilt Poker Fraud: How FTP Threw Egg on the Poker Face.

First off “Threw egg on the poker face”??? What does this even mean? But let’s get down to the substance of the article; I’ll let you find the rest of the misused words and strange sentence formations for yourself.

“every industry has its own implicit “code”… by breaking the code, the executives of Full Tilt Poker (FTP), Raymond Bitar, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson, broke the trust of their community,”

Yep, that’s it. No explanation on what the specific code of conduct is that they broke –which would be that in poker your word is worth a hell of a lot more than your results—or what the penalty for breaking the poker code is in the community!

“Full Tilt would show the bank transactions from legitimate companies (e.g., your bank statement says, “Duh, Winner! Corp.” and not “Lost My Home In” or, in this case, Do you think the players who saw these bank statements knew something was shady? Probably.”

Ok, while WE ALL KNEW where these checks and bank transfers were coming from and how the sites were getting around UIGEA laws (well we had a notion anyway) the description by Scott of how this went down is downright silly.

Checks and bank transfers from online poker sites arrive with the name of a financial institution on them, not a fly-by-night company or the name of the poker company itself –this didn’t even occur pre-UIGEA!!! Also, if “Lost My Home In” were true, how would the person be a recipient of a check??? Checks go to winners. If you want to know how a poker check arrived at a player’s house or showed up in their bank statement, JUST ASK A PLAYER!

“FTP has a number of affiliated entities and, interestingly, in March 2011, Raymond Bitar and Howard Lederer formed a company in Nevada called Purple Haze LLC.”

Yep, that’s it again. A random statement about two people starting a business, with no explanation as to the businesses practices or how it relates to subject at hand. For all I know Purple Haze bought the likeness rights, and sells Jimi Hendrix T-Shirts.

This next quote is the biggest tall-tale of the lot, so I’m going to quote it in full:

“In 2009, a former FTP poker player and well-known poker pro, Lary Kennedy, sued FTP and its officers alleging fraud, racketeering and other violations. In the complaint, filed in Los Angeles County, California, Kennedy essentially claims FTP came up with a baseless excuse to take $80,000 of her winnings and keep it for themselves. The case was moved to federal court and ultimately dismissed.”

The “baseless excuse” was that Kennedy and another player were employing Poker Bots at the Full Tilt poker tables, something expressly forbidden in the Terms & Conditions at Full Tilt Poker. Kennedy and the other player actually admitted to using Poker Bots, with the defense that they suspected Full Tilt of using them against their players, so it was ok in their mind.

**EDIT** My memory may be failing me, as I can only uncover an admission of Multi-Accounting by the two (also against the Terms and Conditions however) the bot usage was considered concrete but never admitted to.

Also, LOL at “well-known poker pro Lary Kennedy,” So well known that she had to use a poker bot to beat low-limit games at Full Tilt Poker. Do you see that? It’s the author’s credibility going out the window.

“Online poker is also illegal in the United States.”

Operating an online poker site is illegal in the United States; a financial institution processing an “illegal” online gaming payment is also illegal. With the exception of Washington State, playing online poker in the US… *Drumroll*… IS NOT ILLEGAL! There has never been a criminal case brought against a person for playing online poker in the US.

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4 Responses to “Another hit-job Op-Ed piece on poker”

  1. Deuces says:

    Steve – I really think you are taking every word of this posting waaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. I mean you’re breaking it down as a college student would read between every word of a Shakespeare Sonnet trying to find its true meaning.

    At no point does Ms. Scott claim to be a professional in the field of online poker. If YOU were to put some effort in, you’d find that her field is that of fraud prevention and anti-money laundering at a business intelligence firm in NYC.

    Your first problem with her piece is the title. Now I know you move on from this quickly, but to point out this as a problem is ignorant just because of your lack of knowledge of the English language. A simple Google search will help you with this one buddy.

    Next, you criticize her for not explaining what this “implicit code” is. I am sure that when Ms. Scott wrote this posting that she assumed her readers would be able to think for themselves and come to the conclusion that this code might have something to do with being honest to your consumers and not stealing from them. Something that any intelligent person could deduce on their own, but as per the above paragraph, understandable that you did not.

    Your next point made me chuckle. I meant to take her examples as seriously as you did was beyond comical. I mean you even point out that her description is “downright silly”; I am sure that was her intent!

    Again, your next point is you not thinking beyond what is written. Upon reading her remark on Purple Haze LLC, the first thing that popped into my head was, “I bet they were using that to hide assets”. But again, you seem to need things drawn out in crayon and are incapable of thinking on your own.

    Lastly, the whole Lary Kennedy debacle. I have not been able to find any admission by Kennedy or Greg Omotoy that they used “bots”, though the internet is rather large and I have yet to exhaust my resources. I did learn that Kennedy admitted to multi-accounting on 2+2, which I understand is also not allowed by FTP, but never admitted to the use of a bot. You gotta chiiiiil.

    In summary, if you don’t take every little word so literally, you won’t come off as a douche.


  2. Steve Ruddock says:

    quick rebuttal since I don’t feel like arguing every point with Joelle, her husband, or whomever wrote this comment:

    I’m upset because the poker world provides for my family (and many others), and these constant half-truths are having a serious affect on the industry. So yes, I’m taking the article WAAAAAAY tooo seriously, just as you are taking my critcism of the author WAAAAAY too seriously –unless of course you are the author or her husband or something.

    #1 — After doing some digging, I have also been unable to come across any admission of using bots by Kennedy, so I’ll edit my piece to reflect that they admitted to multi-accounting and the case was thrown out of court (I went on memory of the case and remebered some type of admission, but I may be wrong there, so if anyone can dig up the info it would be appreciated).

    I still feel this is a necassary bit to leave out of the original article published in Forbes… My apologies on that point

    #2 — I don’t need things drawn out in crayon, but MANY people do, and blatantly misleading them is wrong; letting them draw their own conclusions is wrong. Provide proof please, provide the whole story, that’s your job as a writer.

    #3 — She should stick to her area of expertise, which would be well served, and a welcome addition to the conversation in this case. There is no need for her to speculate on the “poker code” or how the poker sites were transferring money to players.

    #4 — why is everythnig left up in the air in her article? The entire article is meant to paint the online poekr world in the worst possible light, even though there is a site like PokerStars that refutes her final claim that the US gov. must regulate the industry.

    Anyway, a little longer than I originally intended, but hety, I take my job and my industry’s reputation too seriously.

  3. Steve Ruddock says:


    One more thing. Most people reading Forbes don’t have intimate knowledge of what is going on –it’s not like this was posted to a poker news outlet– so yes, you do have to spell things out for the complete layperson. you wouldn’t post a mortage securities fraud article in an auto magazine without walking the reader through step-by-step would you?

  4. Deuces says:

    No relation, just avid Forbes reader…

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