Prahlad’s signing is good for UB – is it good for poker? [Editorial]

Prahlad’s signing is good for UB – is it good for poker? [Editorial]

Friday, 7 January 2011

“I can guarantee that you will never see me supporting any online poker site or casino.” Thus spoke Prahlad Friedman in October 2009. At this point, Friedman had really only just become involved in the poker world again after a years-long hiatus that he took to recover after losing his bankroll and having his self-confidence shattered. We all remember how that happened, right?

In 2004/5 the ‘Poker Boom’ was at its zenith and riding high atop that wave was a man known as Mahatma, Spirit Rock or just plain old Prahlad Friedman. That name is hardly plain but you get the point. Friedman was crushing the high stakes games with a hitherto-unknown loose-aggressive and balanced style that would not receive prominence again until Tom Dwan rose to the top of poker’s elite echelons four years later.

Friedman dominated the NL cash games online for years, regarded by his peers (of which he had few) as the best player in the world. He even got a cryptic mention in Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book as the best online player. Then Russ Hamilton and his cronies took over superuser accounts on Ultimate Bet, with which they could view their opponent’s hole cards, proceeding to steal $22,000,000 from high stakes players. The hardest hit was Prahlad Friedman.

Not only did Prahlad lose six or seven figures (and bear in mind this was before the days when million dollar losses were the norm; this was a loss on the scale of durrrr vs. Isildur1) but his game was shattered. Imagine being the best in the world and then beaten time and time again by someone who picks off your bluffs and folds to your thinnest value bets. Friedman dropped out of the poker world – who knows how high he could have climbed? It was only after Tom “durrrr” Dwan beat “Mahatma” that he became one of the best. What if Friedman had continued playing and busted him?

So you see, Friedman not only lost actual dollar values to Russ Hamilton but he lost the potential to earn millions of dollars in the future. Now he is representing the very site that stole his money – talk about your ability to forgive and forget. Friedman believes he was treated well after the scandal; he believes that UB have changed for the better; he believes that this deal is in his best interests so that he can do more for charity and do better things for the world.

The poker forums on Two Plus Two, Pocket Fives and NeverWin are all buzzing with thousands of people condemning Prahlad for his decision. Never mind that they don’t have all the information in any facet but any one of them would happily throw aside their so-called morals to take the cheque and wear the UB patch. Furthermore, we must give Friedman credit for being a smart guy – he clearly knows the facts and thought this through.

Lastly, think of the message it sends – if he, a former nosebleed stakes player who lost millions and future potential millions at the hands of UltimateBet, can forgive them; why can’t you, the average NL200 player who has never been near a high stakes game?

Just some food for thought.

Tags: Poker News, Prahlad’s, signing, is, good, for, UB, , is, it, good, for, poker?, [Editorial]