Virtual Felt

Virtual Felt

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Adam 'Snoopy' Goulding with the latest online news.

With These Players, You are Really Spoiling Us

It’s time to unwrap the box of Ferrero Rocher and construct a pyramid on a silver tray - Full Tilt Poker have expanded their lineup of ambassadors with seven brand spanking new additions to the team.

As the dust settled on the WSOP tables, Full Tilt announced that four UK-based players would be donning the badge and making their presence felt on the popular UKIPT circuit: Martins Adeniya, Dermot Blain, Ben Jenkins and Sinem Melin.

While an awkward introductory video on PokerNews highlighted a lack of familiarity with the spotlight, the new signings appear to represent a change of focus, with Full Tilt sacrificing “star power” in favour of reliable and amicable players who actually want to play each leg of the tour.

VF Ambassadors

Meanwhile, a stone's throw away (if you’re Superman), Queenstown, Australia, played host to the grand unveiling of three more signings: Liam O'Rourke, Tom Grigg and online phenom Jonathan 'xMONSTERxDONGx' Karamalikis. They’ll be representing the brand on the ANZPT as well as ambushing the online site as Red Pros.


As with previous months, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom endured more ups and downs than a kangaroo on a trampoline in July with gargantuan swings at Full Tilt Poker’s most nosebleed-inducing of stakes. In the middle of the month, he suffered an eye-watering deficit of $1.4 million across several days, but displayed impressive bouncebackability one week later by recouping those losses in a single day of hot poker action.

Armed with the guts and mettle that have made him such a cult figure within the online community, Blom toppled titans such as Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius and Gus Hansen to pull himself back to even for the month over a whopping 36,003 hands – more than double played by any other high stakes player that month.

The big winner for July was unknown entity “Tight-Man1” with a $1.21 million profit, while plucky Brit Alex “IReadYrSoul” Millar read enough souls to finish on $993,436. At the less favourable end of the financial spectrum, Isaac “luvtheWBNA” Haxton had his wallet thinned by $1.29 million. Ouch!

VF Blom

Small Stakes, Big Prizes

The MicroMillions on PokerStars enjoyed its fifth outing last month with another series of online tournaments open and affordable to all – and in the $20+2 Main Event it appeared as though “all” did indeed enter, with 59,213 creating the largest prize pool in the history of the series.

In the end it was Lithuania’s “stygher” who emerged as last-man-sitting, earning $160,000 for his troubles. The Main Event boasted more geographical eclecticism than the Olympics with nine different nations represented on the final, while the side events were equally diverse, with winners hailing from New Zealand, Iran, Uruguay and elsewhere.

On home soil, seven Brits reigned supreme, most notably “vander9279” who waited patiently until event #97 to turn an $11 investment into $35,600.66. In the same tournament, “PokerPinch” made it a UK one-two for $25,687.43, while the amusingly-named “Agent Bear” and “One Poor Bum” also snapped up gold in prior events.

Is Multi-Accounting Cheating?

For almost 15 years, online poker has entertained millions of card enthusiasts worldwide, enabling them to compete for gargantuan prize pools in the comfort of their underpants while lambasting and/or fist-pumping with impunity. However, there remain more grey areas than in John Major’s wardrobe, and online cardrooms are constantly searching for ways to clamp down on any unfair practice to ensure everyone is participating on a level playing field.

While we have seen many key developments on this front in recent years, from enhanced security to swift detection of collusion rings, the sin of multi-accounting continues to rear its ugly head.

Over the years multi-accounting has gradually morphed into a taboo following high-profile incidents involving the likes of Justin Bonomo, Josh Field and Mark Teltscher, the latter of whom saw his $1.2 million WCOOP win rescinded after he was found to have entered the tournament using at least six different accounts.

However, a thread on bustling poker forum TwoPlusTwo suggested that this behaviour was still prevalent in high-stakes cash games, with the name Jared Bleznick believed to be behind several accounts – most notably ‘harrington25’ – on both the PokerStars and Full Tilt nosebleeds.

What ensued was a heated debate on the effect of multi-accounting. While Tom “durrrr” Dwan – rather foolishly given his role at Full Tilt Poker – argued that “multi-accounting isn’t cheating; it’s a flawed rule that the sites try to enforce partly for their own benefits,” fellow pro Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky explained that “you get to start at the bottom of the pecking order and play whomever you want”.

The bottom line, however, is that multi-accounting goes against the terms and conditions of virtually every site and should be treated as a serious offence, especially in the high-stakes where player pools are limited and reads, or lack of, can be the difference between six-figure swings. The more prominent debate should be: are sites doing enough to counter and prohibit multi-accounting? For networks with multiple skins it’s always going to be difficult, but an increased number of anonymous tables and more concise ID verification would certainly be a start.

For more on the subject, read Eve Goodman's feature on multi-accounting.

VF Dwan


Although JC Tran is unquestionably the most notable name from the November Nine line-up – both in terms of life winnings and current chip count – one formidable figure that many new players will fail to recognise is that of David Benefield.

A 27-year-old pro from Arlington, Texas, Benefield gained notoriety in the aftermath of the poker boom as one of online poker’s most successful players. Playing under the moniker “Raptor”, Benefield played in some of the biggest games going and was once reported to have won over a million dollars in a single day.

VF Benefield

As a friend and roommate of durrrr and a member of the infamous and sophomoric “Ship It Holla Ballas” crew, Benefield became an iconic figure within the online community and was soon spreading his knowledge as a mentor on training site CardRunners and flying the flag for sponsors Full Tilt Poker.

However, as has become tradition with many of online poker’s prodigies, Benefield sought inspiration and mental stimulation elsewhere and ultimately quit the game in 2009 to pursue his academic studies. But the hiatus was short-lived, and he swiftly returned to the felt to ply his trade once more.

Although David became lost in the sea of young talent that now engulfs the modern game, his performance in this year’s WSOP Main Event has thrust him back into the limelight and reminded everyone of what a phenomenal player he is. Despite being the short stack at the table, he’s undoubtedly capable of turning things around and, with a little fortune, could easily leave Vegas with the World Champion crown.

Elie Come, Elie Go

Having tested our endurance with the Lederer Files, Matthew Parvis donned his Frost suit once more for another tête-à-tête, this time with payment processor and Black Friday indictee Chad Elie. Faced with nine charges and an 85-year prison sentence (gulp), Elie pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud and operating an illegal gambling business in the United States in order to reduce his sentence to a more manageable six to 12 months, which ultimately became five.

In the interview, Elie reveals how he got into the poker industry, talks about the Intabill merger and his subsequent relationship with whistleblower Daniel Tzvetkoff, and that fateful day when armed FBI agents ambushed his home.

If number-crunching isn’t your cup of tea – although the “four-million-dollar incident” is intriguing – then you may wish to skip to the second half of the interview where Elie discusses Full Tilt Poker, in particular Howard Lederer and the artistic license he applied to the Lederer Files.

Contrary to Lederer’s claims, Elie alleges that he did have interaction with the processors and that both Lederer and Bitar were aware of the backlog in late 2010. “The way I look at it, Howard Lederer ran Full Tilt Poker,” he says. “It was the Howard Lederer Show… He was aware of how money was dealt with processors.”

Nevertheless, it was Elie who served time, as well as forfeiting $25 million from processing accounts, but it’s an experience he has embraced as life-changing. Since his release, he has embarked on a career as professional poker player and is now representing – perhaps somewhat controversially – free-to-play online cardroom

While the interview feels refreshingly sincere and sheds light on the payment processes within the poker industry, there remains a nimbus of mystery and unanswered questions surrounding Black Friday – ones which I suspect may never come to light.

VF Elie

Tags: Adam 'Snoopy' Goulding, Virtual Felt, David Benefield, Viktor Blom, Howard Lederer, Chad Elie,