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Old 08-29-2010, 11:39 PM   #1
Imper1um
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Coming clean and setting the record straight

I wasn't going to post this until the end of the year but in light of the recent threads about me I've decided to post it now and get everything out there all at once. Even though I said I don't care what anyone thinks, obviously that's not true or I wouldn't be writing this long post. I actually would prefer coming back as a contributing member of the poker community once again. After reading over my initial reply to recent allegations I agree that my reply was arrogant and self righteous. Maybe you can understand how frustrated I am with people on this forum who believe every piece of gossip. Of course there are things I've done in the past that were against the rules, but they seem to always get blown out of proportion.

On October 21st, 2007 I was involved in an account buying incident in which I purchased Chris Vaughn's account deep in FTP's Million dollar guaranteed tournament. With about 26 players left, Chris logged off his account on break, I logged in, and proceeded to play the rest of the tournament for him. We ended up winning the tournament and shortly thereafter the account was closed for an investigation and subsequently Chris and I were both banned from FTP, had the ~200k winnings confiscated and were scorned on public forums by the online poker community.

Most people reading this with the understanding of how the rules are now would call me a cheater and feel I was fairly punished. Things that are clearly against the rules in 2010 were often more accepted in 2007. I was surprised at how the poker community responded. All of a sudden something that prior to this incident, no one had been penalized for and was never criticized instantly became outlawed after my banning from FTP. This incident, single-handedly changed the rules of online poker and forced sites to revisit and revise their rules and I strongly believe that I was the guy who was made an example of. People can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm very confident that no one had ever penalized for taking over for someone in the middle of a tournament before I was and there were discussions regarding the ethics of this act on 2p2 or p5's, the two forums I frequently visited at the time.

Not only had no one ever been punished for ghosting/taking over in tournies, but there were several instances where high profile players were using multiple accounts in cash games and taking over for less experienced players in tournaments. One incident that was almost exactly identical to mine was when ActionJeff took over for Dim--Tix in the $1k Sunday million less than a year before I was banned on FTP for doing the same thing! (http://www.pokerkingblog.com/2007/04...llion-sort-of/) The only difference was that Jeff didn`t play in the tournament where he took over and I did which I didn't think is much of a difference at all. Another instance was at PCA 2006 (I believe) there were a whole bunch of us grinding the Sunday Million in the lobby. AK87 ended up making the final table of the Sunday Million and I remember several respected players asking AK87 how much they`d have to pay him to `take over`. He ended up declining and finishing the tournament himself. I`m not bringing this up to bring up the point that they did it or tried to do it so why can`t I. I`m simply trying to explain my thought process at the time. All I knew was that there were several top pro's sharing and using multiple accounts and taking over for people mid way through tournaments was very common.

To give another example of how normal it seemed to play on another account a few years ago. I won an FTOPS tournament playing on an account that wasn't mine (kristy_sea) while my account was out of service after being hacked, I posted on the forums I`d be using that account so that I could participate in a last longer. I even had FTP transfer my FTOPS jersey to the Imper1um account on Full TIlt and I got credit for Online Player of the Year points from cardplayer and TLB points from pocketfives. (http://www.pocketfives.com/f7/ftops-7-last-longer-bet-congrats-kristysea-winning-3500$-last-longer-80893/)

To be perfectly honest, at the time I thought that taking over for people deep in tournaments on a wide scale would be a great business idea and had discussions with friends about opening a website that people could go to to sell the equity of their accounts to top pro's deep in tournaments! Not once did any one I spoke with tell me they thought it was unethical. I thought, if this is going on on a small scale and is accepted, why not make it bigger and more organized? Contrary to popular belief, I didn't do it because of greed or to cheat people out of equity, mainly I did it because of how much fun it was for me to play deep in a tournament. I'm sure I would have done it, even with no financial gain, just for the competitiveness.

This whole method on how sites decide to change the rules kind of reminds me of what happened on Pokestars not too long before this incident. For those of you who weren't around online poker prior to 2007, in rebuy tournaments, during the rebuy period people use to verbally agree in chat to go all in blind. Sometimes you'd get 4-5 people agree to go all in blind. People would do this to accumulate chips before the rebuy period ended. When and how did the rule change? Well, I think the fair way to change the rule would be to send an e-mail to anyone who's ever played a rebuy tournament and announce that the rule has changed and agreeing to go all in blind has become a form of collusion punishable by forfeiture of winnings from that tournament and a possible suspension. Instead, Pokerstars decided to take a high profile player and make an example out of them. It was just another random $100 rebuy and Annette Obrestad and another player had agreed to go all in blind. Pokerstars, without warning, decided to suspend her for 1 week despite the fact that this was a rampant and widespread at the time. I understand why Pokerstars did this the same way I understand why FTP did what they did to me. They know it will end up on the forums and it's a quick and effortless way for the sites to get their points across. It just happens to be unfair for the person who's been made an example of but I'm not sure, maybe the ends justify the means. For Annette, being suspended on Stars for one week was basically a slap on the wrist and did nothing to affect her reputation or livelihood because of how minor the infraction was. But for me, despite the fact that ghosting and taking over for people midway through a tournament happened frequently at the time, FTP made a huge deal of it and decided to ban me and confiscate the winnings.

Just to illustrate what the rules were before and after the FTP incident take a look at what the Site Rules looked like on October 20th, 2007 courtesy of Alexa.com's wayback machine. http://web.archive.org/web/*/fulltiltpoker.com

Site Rules on Sept 20th, 2007 (day before incident) (http://web.archive.org/web/200710160.../siteRules.php)

Rule 2 reads: "Players are not allowed to create, use, or deposit to more than one account. Violators of this rule are subject to an account review which may lead to account suspension and forfeiture of accumulated Full Tilt Points"

Just a couple months after the investigation, on February 20th, 2007 (http://web.archive.org/web/200802230.../siteRules.php)

Players are not allowed to create, use, or deposit to more than one account. Players who are found to have multiple accounts or to have allowed multiple users to access their account may face account suspensions or revocations, and forfeiture of their accumulated Full Tilt Points and real money balances.

The reality is, back in 2007, online poker was in it's infancy. The sites hadn't made up their mind on a lot of issues and the discussions on forums such as 2p2 were probably heavily weighed into many of their decisions to change the rules. I don't think that back in 2007 it was clear that what I did was against the rules or unethical.

In my opinion, the only difference between talking with someone while they're deep in a tournament and telling them how to play their hands and buying their account and actually playing for them is who's in control of the mouse. From other player's perspectives, it's the same whether a skilled player takes over for his own gain or to just to help a friend. The act of another person making decisions for the account holder is what's the problem and we all know that there's no way to completely eliminate this from online poker. I agree that just because you accept that it's going on doesn't mean you should condone it but It's pretty evident will go on for as long as online poker exists.

A few months after FTP made it clear that I was banned indefinitely, I was forced to make a big decision. Respect what I thought was an unfair ban or continue playing on FTP under an anonymous alias. Since online tournaments were my livelihood at the time, and FTP hosted a huge percentage of the ones worthy of playing, I chose the latter. This put me in quite a dilemma as I wanted to tell people who knew me the account I was playing on, but obviously didn't want to be reported and banned.

I have played on the following accounts while being banned from FTP;

1) Spivvy
2) Papagreggio
3) Garfield25
4) Yogiblair (I previously lied about this)
5) Tiptronic

I have never put more than one account in a tournament. When one of the accounts I was using got banned, I found another one to play on. I haven't played on FTP since February 2010. I've found my place in live tournaments and I've realized that even though I didn't agree with the ban to begin with it's wrong for me to play on FTP since players are put at a disadvantage by me knowing who they are but them not knowing who I am.

Mid October of 2008 was the second time I had a run in with controversy. A thread opened up about me being "banned" on pokerstars for multi-accounting. I guess people noticed my absence from pokerstars for a week and automatically assumed the worst. I quickly clarified things by letting people know that I was suspended for 3 months for letting someone play the first 2 hrs for me in a tournament. I was at the airport and had realized that I was registered for a PLO tournament during WCOOP, I called a friend of mine, who's name won't be mentioned, and asked him to unregister if he could, or else play the first couple hours until I arrive in London (from Barcelona). He wasn't able to unregister so he played the first 2 hrs of the tournament and I took over as soon as I got settled into my hotel. Pokerstars intially wanted to suspend me for 6 months but after pleading with them and giving my side, they shortened it to 3 months. Technically, this was against the rules, but I didn't think I was doing anything unethical. This happened right after JJprodigy (Josh Fields) admitted to multi-accounting on Pokerstars and they decided to rampantly suspended anyone connected to Josh in any questionable way. They even mentioned Josh and the fact that I should have known better because of the FTP incident in the e-mails. Despite my clean record with zero warnings on Pokerstars they banned me for 3 months.

Now let me talk about the current controversy, the incriminating conversation I allegedly had with Thorladen......

In my initial response, I mentioned that the conversation posted was a mix of conversations I've had and complete fabrications by the OP.I failed to explain myself clearly. What I basically meant was that I've had discussions with people on IM about topics that were placed in the conversation posted. I remember talking about staking Chris and Adi, about the value of makeup and about the use of gotomypc, but never for the purpose of multiaccounting. I talked about it for the purpose of being able to play on FTP from my own computer instead of having to change CPU's and IP addresses every time FTP discovered what account I was playing under. What the poster did was take content from dialog I had with several people on different dates and create one long conversation that never happened. To be honest, I thought that when and if it was posted, it might get 30 responses and maybe 500 views but I should have realized that people enjoy controversy and I've done things that make people want to see me get punished

Whoever fabricated the conversation definitely put a lot of work into it. I guess whoever did this thought that a) they were going to yield a positive economic return by trying to blackmail me and/or b) they have some sort of grudge against me and were going to post it when they saw fit. Think about it, it's been two years since any of these discussions have taken place, if he posted it for the good of the community, why would he wait so long before posting it? I'm having the best year of my poker career, it's a great time to post things damaging to my rep if he wanted to. I encourage whoever posted this conversation to come out and say who you are. You say you're worried that I will retaliate with violence if I find out who you are. I'm not in the mafia, nor do I have any ties to the underworld. Stop being a coward and reveal yourself. In the mean time, I encourage Pokerstars and Full Tilt to do a full investigation in any of these accusations since nothing ever happened.


I understand that people want to see my punished for the things I've done wrong. I think I have been punished enough. I've been banned on Full Tilt poker while having 200k in winnings confiscated. I've had my reputation completely dragged through the mud. I've lost a ton of fans/supporters (in turn losing potential sponsorships, endorsements, and televised poker appearances.) And I've been handed down the life sentence of never being able to call someone out on public forums when I've been cheated, stiffed or screwed over. Trust me on this, anyone who knows me knows that I've been screwed over way more than my fair share of times. I've tried posting on 2+2 about a minor incident where I was colluded against, but obviously the thread was quickly reverted to how much of a shady scumbag I am and how I deserved it for having bad karma. The actual issue I brought up was barely even addressed.

I hope there are some people who can see that the state of online poker in 2007 combined with the ideas of a 21 year old are not the same as today where the rules are different and I'm older and more mature.

I will try my best to keep up with the thread and address any questions and comments people have for me but keep in mind I'm playing EPT Villamoura at the moment and might not be able to respond right away.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:45 PM   #2
Daut44
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

pretty standard 2p2 responses

do you know how the guy who posted it even obtained any of these conversations?
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:49 PM   #3
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Quote:
4) Yogiblair (I previously lied about this)
when was this account in question?
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:50 PM   #4
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

good post sorel
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:54 PM   #5
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

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Originally Posted by LetMeLive View Post
when was this account in question?
May 2009 FTP 25K HU
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:55 PM   #6
bacats32
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

I forgive you OP, if Justin Bonomo (zeejustin) can become well respected after what he did, this seems like nothing!!!
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:56 PM   #7
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Pretty standard to provide cliffs
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:57 PM   #8
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imper1um View Post

1) Spivvy
2) Papagreggio
3) Garfield25
4) Yogiblair (I previously lied about this)
5) Tiptronic
There's more though. Why come 1/4th of the way clean?

oh and please tell me you didn't get anything for the yogiblair 25k HU thing. It would make my day.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:59 PM   #9
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Sorel, I still love you <3


---Mr Perfekt
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:02 AM   #10
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

This should probably have been your first response. Having said that, when you 'come clean' you usually shouldn't name drop/implicate. It's poor form. This would have been much more effective without that.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:03 AM   #11
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

this is OT but posts #2 #3 #4 #6 ect...tilt the absolute hell out of me. I really really wish 2+2 would start taking a somethingawful type approach to modding these forums and start temp banning idiots making **** posts, especially in "serious" threads like this.

edit: hurrah to mlagoo for deleting all of these ridiculously stupid replies

Last edited by MrTimCaum; 08-30-2010 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:12 AM   #12
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTimCaum View Post
this is OT but posts #2 #3 #4 #6 ect...tilt the absolute hell out of me. I really really wish 2+2 would start taking a somethingawful type approach to modding these forums and start temp banning idiots making **** posts, especially in "serious" threads like this.
good point.


deleted my post (was #2).
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:14 AM   #13
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imper1um View Post


I understand that people want to see my punished for the things I've done wrong. I think I have been punished enough. I've been banned on Full Tilt poker while having 200k in winnings confiscated. I've had my reputation completely dragged through the mud.
.
How is your name being dragged through the mud if people are actually telling the truth?
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:15 AM   #14
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imper1um View Post
I understand that people want to see my punished for the things I've done wrong. I think I have been punished enough. I've been banned on Full Tilt poker while having 200k in winnings confiscated. I've had my reputation completely dragged through the mud. I've lost a ton of fans/supporters (in turn losing potential sponsorships, endorsements, and televised poker appearances.) And I've been handed down the life sentence of never being able to call someone out on public forums when I've been cheated, stiffed or screwed over.
After reading this thread, I think the just punishment is for every online poker site to ban you for life. I think you have hurt the reputation of online poker more than anyone, save for the one superuser on AP. I guess GL in the live circuit because it seems more difficult to MA in the live arena.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:16 AM   #15
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

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Originally Posted by Daut44 View Post
pretty standard 2p2 responses

do you know how the guy who posted it even obtained any of these conversations?
temp ban this idiot
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:18 AM   #16
Lance Freeman
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTimCaum View Post
this is OT but posts #2 #3 #4 #6 ect...tilt the absolute hell out of me. I really really wish 2+2 would start taking a somethingawful type approach to modding these forums and start temp banning idiots making **** posts, especially in "serious" threads like this.
me too man, tree fiddy tho! lol never got that but i agree posts like this are meaningless and retarted.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:21 AM   #17
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Definitely a better answer and a better approach. But it's still a tall order to believe that someone interweaved conversations from many months on different subjects in one huge convo managing to implicate you in a multi-accounting scheme. Also one would have to be very forgiving to simply accept that you talked about gotmypc for the sole purpose of fooling FTP.

OTOH, it's equally plausible that the person who had the idea of building a site were people could sell their deep runs to well-known professionals could evolve his thinking into the scheme described on those emails.

I mean, what you say might be true, reality is that implausible sometimes, but you do have to realize that there's very good reason to doubt you.

PS. At some point the original conversations should have to be provided; that would be an excellent way to exonorate you; having the im service provide them to the community on your consent would be ideal.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:22 AM   #18
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Agree that this is a much better post than your first reply.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:26 AM   #19
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

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Originally Posted by linktrix View Post
Agree that this is a much better post than your first reply.
+1

I don't know enough to know how much stock I should put into op but, assuming it's relatively accurate/sincere, I empathize with the guy.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:31 AM   #20
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imper1um View Post
To be perfectly honest, at the time I thought that taking over for people deep in tournaments on a wide scale would be a great business idea and had discussions with friends about opening a website that people could go to to sell the equity of their accounts to top pro's deep in tournaments! Not once did any one I spoke with tell me they thought it was unethical. I thought, if this is going on on a small scale and is accepted, why not make it bigger and more organized?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imper1um View Post
I have never put more than one account in a tournament. When one of the accounts I was using got banned, I found another one to play on. I haven't played on FTP since February 2010. I've found my place in live tournaments and I've realized that even though I didn't agree with the ban to begin with it's wrong for me to play on FTP since players are put at a disadvantage by me knowing who they are but them not knowing who I am.
OP, how can you make these two statements? You didn't see anything wrong with taking over people's accounts on a large scale, but now you don't want to play on FTP because people wouldn't know who you are? Why didn't that strike you as an ethical dilemma in 2007?

Last edited by Pghfan987; 08-30-2010 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:31 AM   #21
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

im still not sure how we are supposed to believe gotomypc wasnt used to multiaccount besides taking your word for it, which, well, is hard to do.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:32 AM   #22
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Quote:
OP, how can you make these two statements? You didn't see anything wrong with taking over people's accounts on a large scale, but you now don't want to play on FTP because people wouldn't know who you are, but you would know them? Why didn't that strike you as an ethical dilemma in 2007?
Yes, that too, sounded very convenient.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:34 AM   #23
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

I think that this was a pretty good reply, like from all the responses Sorel could've given this is one of the better ones I could have imagined.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:34 AM   #24
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Whenever I see these type cases come to the attention of the forums I basically always come to the same conclusion.

"A day late and a dollar short"

Coming clean is certainly a courageous thing and by no means easy and for that you are to be commended. The bottom line however is that you have been accused and convicted essentially several times, multiple times (you list 5 different FTP acnts). Along with other allegations etc, I just don't see how one tell all post after several years of lying makes up for everything and I honestly doubt you think that either. Regardless if you were treated unfairly or made an example it doesn't mean ignoring a punishment is any better or worse. You chose to evade authority (in this case FTP) and continue to play, and for that I don't think there is any argument in your favor.

So my opinion is this, this is step one in your process of earning peoples respect back, you are not in the least entitled to anyone respecting you as a gentlemen of the game until proven otherwise. That being said I think months and years of being active in the community and staying away from even the most remote controversy is your next step. Will people ever forget your actions, unlikely but I would think you could eventually create a resume where that looks more like a blip in the past rather than a big red flag of character that it is right now.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:39 AM   #25
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Re: Coming clean and setting the record straight

Didn't the JJProdigy thing happen in early 2006?

The reason I say that is because I am pretty sure the ethics of MA'ing and buying accounts had already been discussed ad nauseam by 2007 if I am not mistaken.
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