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Old 06-04-2013, 09:13 AM   #208
Alan C. Lawhon
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Southern USA
Posts: 2,380
Re: Mike Caro investigates software of rooms

Originally Posted by TookURCookie View Post
Can you or someone else with knowledge of the subject tell me why poker sites don't publicly out cheaters and thieves? Maybe do something similar to a police blotter? Even when they refund money to players, not even the victims get the satisfaction of knowing who cheated them. I see at least 2 benefits from doing so:

a.) Public embarrassment for the person who committed the crime
b.) Gain even more trust! If the site truly cares about transparency, then in order to gain 100% trust from their patrons, they should be outing the thieves. Then the players will feel like they are policing these games together with the site, as a team.
Mr. Cookie:

I'm no "expert" with industry experience like Josem, but I have a theory, (admittedly a cynical theory but a "theory" nonetheless), as to why online poker sites have been hesitant to crack down on cheaters. It's a combination of practical concerns and business considerations.

From the perspective of the majority of honest players, the ideal situation would be to see the sites vigorously going after (and punishing) blatant cheaters like Nick Grudzein and Nick's colluding partner. By "going after," I don't mean the site merely "outs" and publicly exposes these type folks. Going after means the site "makes an example" of the cheater, (preferably by having the appropriate legal authority bring criminal charges for theft), prosecuting the cheater, and sending him or her to jail. Once several of these high profile cheaters have been dealt with in that manner, it will begin to have a certain "deterrent effect" on other cheaters - and other players who are contemplating such behavior. It won't stop this activity entirely, but it would put a price on such behavior and force some of these folks to think twice. A vigorous policy of making cheaters and colluders sweat (and forcing them to constantly watch their backs) would go a long way in assuring honest players that the sites actually give a damn about cheating. It would increase that level of "player trust" that these sites say they value.

But what do these sites actually do? Going by the historical record, (and I'm specifically citing the Nick Grudzein case), they receive complaints and allegations from players that something is wrong with Nick's play. The site promptly announces they are conducting an "investigation" assuring their customers that their "Security Department" will get to the bottom of the controversy surrounding Mr. Grudzein. So this crack team of sleuths conduct their "investigation" and come to the conclusion that Nick is no cheat and there's nothing to worry about. "You folks all go back to playing and continuing to donate rake. No problem here. There's nothing wrong with Nick's play." Meantime, after the results of this "investigation" have been announced, Nick is sending emails and messages to all his friends saying, "Hey, I've been cleared!" and chortling like a hyena as he goes right back to cheating. And then Noah-SD goes to work ...

After some real sleuthing and detective work by Noah, this site, (which had previously declared there was "no problem" with Nick's play), effectively reverses their "Security Department" by announcing that they are banning Nick Grudzein from the site. Noah's evidence was so compelling that they had no choice but to drop the pretense of having conducted a real "investigation" of Mr. Grudzein. So how is it that the security investigators for this well known site, with all the resources they had at their disposal, failed to detect what Noah - with none of their resources and none of their "insider knowledge" - managed to uncover? Was this site's security team really that incompetent?

Again, this is just a theory, but I have a feeling business considerations came into conflict with doing the right thing - and these "business considerations" ultimately prevailed. For the site itself to acknowledge "Yes, our security team has determined that Nick is indeed a cheater. We apologize to all the players who have been damaged by Nick's cheating so we are immediately doing two things. First, we are [permanently] banning Nick from the site and, second, we are taking immediate action to refund players who have been cheated." Going that route would have cost the site money - not to mention [potentially] opening the floodgates for more disgruntled players making similar charges against other players. Somebody in top management surely made the assessment that it's better to nip this problem in the bud - the "evidence" developed internally by our security team may be damning against Nick, but the cost of actually dealing with him could be too great, so we're basically going to ignore this problem. (Of course, if there is any validity to this "theory," what they weren't counting on was Noah-SD.)

In addition to the business consideration, there's also a practical consideration, namely that there existed a legal "gray area" as to what could be legally done with Nick Grudzein. These sites were all operating outside of US territory - and thus outside the jurisdiction of US law - so who would prosecute Nick for his theft? Then there's the problem of actually bringing charges against Nick and trying to make him pay for his crimes. That would involve very expensive litigation - with no guarantee of success. Plus, even if the site managed to assist prosecutors in putting Nick behind bars, do the benefits of that effort outweigh the costs? The sites, or at least one of the sites, made the determination that "dealing with the cheating problem" simply costs too much - it's a drain on profits. So what we get, in effect, is a toothless tiger - "security departments" which are routinely overruled in all but the most blatant cases. To be blunt about it, these online sites aren't really interested in eradicating the cheating problem. It's too much of an expense for negligible reward. Better to handle the problem the same way major brick and mortar poker rooms handle the problem - by ignoring the problem in all but the most egregious situations.

Will online poker in a "legal" (regulated) environment here in the United States be any different? Will Caesar's and MGM (and all the other operators who get licenses) go after cheaters like Nick Grudzein - or will they also decide that the cost of running a relatively clean internet poker site outweighs the benefits? What will the regulators stance be on this issue? (After all, the regulator, who is obstensively representing the citizens of the state, has a certain vested interest in this matter. If these internet poker sites come to be perceived in the public's mind as being infested with cheaters - and the operators of the sites appear not to be concerned - tax revenues generated from the sites will drop off, so the regulator [representing the state] has an interest in the cheating issue.)

The operators will weigh in with their concerns regarding the problem with policing cheaters. (They'll surely point out the cost and how "strict enforcement" may [potentially] reduce both gaming revenue and taxes collected.) I suppose somebody like Josem may claim that my "theory" is hokum and my arguments are flawed, but the history involving Nick Grudzein is a fact. There was a long thread on 2+2 about Nick and how that case was bungled back when it happened. I should go looking for that thread and post the link here, but I'm too lazy. (It takes a lot of time and energy to write these masterpieces.)

Last edited by Alan C. Lawhon; 06-04-2013 at 09:27 AM. Reason: Minor edit.
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