GTO Wizard's Fair Play Check at heart of multiple online-poker cheating accusations and controversies

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: October 18, 2023 07:47 PDT

The recent introduction of GTO Wizard's members-only Fair Play Check has turned out to be a controversy-inducing development in more ways than one. Two players widely accused of using GTO Wizard as real-time assistance (RTA) have since been cleared, in one manner or another, while an investigation into a prominently-accused third player is ongoing.

The controversies also involve how effective the Fair Play Check will turn out to be in the long run, as the tool has already undergone one update and now offers additional information in query results. The update may help reduce the frequency of "false positive" results, referring to the tool's reporting of a possible found spot where online cheating using GTO Wizard might have occurred, when in fact no such real-time cheating was present.

Chris Battenfield exonerated by, has account unfrozen

One of the most prominent developments in connection with the new Fair Play Check tool has now seen the accused player exonerated from cheating accusations. Chris Battenfield, who logged several in-the-money finishes during the first weeks of the domestic (US) WSOP Online bracelet series, has ended a couple of weeks of social-media silence by posting that his account at has been restored:

Holtz's public accusations, which were accompanied by the results of several Fair Play Check queries, ended up sidelining Battenfield from participating on the platform for nearly two weeks.

The extent to which and GTO Wizard worked together to deduce Battenfield's presumptive innocence is likely to remain publicly unknown, as online sites and their partners rarely disclose their methodology about identifying cheating players. One additional factor likely played into the Battenfield situation, however, and that was a series of Fair Play Check query results posted by a GTO Wizard coach and prominent community member whose searches determined separately that Holtz's initial results were likely false positives.

Shortly after GTO Wizard updated and expanded the Fair Play Check tool, GTO Coach Tom “tombos21” Boshoff re-ran Holtz's searches and found that the enhanced results produced mismatches independent from the community cards and timestamp, which are among any hand's primary identifying characteristics. As Boshoff discovered, differences between the identified "spot" hands and the queries' expanded results showed varying differences involving stack sizes, player position, and even the game format.

Matt Berkey of Solve For Why and the "Only Friends" podcast was one of the first to offer a public apology to Battenfield, after the possible cheating had earlier received prominent play on Only Friends' often-opinionated podcast:

Still awaiting deeper explanation to the public, if possible, is exactly how and why the false positives occurred, and why erroneously-entered data emerged only when queries using the updated Fair Play Check tool were conducted. Multiple explanations exist for the entire series of events, including the possibility that someone other than Battenfield used the GTO Wizard tool on the hands in question during real-time action. Such a query could have been performed by someone not even seated at the table but who was just observing it instead.

The "UrNighmare" account Berkey mentioned is another of the accounts publicly accused of RTA cheating, in this case on PokerStars' US platform. Seven of eight possible Fair Play Check hits on alleged cheating hands were quickly debunked as being false positives, while Simon Rudin, the owner of the account, was praised and defended as a high-integrity player in a recent 2+2 thread.

Global Poker confirms investigations ongoing into alleged cheaters

Meanwhile, a third player has become the focus of another investigation. The player, screen-named "projectbaby97", who has been the subject of widespread RTA accusations posted by players within Global Poker's own Discord thread.

Rather then issuing a quick suspension of the accused account, as happened with and Battenfield, Global Poker has chosen to conduct a full investigation first, then decide what actions, if any, need to be taken. Global Poker has issued a statement that an investigation is ongoing, without naming any specific players. The brief Global Poker statement reads as follows:

"Global Poker welcomes the active engagement and discussion in our Discord server and elsewhere, even on sometime-uncomfortable topics like cheating. However, as has always been the case, it is necessary that research, investigations, and sanctions are done confidentially. And while [we] appreciate the huge strength of feeling and good faith of our ring game community in the recent weeks, we cannot deviate from this policy. What I will say is that our Game Integrity team is investigating our biggest ring games in detail at the moment, and as always, any cheating or any behaviour in breach of the T&C will be sanctioned.”