Henri Bühler’s ties to Fedor Kruse have hurt his reputation badly. But after appearing to drop him from their ambassador roster, it appears Natural8 may still have a contract with him.
The website has removed his profile links from their ambassador page. But a Google search still brings up his ambassador profile. This might seem at first like a case of a lazy site developer deleting links rather than pages.
However, when asked if Bühler still had a contract with Natural8, the company told Poker.org that they “do not have an update on this matter until further notice.”
Bühler’s sponsors before the Kruse news broke were DTO Poker and Natural8.
DTO dropped Bühler almost as soon as the story started gaining traction in the poker media. They stated that “while we at DTOPoker obviously have no idea what really went down between Fedor and Henri during the RTA scandal we’ve decided to part ways with Henri as our ambassador.”
But Natural8, part of the GGPoker Network, seems to be dragging its heels. That happened in a matter of days. This might represent one of GGPoker’s most circumspect responses to a crisis so far. When the RTA scandal initially broke GGPoker dumped 40 players and confiscated over $1 million dollars.
This time the site seems to be waiting on all the evidence. Or else Bühler’s contract lawyer is a real brute.
Fedor Kruse’s RTA cheating scandal has had a number of enormous effects in the poker world.
It poisoned much of the discussion between Polk and Negreanu ahead of their heads up challenge. It led to a knee-jerk spate of bans on GGPoker. And it resulted in the entire poker world having to Google the difference between solvers, bots, GTO, and how Doug Polk uses Excel.
The scandal initially touched only Fedor Kruse and his “dream machine,” a two-computer set up with a database of solved hands on one.
However, his main line of defense against the charges ended up being: everyone in poker cheats, what’s the big deal? In elaborating on this, he accused $5 SNG pros of being Russian bot farm livestock and referred to his housemates, including the whistleblowers, as being “not unguilty” of cheating. So when lists of Kruse’s stakers were made public by the whistleblowers, suspicions fell on them.
One of the top names on the list was Bühler. Bühler is alleged to have spun a $42,000 profit from Kruse’s shenanigans. The question then was, “how much did he know?”
Villain or patsy?
That question remains up in the air. The allegation that Bühler knew about the cheating is based mainly on the idea that a canny investor wouldn’t put that much cash on an unproven player at such high stakes.
One 2+2 member put the case thus: “To think that a guy who skips mtts because “lobby is too reg-heavy” would autobook his close friend in nl20k because of “nice looking graphs” is mindblowing. Its pretty obvious the guy knew what was going on.”
“Nice looking graphs” refers to a line Kruse said on a live stream. He said that he sent Bühler some nice looking graphs of his performance in high stakes games.
With Natural8 out of the German market, they have an excellent face-saving reason to dump Bühler either way. Like many a cheating investigation before this, Bühler-gate is unlikely to resolve in a way that will fully satisfy anyone.
While we all want cheats and profiteers to be punished. I think we’d also prefer to wait for some solid evidence before we try and wedge a pitchfork into anyone’s femoral.
Featured image source: Twitter