While talk of a universal blacklist of known cheating players will almost certainly never come to pass, some operators who provide both online and live services are making sure that individual operator-wide bans are being put into place. One such provider, partypoker, recently affirmed that players caught cheating on any of their online platforms will not be able to pay at live partypoker events, such as the upcoming partypoker LIVE MILLIONS stop in Barcelona, Spain.
Partypoker’s Head of Game Integrity, Juha Pasanen, is back on the blacklist drumbeat in a recent partypoker Blog post. Pasanen is one of the few operator-side figures to speak publicly on the topic, despite its being a matter of interest to virtually the entire poker world.
According tp Pasanen, “[T]here are a multitude of challenges with the introduction of a global poker blacklist and although it is a concept we are keen to explore, realistically this is not a short-term project. What we can do is protect partypoker LIVE events through our own blacklist that is enforced at all of our MILLIONS, PPC and Grand Prix Tours across the world. One of our core philosophies at partypoker is to recreate the thrill of a live poker experience when you play online. In the same manner, it would be remiss of us to promise a fun and fair playing environment in our online events, if those same cheaters are able to sit down opposite you at our live tables.”
How is that applied? “What I will say on the matter at this time,” continues Pasanen, “is that we at partypoker have a zero-tolerance policy towards players who are intentionally trying to gain an unfair advantage over others at our tables. I would like to reiterate that anyone banned at partypoker or other Entain brands is not welcome at any partypoker LIVE event.”
Issue currently a matter of operator trust
Because data-privacy laws prevent operators in many jurisdictions from publicly announcing the identities of players who have been thus banned, it’s currently a situation where a player may be blacklisted, but only the operator itself truly knows for sure. Partypoker is one of the few operators that has released information pertaining to online-poker bans. However, it’s the only Entain site to do, and it has released only cumulative numeric information, with no names or account names of banned players released.
While there’s no reason not to take Pasanen at his word, for many players the whole issue remains a matter of whichever operators each player trusts the most. Pasanen’s global-blacklist dreams remained hampered by the reality of the situation. Not only will some operators be reticent to join such a blacklist or to share data on cheaters fairly — even if certain legal concerns can be resolved — there’s even the dark reality that a few semi-rogue operators may be disincentivized to even pursue certain types of cheating with vigor, lest revenue be negatively impacted.
Rather than have a true global blacklist, the very best partial result would be a partial blacklist shared among operators in individual jurisdictions, but with most operators on the outside looking in, even if they operate any sort of blacklist themselves.
And the information on which players are banned is unlikely ever to go public. Take rival operator PokerStars, for instance. In the wake of widespread cheating allegations made against a handful of elite players including Ali Imsirovic, Jake Schindler, and Bryn Kenney, PokerStars may have banned at least two of those players from participating in their live events. German pro Dietrich Fast posted this, about Imsirovic and Schindler, earlier this month on Twitter:
Dietrich never did confirm the report, and of course Stars did not issue any sort of statement about whether the two players had indeed been bounced from the EPT Monte Carlo venue. That’s the status quo, and such conjecture is likely to remain the status quo for the foreseeable future, the desires of Pasanen and many others notwithstanding.
(Author’s note: Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the other, and they do not necessarily represent the opinions or belies of the owners and publishers of Poker.org.)
Featured image source: partypoker.com