Phil Galfond is conducting his own Postlegate investigation

Jon Pill
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Posted on: September 22, 2020 7:49 pm EDT

When Winston Churchill advised defiance in defeat and magnanimity in victory, he was giving practical advice. In Justin Kuraitis’s response to the Postlegate court case, we can see why the latter is so important. 

The ruling was made, his job was safe, and the case was done. Kuraitis could have let things cool down and the poker world might have forgotten him. Postle was the face of the scandal, and any future agro would be going that way.

Mac VerStandig even put his signature to a piece of paper that more or less acquitted Kuraitis.

Kuraitis had won. It was a time for magnanimity in victory.

Instead, Kuraitis seems to have taken a different path and the poker world is not taking it lightly.

The former defendant posted a four-page missive against the cheating allegations. And then he set about typing up a barrage of tweets that riled Phil Galfond into putting his own time and money into reopening the investigation.

“I’m a busy guy,” wrote Galfond. “I probably wasn’t ever going to think about Postle again, but @JFKPokerTD & @StonesGambling responded to a legal “victory” by taunting the victims. If we get all HHs into PT or a spreadsheet, I’ll create a detailed report with proof (or lack thereof) myself.”

Data, data, data

Nor was this an idle threat.

The founder of RunItOnce has already downloaded the relevant videos and is coordinating a team of volunteer researchers. They will be turning video streams into the kind of hand histories that a computer can understand and analyze.

Despite the fact that Galfond is aiming the investigation at him, Kuraitis been generally supportive of this undertaking. He even Tweeted that he is “looking forward” to the results.

 

Galfond is clearly keen to avoid what is known as P-hunting in science. (This is where a large body of data is analyzed using many different parameters as it takes to find a “statistically significant” correlation. In a large enough data set there will be some of these correlations just by chance.)

To avoid this, Galfond had laid out an initial list of 17 tests he wants to run before he has seen the data.

These include things like Postle’s river bluff success rates and comparing scenarios like how often he folds to a flop raise when the raiser is paired or unpaired.

These analyses will go some way to quantifying whether Postle was playing well or too well.

Why keep digging?

To those wondering why such an effort is worthwhile when the courts have ruled on the case, Galfond has two replies.

In one tweet, he states that he thinks “that the poker community banding together to self-police and protect their own when the courts won’t is a good look.

In another tweet, he references the continued threats of legal actions that Veronica Brill claims to be receiving from Postle and his associates.

Reading about those threats, one is reminded of how Oscar Wilde took the Marquess of Queensbury to court for libel. Wilde ended up paying Queensbury off and still went to prison.  

Though in this case, Kuraitis gets a freeroll. If Postle is proven innocent, the Kuraitis name is cleared. If not, there is no honor among cheats and Kuraitis can still claim Postle acted alone.