This year’s series of high-profile cheating accusations seems to have jammed the spurs to the poker industry’s flanks. The same week that GGPoker announced its new game integrity initiative, PokerStars announced that they will be working to extend online bans to any live events associated with the PokerStars brand.
Francis Lincoln, the Head of Game Integrity at PokerStars, wrote about the new policy on the PokerStars blog.
“Previously, certain players who were barred for their online activity were also told they were not welcome to play at our live events,” Lincoln writes. “However, we have decided that policy was not as comprehensive as it should be and are currently taking a deeper look. […] We are working to ensure that any player barred from PokerStars for Game Integrity reasons will not be welcome to play at any of our live events. This will be true even if their online offenses could not be replicable in a live environment.”
The live events under PokerStars aegis include the European Poker Tour, PokerStars Players Championship, Asia-Pacific Poker Tour, Brazilian Series of Poker, and regional tours in the UK, Spain, France, and Eastern Europe. There are also two poker rooms — at the Hippodrome in London and the Okada in Manila — that are run under the PokerStars logo.
Could GGPoker and PokerStars team up?
Although the fanfare for GGPoker’s initiative was far greater than PokerStars. In practice, the major upshot is the same — i.e. online bans extending to live events. GGPoker’s blacklist would cover any events run by the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, Triton Poker, Asian Poker Tour, Kings Casino, and PokerGO.
The word “Council” in GGPoker’s Poker Integrity Council seems to hint at the possibility of expanding membership. If Stars and GGPoker were to join forces, the combined lists starts to look pretty comprehensive.
This kind of coordination has been much discussed recently and for PokerStars at least, that option is not entirely off the table.
“We are open to finding ways to work with other live operators, where possible,” Scott Goodall, the Commercial Director for PokerStars, said. “And with our players and ambassadors, to set an industry standard on this topic.
“Our ultimate goal is to deter those who do not have the pure love of our game at heart from sitting alongside those who do, by creating an environment that makes it impossible for malintent to exist. PokerStars has always been the reference point for offering a fair and safe game, and we will continue to ensure we keep the bar as high as possible.”
Either way, both sites have made a start on something that might well prove to be a kind of proto-global-blacklist.