How Dewey Tomko Sold Out the Poker Community


***EDIT: Dewey Tomko was not a part of the this group’s efforts and his name was used without his permission. Dewey IS NOT against online gambling. More details here.***

Doesn’t Dewey Tomko know better?

Dewey Tomko and Bill Byers / Poker pros: Test gambling sites for cheating

It was one thing when a no-name poker player (Bill Byers) was willing to sign on to James Thackston’s “I can prove collusion is possible in online poker” argument, but it’s another thing entirely for a Poker Hall of Famer and fairly well-respected player Dewey Tomko to sign his name on the dotted line of this abomination masquerading as legitimate research.

This is precisely what Dewey Tomko has done by joining forces with James Thackston. He has given this study some measure of credibility (at least in the eyes of laypeople), which is incredibly sad because Dewey has been around the game long enough to know better.

He knows the collusion Thackston is proposing is easily detectable and simply doesn’t happen on any measurable scale, and he also knows that real collusion in poker is more of a nuisance than a problem.

Collusion is REAL!

There, I said it.

Let’s get something out of the way right out of the gate: Yes, there is collusion in online poker just like there is collusion in live poker games. The idea that poker is a game full of gentleman and the online poker sites have some kind of impenetrable defense system to weed out cheaters is as laughable as Thackston’s money laundering collusion theory –which I put somewhere between Bigfoot and Ancient Astronaut Theorists on the believability scale.

Here is the rub; collusion is real but it’s not a problem. It’s not worth cheating in low limit games because collusion simply doesn’t guarantee you are going to win, especially when performed by amateur/bad players. Furthermore, experienced high-stakes players know what collusion looks like; Thackston would have us believe that high-stakes poker players would fall victim to collusion in the same way this guy fell victim to a carnival barker.

The type of collusion he is alleging is easily detectable, and shows his utter ignorance when it comes to collusion –Russ Georgiev is likely rolling over in his grave right now at the amateur-hour theories of Thackston and company.

Real collusion, high-level, virtually undetectable collusion, is extremely sophisticated, but it also leaves a very light fingerprint. The colluders aren’t looking to stack the other players, as that will get them caught by either the victims or the online site where every hand is recorded for posterity, and if you’re a good player why would you risk being caught and having your money confiscated and being banned from the site just to add a small amount to your win rate?

I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s not a widespread issue, or even a significant issue.

No, what high level collusion does is add incremental margins to the players’ win rates. They are not a grocery clerk stealing $20 bills from the till; they are stealing a dollar here and a dollar there; amounts that do not get noticed.

Eventually some of these players push the limits and get caught, or get ratted out, so justice is served in the end. And their impact on the game is minimal. That being said, even when they are somehow discovered, the crime is virtually impossible to prove.

Why banning poker helps cheaters

Remember when we went to war with Iraq, and one of the reasons was the country was sympathetic to terrorists, but our presence actually brought terrorists to Iraq en masse?

Well that is what an online poker ban would do.

Not only would it give colluders a far more fertile ground to operate in, but it would have the following unintended consequence.

An online poker ban would allow unlicensed sites to thrive, and then we could see another cheating scandal like what occurred at Absolute Poker or Ultimate Bet. The fear of soft collusion as a reason to call for a ban of online gambling opens the door for real, significant crimes.

Dewey Tomko knows better, but apparently Dewey wants to stamp out inconsequential collusion (which would only get worse in an unregulated market) so that multi-million dollar cheating scandals can occur.

Way to look out for your fellow poker players Dewey.

Let’s just ban everything

Poker, specifically online poker, is as safe as it can be. Just like airbags, speed limits, and seatbelts can’t prevent every automobile fatality, the detection methods and regulations in place at the online poker tables can’t prevent every instance of collusion.

However, I don’t hear James Thackston or any other Sheldon Adelson talking head calling for a ban on automobiles.

Using their logic, obviously the technology just isn’t there to keep people from dying behind the wheel, and just think about how easy it is for a child to swipe their parent’s car keys and drive illegally!

Well, since it cannot be prevented it should be prohibited. That is the Adelson stance on online gambling, and that is what Dewey Tomko is advocating for by attaching his name to anything this group does.


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