Dutch Boyd recently released a self-published tell-all memoir that I’m actually quite interested in reading, but to be frank I really don’t want to give a nickel to the polarizing Dutch, and I’m torn over whether or not I should purchase this book.
*UPDATE: I’ve read Dutch’s book and you can find my thoughts on it here: Dutch Boyd’s Poker Tilt Is a Story That Needed to Be Told*
For those of you unfamiliar with Dutch beyond what we’ve seen on the ESPN cameras, or who only know him through the current enigmatic, broke, and misunderstood persona he has crafted, let me give you a bit of his back-story, which will explain why the book should be a pretty good read (if it’s factual), but also why I’m not too keen on buying it.
ESPN cameras find Dutch
Russ “Dutch” Boyd became a bit of star in the poker world during the early stages of the Poker Boom thanks to his deep run in the 2003 WSOP Main Event which he then parlayed into even more coverage the following year when he showed up to the WSOP with “The Crew” ready to take over the poker world.
At the time there weren’t too many wunderkinds at the WSOP, and Dutch seemed to fit the role beautifully, which led the ESPN cameras directly to the cocky twenty-something who presented them with an interesting tale to tell.
More than meets the eye
But for people like me, who were already immersed in the poker world prior to 2003 Dutch was already a known commodity. You see, Dutch was Ray Bitar before there was a Ray Bitar; just on a much smaller scale.
Dutch started an online poker room back in 2000 called PokerSpot which was the first online poker site to offer tournaments. The tournament aspect of PokerSpot made the site pretty popular (popular for 2001 online poker anyway) and while you’d think Dutch and his investors would be rolling in money they ran into the same kind of problems that still plague unlicensed online poker rooms to this day: Payment processing.
With players waiting and waiting for their cashouts Dutch cooked up a number of excuses, never explaining to his patrons the real issue until it was too late. By April of 2001 PokerSpot had gone belly-up and some $400,000 was still owed to players.
Dutch continues to make excuses and try to justify PokerSpot to this day, but luckily for him this happened before the Poker Boom so many people remain blissfully unaware of what occurred.
Here is how one of the most popular poker outlets of the time, rec.gambling.poker forums, viewed Dutch’s 2003 WSOP run.
2+2 cyber squatting case
PokerSpot wasn’t Dutch’s only controversy.
More recently he has been involved in a cyber squatting lawsuit brought against him by twoplustwo.com after Dutch registered the domain name twoplustwopoker.com.
Despite Dutch’s protestations that the site never made money and he never intended to infringe on the 2+2 brand, the Internet wayback machine paints a bit of a different picture, showing the site was 10 pages of links and other content.
Here are the details of the case: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/29/news-views-gossip/boyd-lawsuit-statement-660963/
While he escaped Howard Lederer level persecution due to PokerSpot happening during the “Dark Ages” of online poker, this time around he escaped because 2+2 owner Mason Malmuth is a very polarizing figure in poker in his own right.
Had it been anyone but Mason and 2+2 that Dutch pulled this against he would have come under far more fire from the poker community. I’ve been very critical of Mason Malmuth and 2+2 in the past (sometimes justifiably and sometimes I’ve just gone off halfcocked and have wrongly persecuted them) but there is little doubt when it comes to Dutch’s intentions here, as his former company’s name (JackNames.com) implies.
Personal opinions of Dutch
Personally I’ve always found Dutch Boyd to be a bit of a snake oil salesman, with an excuse or justification for every misstep he has made, and only turning up when he’s about to throw a pity party –whether being diagnosed as bipolar, being broke and unable to get a minimum wage job, or why it took a year longer than he stated to get his book to market, after people invested thousands of dollars in his book project on Kickstarter.
I’ve also always suspected that Dutch and company’s tournament ability during the first few years of the Poker Boom could have something to do with his access to PokerSpot’s hand histories, which gave him the chance to sift through the strategies of winning players –this is pure speculation on my part, but it could explain why “The Crew” was so successful early on but then fizzled out.
With Dutch it always seems like one excuse after another and when I can no longer distinguish between a person’s lies, misleading comments, and the truth I tend to write them off as untrustworthy.
So, as much as I’d like to read Dutch’s story, perhaps there is some honesty and acceptance of his actions contained within its pages, I simply do not want to reward someone who has still not taking responsibility for their past sins.
Had Dutch said, “I screwed up big time,” I would have bought this in a second, but every interview I have seen, and every podcast appearance is just full of misdirection and justification.
If I do end up reading Dutch’s book I will review it and let you know if I think you should buy it.
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