Tuesday, August 15, 2006

WSOP Cheating, Part 2

More from Richard Brodie....

Business as usual? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the degree to which many in the poker community consider the 2.2 million extra chips found at the WSOP main event “business as usual.” Cheating has been around since before poker and apparently many have learned to live with it, the skillful making money in spite of it and the losers losing anyway. There’s the possibility the chips were added through incompetence rather than dishonesty, and there’s still a tiny chance the reports of the final chip total are simply wrong. I wasn’t there. But notwithstanding all this, there are some tough questions for Harrah’s, questions which ought to be asked by the Nevada Gaming Control Board:

- Harrah’s decided to use the same chips in the main event as they used in previous tournaments, including super satellites. Were the chips counted at the conclusion of each event? - If not, why not? If so, how many chips were missing after each event?
- If they did discover missing chips, was there any effort to use the video surveillance to catch the cheaters?
- Were there official chip counts done at any point in the main event? If not, why not? If so, what was the result? What was the discrepancy between each official count?
- Were the same precautions taken to guard and log the movements of the house bank of tournament chip as are taken with casino chips of similar value? If not, why not?
- How many dead stacks were blinded off through errors during day one? What is the list of names of people who were allowed to play on a different day but had stacks being blinded off on another day? Why were so many errors possible?
- Were there stacks being blinded off for players who had been given refunds? If so, why?

The current explanation by a Harrah’s spokesman, that the extra chips were a result of rounding up during chip races, has been proved impossible both by me and by Jerrod Ankenman, co-author (with two-bracelet winner Bill Chen) of the forthcoming book The Mathematics of Poker. I don’t know if a complaint has yet been lodged by any of the final 27 players, who seem to be the most hurt by the cheating or incompetence. The chip counts reported by poker journalists are full of errors but it seems to me that most of the chips were added during the play from 27 players to the final nine. That should all be on videotape.I’m looking forward to some answers and, more importantly, to some major reforms in the integrity of these large tournaments.


Dan M said...

Todd, great post. I thought you actually wrote it. Ask Sommer how to use a "blockquote" to prevent Richard Brodie from thinking Jayson Blair has returned.

Tiny B said...


The first sentence of the post gives credit to Richard Brodie. I'm pretty sure you are the only one who thinks I wrote it.