Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Sunday, October 19, 2003

It's not fair .. we don't care

Another festival at the Vic, and with my ill-gotten Jimmy White gains gathering dust on Betfair, I finally got around to backing the field instead of just going on about how the field is the value in these things. And what happens ? Marcel Luske is heads up with the one remaining fieldster, Jan Boubli. The two players agree a deal whereby all the money is split up and Boubli, the chip leader at that point, will deliberately concede enough chips to make Luske the official winner. This is the absolutely accepted version of events from all witnesses I have heard from. Luske is apparently in the running for the European rankings prize and Boubli isn't, so both players are happy.

I, however, am not especially. Now I appreciate that caveat emptor and all bets are placed at my own risk. I don't think my £10 is really the issue. The issue is that I would challenge anyone to explain to me is how the above situation is different from the following hypothetical case. Everton, in mid-table, take on Bolton, hovering above the relegation zone, in the last game of the season. Bolton pay Everton a large sum of money to throw the game, which they do. That is no different in principle to what happened in this poker tournament.

The difference in practice is simply what is considered acceptable in different sports. For example, in snooker or golf players are expected to call fouls on themselves, and many do on a regular basis. Whereas in football it is standard practice to shout "Our Ball" after launching it into Row Z with no opponent anywhere near you. Any player who went up to the referee and said "actually I handled that, it's a penalty" would be ridden out of town on a rail by an angry mob of team-mates and fans.

So what, in practice, can we do. I posted on the Mob forum (I'm not sure exactly what the Mob's connection with Betfair is but there is certainly some kind of partnership in these poker markets) and received a sympathetic but ultimately "yes but what can we do ?" response. Another poster suggested, also reasonably, that I would have to consider how likely different people are to "throw the game" when placing my bets. That's not how I want to spend my time though, so I will give it a miss in future. Given the amount of money that does change hands on these markets though, I am amazed that no dissatisfied bettors of the field or layers of Marcel are kicking up seven kinds of shit.

In the end, as I said on the forum, players with an interest in furthering poker as a legitimate sport have a responsibility to behave properly and "do the right thing". Ironically I, who have no such interest whatsoever, always try my best but that's for personal reasons. It would help if there was a legitimate players organisation to lay down standards of behaviour (among other things, not least standing up to the blatant exploitation of players by the WPT).

And we now read in the Independent that such a players organisation is being formed. At the forefront is ... Marcel Luske. At this point I rapidly fold my cards up and pass.


Post a Comment

<< Home