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Sunday, May 28, 2006 

The ACF5000 Incident

I was really excited about working the ACF5000 NLHE tournament yesterday, because i know that it was going to be one awesome game. I barely even slept because of the party from friday night, going to bed at 6am and waking up at 9am to go to the ACF and prepare for the tournament. Not surprisingly, by the time the game started, we had 88 players and a P440,000 pot up for grabs, plus a sterling silver bracelet for the winner! That alone says a lot about the growth of the poker community and the reputation of the tournament organizers (ehem..), since P6,000 isnt exactly a cheap buy-in. But the people came and the fat pot was built, guaranteeing another great day of poker action.

About 30 seconds going into the game, a record was made! The fastest bust out in RP poker history was made, with two players going heads up with J-J against a well hidden A-A on a flop of 5-5-6! Sorry Blake, but that's poker! By dinner break, we had more than half the field busted out too, even with the slow structure, there was a lot of big hands and big action. I observed a lot of great plays by several poker veterans and big hands banging against each other, and i probably saw more pocket aces in one day than i have ever seen in my life!

Special mention to Jardine of the JG game who finished in 6th place taking home P26,000, crawling back from a tiny stack to build a more than 100K stack going into the final table! Also to Marco of the PBT, who had a rollercoaster ride going into the final table and finsihing in 7th place for i think P22,000+. George, last week's champion, also made a great run for a repeat championship, but ended up in 4th place for a P44,000 finish.Congratulations guys, well done and great game! Great Job to Tournament Director Emi Mungcal and the PAGCOR staff for another excellent tournament!

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The article above was what i was expecting to write as i watched the tournament unfold yesterday, making mental notes of great plays and players who had an excellent showing in the game. But sadly, something scarred the face of this tournament and left a bad taste in everyones' mouths.

Ok, now down to the REAL topic of this article. Cheating, collusion, signaling, soft-playing, and disgusting poker behavior by several certain individuals who made it to the final table and cheated their way to a 1st and 2nd place finish, robbing everyone else who played honest and straightforward poker.

About halfway going into the game, i was observing a particular table where a couple of my poker buddies were playing. Several players then went up to me and compained about some explicit collusion going on in their table between a certain group of noisy, obnoxious players with no table etiquette or respect for other players. They said they check down strong hands and signal each other with nudges and eye contact whenever they were in a hand together. I told them that we will try to observe them and see what we can do about it, but that it is really hard to prove collusion unless it is done blatantly, or caught in the act.

The final table came, and two of these players were still in the game. I knew these players were soft-playing, but the first real incident i saw was when this Louie kid who was playing obnoxiously all night, screaming obscenities and slamming cards at the table whenver he was in a showdown, got involved in a hand with his friend Ron.
After calling pre-flop, the flop came A-K-9. Louie bets 20,000, which Ron hesitanly calls, making several gestures before finally doing so. The turn came Ace, and Louie smiles and checks, which Ron also checks. The river was a blank, and which was then checked down again. Louie then shows a K-x hand, and Ron shows his A-9, for the Full House Aces over nines. Huh?
...The turn came Ace, and Louie smiles and checks, which Ron also checks. The river was a blank,and which was then checked down again. Louie then shows a K-x hand,and Ron shows his A-9,for the Full House Aces over nines. Huh?




What the fuck was that? And they did this all smiles, and if they weren't sitting across the table from each other, i'm sure they would have given each other high fives. Jardine even asked Ron, "why did you do that?" to which he just smiled and shrugged. Maybe they are just that ignorant that they didnt know they were actually CHEATING? Nick and i saw this, and i could see the disgust in his face. So i went up to Emi, the excellent TD of the tournament, and told him about it. I said that these guys have already been complained about early in the game, and he was clearly disturbed by it, and then said that we should observe it more closely.

As the game went on and people were busting out, the Louie kid managed to build a monster stack bigger than every other chip stack combined, mostly because of several bad beats against then chip leader Jardine. The guy was hitting running full houses with 10-7 for chrissakes! It was then that he got involved in another hand with Ron. Pre-flop, Louie looked at his hand then looked directly at Ron, and proceeded to WHISTLE while giving a "dont call im gonna make a move" look! Ron still called, but then Louie raised it big and then again looked intensely at Ron, shaking his head. Another person then called, and Ron folded his pocket sixes. Louie then proceeded to win the hand and bust someone out with a runner-runner straight.

As this was happening, Emi and i looked at each other and i could see the look on his face, a look of disgust and anger. He wanted to approach them in the middle of the hand but i advised him to wait until the hand is ended. After the hand, he asked louie to stand up and pulled him aside. Ron then asks, "why? what's happening?" and i told him that they were caught signaling, which he then vehemently denied.

Yeah right dude, what do you think we are, stupid?

So the night ended unclimactically with the two of them winning 1st and 2nd place(after a great chip dump from Louie to short stacked Ron calling All-in with 6-4 off)
and taking home a combined 220,000, which they chopped. Louie even declared that he "would have chopped it even if Ron had only 100 in chips." Sadly, the great event had to end like that, with the cheaters getting away with the money. It was summed up rather harshly by one of the PAGCOR officials who were watching the final table by saying "walang kwentang tournament to...", which sadly had some truth in it.

But, the important thing is, their sorry asses are never going to set foot in any Poker tournament hosted by our group, or even Marco's PBT crew. They just destroyed their non-existent reputation and screwed themselves in the ass for P200,000. I hope it was worth it for them.

I hope that everyone learns a lesson from what happened last night, and thinks twice about cheating other players of their hard earned money. Maybe these punks get away with it in their small home games, but a 440,000 pot is not a joking matter anymore.
Let's all be vigilant about this style of play, and protect each other from these kinds of players.

To the Louie Kid who won it, wear your bracelet proud. It's your first and last one. Good Luck with your home games, it's the only place you guys will be playing from now on.

Mav, great job on the article. True nuff, and nuff said. Next time we get medieval about it. Too bad we have too much faith in the community to expect it. While my hopes have been dashed, I'm glad they've been exposed.

Great job on the tourney bro...

Mav, lets POST here the FULL names of these morons - gusto nilang sumikat eh do pasikatin natin sila. We dont want some other Louie or Ron be mistaken as cheaters.

post mobshots narin dude.

hahaha DAPAT DI NILA NAKUHA YUNG PERA... HASSLE YUN....

Thanks nick, madali lang naman mag-out ng players eh hehe. Just standing for about 8 hours was the grueling part.lol.

masyado din tayo mabait paminsan eh, it's in our filipino culture to be non-confrontational at times.

it would have been hard to disualify them outright coz you can easily deny (well, at least in soft-playing) the allegations, but yes, the signaling was too much. Emi was clearly inscenced, and he's such a nice guy. let them have the 200K, at least everyone knows that their souls are worth that much to them.

i dunno their last names, but i guess marco A. will take care of that in his blog, he was the one who got their names for purposes of banning them from PBT events.

I dont think they realized the gravity of their offense. It was as good as being caught signaling or colluding in the ring games, and the ACF does not tolerate such behavior.

I wont be surprised if they are banned from the casino outright.

another thing, not all of them can be banned because just two were caught in the act in the final table. If im not mistaken, there was around 4 of them.

well, it's official. Those people are banned from ALL CASINOS from now on.

that's a lesson to all cheaters.

great job to the ACF for making the decision.

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  • The best poker I've ever played has always entailed peace. A relaxed comfort. Eyes open, ears open, radar up. Absorbing my opponent's every message. Taking them as they come. Not mixing what those messages are with what I want them to be. It's like an aerial view. A view from above the myriad luck-dependent reactions of those many people who never gain such a peace. And when you gain that view, that peace - when you'd rather have the truth, no matter how disappointing, over a false hope, no matter how desirable - then you're a player. The hand you're on slips into a stream of thousands of other hands, no one of which, because of your lofty view, seems unduly important, no false fearful emotions rise within you. When you gain the peace of lofty perspective, you're a player, and when you're a player, you're free.- from "King of a Small World" by Rick Benett
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