Isildur1 Was NOT Cheated
So now there is a controversy brewing regarding Isildur1's losses to Brian Hastings. Hastings told Gary Wise of ESPN.com that âObviously I'm happy and I'll take it, but Brian [Townsend] did a ton of work. The three of us discussed a ton of hands and the reports that Brian made, so I'm very thankful to him and to Cole as well."
Apparently Hastings received 30,000 hands to go with a database of 20,000 hands that he already had on Isildur1. Apparently, this is against Full Tilt's Terms of Service and as a result Hastings has had his red pro status suspended for a month. He had also discussed the hands with Brian Townsend and Cole South to develop strategy against Isildur1
Several sites have spun off from this and now Hastings and now some people are going as far as to call them cheaters. I don't get this. I personally think that this is a total non-issue. I've been commenting on a couple of sites today and my take is that what the three did is no different than many other players do for live poker. If there is information out there on a particular player and someone knows that they are going to play them, they are going to use it.
For example, in 2004, Annie Duke watched video of the 2004 WSOP on ESPN to pick up a tell on Greg Raymer. She admitted as much in her book after winning the title. She said that the tell she picked up helped her to make a big laydown. After reading this, did Greg go out and say "Annie should give me part of the winning because it isn't fair." No, he probably went and looked at the tapes to see what the tell was.
In the case of Isildur1, Tony G, owner of PokerNews.com, posted the following on his blog:
"The bad part of it all is that there appears to be no answer to help Isildur1. A Red Pro getting a penalty doesnât change the matter of his poker losses and the fact that he was at a disadvantage with all of it. I believe he can come back because he is a young kid and lots of talent. It has to be a huge learning tool for him."
Of course there is no answer to help Isildur1. Why should there be? If you go into Bobby's Room and play against Ivey and the rest and later on Doyle and Ivey discuss my play, is that cheating? No. When a player goes into a poker room, they are at the mercy of the other players skills and their ability to gather information on them. If someone is around enough, players are going to talk. And face it, there are friends, teams, etc in poker. It is part of the game.
If they want to suspend Hastings for admitting that he data mined, fine. However, don't accuse him of cheating. He took advantage of the information available to him and developed a strategy to beat Isildur1. If Cole South or Brian Townsend had sat with Hastings while he played or they played his account, that would have been a different matter. That is not what happened.
Online poker is very different than live poker and there is much more information out there. People can learn a lot about your play in a very short amount of time and without you knowing who they are. It is a fact. If you cannot deal with that reality, then go back to playing live poker.