New pro player ban at PokerStars

High profile professional Internet poker players, who should know better, continue to break the multi accounting rule at major online poker websites like PokerStars, Full Tilt and PartyPoker. Some of these role models are perhaps tempted by the significant amount of hard cash available in games on the Internet, and knowingly take the risk - but the embarrassing publicity of a ban often follows.

According to the poker information site AintLuck.com this week, the latest to be caught out in this form of cheating at PokerStars.com is the successful and high profile young pro Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi who has been fortunate to have the six months exclusion originally handed to him for multi accounting reduced to three months after an appeal to the PokerStars management.

Mizzi should definitely know better - he was banned in an embarrassingly public incident at Full Tilt Poker last year for playing on another player's account in a major tournament.

On this occasion, Mizzi said he was playing in an important online tournament when he ran out of time and had to make a dash for the airport. Rather than abandon the game he asked a friend to continue playing for him. Details of how PokerStars caught on to the ruse are not available, but it illustrates the dangers of trying to pull a fast one on the world's biggest online poker website.

With the aid of Friend Google, a quick look back shows that multi accounting bans have been handed out to several top online players.

One of the most notorious involved Mizzi (again) and took place at Full Tilt Poker around this time a year back. Player "BluffMagCV", who subsequently turned out to be a poker writer, made some remarkable wins at the Sunday Millions tourneys at FT, repeating the success as "SlippyJacks" the following week at PokerStars. Quite an achievement. Until player "Kongsgaard" stepped forward with the news that the FT tourney had been awarded to him following a disqualification. It later transpired that Mizzi had been playing for "BluffMagCV" on the promise of a share in the significant winnings.

The PartyPoker case against "JJ Prodigy" aka Josh Field was the subject of extensive publicity. At 16 years old, he was caught by PartyPoker as a multi accounting cheater, initially attracting attention by boasting on IMs to friends after winning a $140 000 plus first prize in a $500 000 guaranteed event. Unfortunately for "JJ" his friends took up the boast on poker forums and other players realised that the winner of the tourney had actually been one "ABlackCar" - "JJ" had actually busted out early. Hoist by his own petard, JJ was busted in another, and even more unpleasant way, by the PP management. And he was stripped of his prize, together with $40 000 in another account.

Field also ran afoul of PokerStars when, already banned, he apparently opened new accounts, funding the accounts via accomplices and the PS transfer facility. When this was discovered, PokerStars threw the book at this multi-accounter, along with his "friends" and bans were handed out all round, precluding Field from participating in at least one major and lucrative tournament. For reasons best known to himself, "JJ" exacerbated the issue by publicly apologising....admitting that he had continued to multi-account after the ban!

Both PokerStars and Full Tilt multi-accounting bans were handed to Nick "gbmantis" Niergarth after the discovery of a sophisticated cheating scandal involving other players including JJProdigy. Niergarth played in the biggest tournaments on both sites regularly and was caught using the accounts of "friends" to play, taking over late in tournaments after he had already been eliminated.

Full Tilt pro and CardRunners instructor Brian Townsend was caught multi-accounting in some of the biggest online poker games online. Playing 25-50 Pot Limit Omaha all the way up to 200-400 Pot Limit Omaha, Townsend, who is respected as a formidable cash game player and uses the online screen name "sbrugby", created a second account as "Stellarnebula" under another 'handle' to disguise his identity from opposing players. He was accused of doing the same at PokerStars using the screen name "Makersmark66."

British pro Mark Telscher made the multi-accounting headlines in the widely publicised "TheV0id" affair, which cost him a huge prize purse when PokerStars stripped him of a WCOOP first prize worth $1.2 million - one of the biggest in online history. A successful and experienced player, Telscher set up "TheV0id" account in the name of his sister Natalie. He was then found to have used the account to play after he had himself been eliminated. The duo initially kicked up a huge fuss but PokerStars prevailed.

Then 20-year-old Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo was accused by both Party Poker and Pokerstars of multi-accounting and suffered a ban and the confiscation of some $100 000 from his accounts. Reports suggest that he brought suspicion on himself by boasting on a poker forum about his discovery of a PartyPoker software flaw that allowed a player to rapidly click on the Party Poker icon and open up new sessions. Each new Party Poker session could be logged in with a different account, and this is what he was accused of doing, using up to 6 accounts in the same multi-table tournament. It transpired that he had multiple accounts and was entering multi-table tournaments at both Party Poker and Poker Stars.

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