Your phone rings. It's late. You've been battling through the Sunday Million for hours and hours now. You are numb, as you are now 26 people away from taking down the biggest score of your life. A score that could pay off your mortgage and take care of all your credit card debts.
The phone rings again. Your hands are shaking. The extreme rush of possibly making $200k in one night is mingling with a feeling of panic. What happens if you get sucked out on? Instead of $200k, you'll only make $1000?
The phone rings a third time. You decided five minutes ago that you were going to use a service that was recommended by one of your friends. This "service" is made up by five of the best and brightest online poker minds in the business. You fired off a quick email and the phone was ringing within two minutes.
You pick up the phone.
"Is this Dave?" the voice on the other end of the line says.
"You want to sell your spot in the Million to us? Based on your chip stack, we can offer $18,000 for your spot."
You hesitate. $200,000 is a lot of money, but it's not guaranteed. $18,000 guaranteed sounds pretty good right now, especially considering the fact that you just saw someone get their money all-in preflop with pocket Aces and get eliminated from the tournament.
"Ok. $18,000 sounds good. How does this work?"
The tournament goes to a break. The voice on the other end of the phone sounds young. He speaks.
"I am going to coach you through the rest of this tournament. When your hands are dealt, you'll read the cards off to me, suits included. I'll tell you exactly what to do. If you decide to ignore me or try to screw me, you and your friend will both be black-listed from our service. If the account wins more than $18,000 in the Million, you will leave $18,000 of the score in your account and transfer the rest to us. If the account wins less than $18,000, we will transfer you the remaining amount immediately."
The tournament break is about to finish.
"Sounds good. It's a deal." You immediately feel hours and hours of built-up stress leave your body.
For the next two hours, you read off your hands over the phone to this mysterious figure, and he tells you exactly what to do. How much to bet, how much to raise, when to fold.
He plays an insanely aggressive game, you think. Constantly re-raising pre-flop with nothing. It seems to be working though, as before you know it, "your" account in the Sunday Millions is all of a sudden chipleader at the final table.
Another hour goes by, and "your" account takes down the Sunday Millions for a cool $204k. It really wasn't even close; the voice on the other end of the phone completely destroyed the competition. He doesn't even have a hint of jubilation in his voice as he gives you the transfer instructions. Over the course of the next few hours, large sums of money are transferred from your account to accounts of some of the most recognizable names in online poker.
"Pleasure doing business with you," the voice says. "Call us again when you are deep in a major tournament."
You hang up the phone and check your account balance. $18,745.38. Not bad for a day's work.
Instant messages have gathered on your computer from friends who were watching the final table. The typical message reads:
"Wow! Congratulations! When did you get so good? You killed that final table!"
The voice on the other end of the line belonged to one of the best young poker players in the game. So young in fact that he can't even play in Vegas yet.
That hasn't stopped him from destroying the games online though. He built up enough of a bankroll to buy himself a really nice house with a view looking out onto the beach. It's central, and has enough room for four of the people that he has "mentored" to live with him. The five of them combined have accounted for millions of dollars in online poker wins.
In the house, there is a "war room." The war room has a full set-up. There are all sorts of desktop computers and laptop computers. The cool thing about the war room is that each computer has its own IP address. None of the computer share an IP address; the owner of the house has spared no expense in getting every different Internet provider possible to set up a connection in his house. Each person has their own set of computers, and no one is allowed to play on anyone else's computer.
The room is fully set up with leather reclining chairs, plasma TV screens and a fully stock fridge. However, this room is a place of business; the five spend a combined 60 hours per day in this room. Each of the five has two dedicated phone lines, plus a cell phone in case things get really busy.
This group of five, let's call them "The Five", operate in different ways.
1. They play under their own accounts in all of the major tournaments.
2. Because they all have multiple computers with different IP addresses, they also use seldom-used accounts purchased from friends or acquaintances on a short-term basis. They will enter these accounts into the same tournaments. Because the accounts are using different IP addresses, they are undetectable by poker room security teams. They do person to person transfers into the dummy account and out of the dummy account after each big win. They will only use the account for a couple of months to avoid detection.
3. They have a word of mouth service in which they "purchase" seats of playing who are deep in major events. This involves strictly coaching over the phone or by instant message. This means that they can have technically played three accounts in one tournament (their original account, the dummy account, and the coached account).
4. They will also back and mentor other players that they feel are talented. All told, they have a pool of about twenty young poker players, all of which are making money on a consistent basis by tearing up various levels of poker tournaments.
All in all, it's a very profitable venture. If you include all of the accounts that they have controlled, the five players have won an absolute ton of money online. They are young, rich and loving it.
There is just too much money on the line to stop. Besides, what are the poker rooms going to do, sue them? What proof would they have? The "Five" are switching up their IP addresses every month, and constantly using new dummy accounts. As long as you aren't stupid enough to enter the same IP address twice in the same tournament, and as long as you aren't blatantly colluding, what proof do they really have? It's not against the law to coach someone or transfer money to someone. Right?
What's to stop this hypothetical scenario from taking place? Is it already taking place (here's your answer: it is. Maybe not at this level yet, but all of the elements of this scenario are currently taking place)
We aren't condoning this; not in the least bit. We want online poker to be as clean as possible.
How do we stop this type of activity? In our eyes, there is pretty much only one way; halting player to player transfers. If you do that, you are putting a stop to many of the shady activities that currently take place in online poker rooms.
Until then, have fun playing at that final table. Or you playing against that random donk with barely any experience based on thepokerdb.com information, or are you playing against one of the best poker players in the game?
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