Like it or not, as long as somebody has the buy-in money, they’re eligible to play in the WSOP. So no matter how douchey, annoying or scammerish they are, anybody can step into the Rio and compete for bracelets.
But is it time for a change in regard to banning certain players? Daniel Negreanu recently pondered this since he’s heard rumors that some villainous and unloved poker figures could be playing in the 2015 WSOP.
Through a CardPlayer post, Negreanu discussed a variety of cheaters, bad businessmen and those whom he’s loathed for years. Interestingly enough, Annie Duke, who’s drawn the ire of KidPoker since they first crossed paths in Vegas, was cleared to play, despite the guaranteed $1 million freeroll fiasco during her reign as Epic Poker League Commissioner.
Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson are also okay to play in Negreanu’s eyes. This is an interesting notion because, unlike Duke, where there’s probably no chance in hell that she’ll play the 2015 WSOP, there are actually rumors that Lederer and Ferguson might show up. And it’s hard to understand Negreanu’s logic on why Ferguson specifically should be allowed in, given that he “completely disappeared” following Black Friday. Like avoiding the mess that you directly helped create, and encouraging players to keep depositing on your corrupt poker site, is somehow less-morally reprehensible than cheating in poker.
This leads me to the next point, in that known cheaters Russ Hamilton and Mansour Matloubi are the only players whom Negreanu thinks should be banned from the 2015 WSOP. They both used God mode poker accounts, giving them the ability to see other players’ hole cards, which is pretty much the lowest of the low in poker. So if you’re going to ban anybody, yes, these two deserve it first.
Also, it is easy to see a distinction between what Hamilton/Matloubi and Ferguson/Lederer did since the latter two are mainly guilty of gross negligence regarding the management of Full Tilt. Furthermore, they also aren’t candidates to cheat in poker, unlike Matloubi and Hamilton (rumored to cheat live too). But on the same token, if you’re going to issue WSOP bans for morally corrupt poker figures, there should be some non-cheater exceptions for guys like Ferguson and Lederer.