Earlier this week, Cirque du Soleil owner and high stakes poker player Guy Laliberte told Le Journal De Montreal that he was essentially cheated at Full Tilt Poker.
Although the French-to-English translation is a little choppy, Laliberte alleges that famous pros were borrowing an endless supply of money from Full Tilt. Combining this unlimited bankroll with their skill edge, the unnamed online poker players (reportedly Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan, Gus Hansen, David Benyamine and others) were able to beat Laliberte out of an estimated $26 million. Here’s a translated look at what Guy told the Journal:
“I should have remembered that I am a dinosaur compared to this [internet].”
“The story of Full Tilt is clear: I got scammed, squarely, by people I knew personally who used unfillted bank, paying no money.
“By dint of” All in “all the time, when it’s not your own money, and they printed money to play against me, and they put two, three …; I was stupid. “
A TwoPlusTwo thread quickly opened up on the matter and it already contains a sizable number of posts. First off, nobody knows exactly what to make of Laliberte’s statements because A) they are a little vague, and B) most 2p2 users speak English and are only getting the google-translated version. But the general debate here revolves around whether or not playing with an unlimited bankroll is considered cheating, at least when the whale in question doesn’t know about it.
Another point of contention is whether certain FTP players were equity chopping behind Laliberte’s back. Assuming he didn’t truly know about this, then one could definitely make a case that secret equity chops would be cheating. Here’s a good point from “iosys” on page 2 of the TwoPlusTwo thread:
If we are not talking heads up matches but fill ring tables where multiple people shove in a hand (all in) with him being in that pot and everyone sharing equity. He got ripped off and that is morally wrong to be doing that to someone. He is definitely not a sucker for having that happen to him and I can see why he would be mad, even if the money doesn’t matter to him.
Reverting back to the unlimited bankroll topic, many TwoPlusTwo posters have gone back and forth about this one. Some believe that Laliberte would’ve lost anyways since he was competing against the best. So if they were merely borrowing fake money from FTP, it doesn’t matter because they still won. Some have even likened it to the Andy Beal situation, where he took on “The Corporation,” a group of elite pros who pooled their bankroll to play at stakes as high as $50k/$100k.
But the difference here was that Beal knew full well what he was up against. Laliberte, on the other hand, likely had no knowledge that he was competing against players with a near-infinite bankroll. That said, he probably thought that his massive reserves of money was one of his advantages, just like Beal did several years earlier.
It’s hard to say for sure where the moral line lies in Laliberte’s games against some of poker’s best. Moreover, we should also consider that maybe not everything Laliberte assumes is the truth, and he could’ve simply been beaten by better players.