The Poker Ethicist: PokerStars Acquires Full Tilt Poker

As “The Poker Philosopher”, and in honor of one of my favorite non-poker blogs, I occasionally consider the ethical dimensions of a high-profile controversy or occurrence in the poker community. This is the first in a series of posts about the major players in the recent Poker Stars – Full Tilt Poker – Department of Justice settlement. Older editions of The Poker Ethicist are available in the archives. Q: As you’ve probably heard by now, the Department of Justice recently approved a settlement in which PokerStars will buy the remaining assets of Full Tilt Poker, pay a fine to the DOJ, restore … Read more…

A Different Approach to Men in the Ladies’ WSOP Event

Last year, I addressed the ethics of a women-only event at the WSOP. In classic Thinking Poker fashion, I wrote a long, formalistic, and in some cases legalistic argument in defense of the event and, at least implicitly, critical of the men who insist on playing: Segregation is reprehensible when it carries with it a “badge of inferiority” or assigns privileges and opportunities to people based on factors beyond their control. This is not the case here, where men have 50+ other WSOP events, including numerous other $1000 buy-in events, to play. Significantly, every single one of these is a … Read more…

Immaturity

I was glued to the recent Girah/Jungleman/DogisHead scandal(there are a few threads on the subject but this is the most recent). I read every interview and every statement from the “suspects” within minutes of its release. I’ll admit that I do enjoy a good scandal, but what was really fascinating about this one was what it revealed about this very strange world of sometimes socially stunted young people who have grown suddenly wealthy by excelling at a few very specific skills. There is no denying their intelligence, and yet they can be naive and downright dumb in so many ways. … Read more…

The Poker Ethicist: WSOP Ladies’ Event

As “The Poker Philosopher”, and in honor of one of my favorite non-poker blogs, I occasionally consider the ethical dimensions of a high-profile controversy in the poker community. Today, I consider the WSOP Ladies’ Event, which began yesterday and is scheduled to conclude tomorrow. Older editions of The Poker Ethicist are available in the archives. Once again this year, a handful of men have entered the WSOP Ladies’ Event, citing a belief that a women-only event is discriminatory and a Nevada Gaming Commission policy that prevents the WSOP from actually excluding, rather than just discouraging, male players. Critics of these … Read more…

The Poker Ethicist: Playing With Stolen Money

As “The Poker Philosopher”, and in honor of one of my favorite non-poker blogs, I occasionally consider the ethical dimensions of a high-profile controversy in the poker community. Today, I consider a lawsuit brought on behalf of Ponzi scheme victims against players who allegedly won the fraudulently obtained money from the thief in a high-stakes poker game. Older editions of The Poker Ethicist are available in the archives. CNN reports that, “Celebrities who won big money in secret high-stakes poker games at Beverly Hills luxury hotels were paid with funds stolen from investors who had been lured into an illegal … Read more…

The Poker Ethicist: Income Tax

As “The Poker Philosopher”, and in honor of one of my favorite non-poker blogs, I occasionally consider the ethical dimensions of a high-profile controversy in the poker community. Today, in honor of the US’ April 15th deadline for filing, I address the underreporting of income, which many poker players are tempted to do when they win money on sites based overseas. Older editions of The Poker Ethicist are available in the archives. It surprises me how openly otherwise honest poker players discuss their tax evasion. It is not at all uncommon to see thinly veiled references to money laundering or … Read more…

The Ethics of HUDs: Follow-Up

In response to my recent The Poker Ethicist: HUDs post, Piefarmer left an interesting comment that got me thinking about a few more of the ethical dimensions surrounding HUDs and other technology that helps people play better poker: Technology always pushes the boundaries, especially ethical boundaries. The primary way to think about these boundaries, I think, is the way Andrew presented them: Does everyone have the same understanding of what is allowed, and the same opportunity to use technologies which are allowed? If so, no ethical problem. I think the conditions that he identifies are spot-on, and I want to … Read more…

The Poker Ethicist: Heads-Up Displays

As “The Poker Philosopher”, and in honor of one of my favorite non-poker blogs, I occasionally consider the ethical dimensions of a high-profile controversy in the poker community. In this edition, I address a long-standing controversy in the online poker world, in response to a question about Heads-Up Displays (HUD’s) posed in a recent comment. Older editions of The Poker Ethicist are available in the archives. In response to a recent post I made about using a HUD, commenter “Elmer Fudd” asked, “I would like you to comment on the ethics of using a HUD in the first place. It … Read more…