It didnt’t really bother me when Poker Spot folded, because that guy had history. And I laughed about the money Aces Poker stole, because anyone who trusted them couldn’t ever spot a cheat. The Ultimate Bet scandal wasn’t really that surprising, as we’d heard stories about him for years. And it never shocked me when they cheated me in Atlantic City, or went partners against me in Vegas, or at Foxwoods tried to do a runner with my funds. The nips, the moves, the cheats, the angle shooters, and those that were just plain thieves. For the past ten years when the stars put on their caps and badges and smiled for the TV, we used to smile to ourselves. And then we’d laugh as we’d tick off the big names in poker and say, “But he’s really just a little scumbag, isn’t he?” Because they pretty much all were. And that’s the way it’s always been.
I didn’t always think like that, of course, and neither did you. I came into poker just like yourself, wide eyed and dough faced and on the back of a little bit of luck. Full of passion for the game and a romantic view of the poker world and a desire to be accepted by the rambling gambling men who ruled. It’s natural when you have a pocketful of money and a bellyful of gamble and all the confidence in the world, it’s natural that when it comes to people you can be a little naïve. I certainly was, and so probably were you.
I’m ashamed that I have sat by in silence while you all cheated, stole, and lied. I know you, you thieving tournament directors, you scumbag poker players, you dirtbag angle shooters with your names stitched on your shirts. I know you. And I’m ashamed that I’ve sat here for twenty years and let you rule the poker world as long as I was still getting paid.
But you get wiser because you have to. My circle got small and my radar got sharp and I could count all the people that I could really trust on maybe one hand. And I told them they could trust me. And pretty much everyone else were scumbags and cheats. In poker, that’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it’s been for me, and that’s the way it is for you. And we don’t ever talk out of turn. Because in this world if you shit where you eat, then you’ll end up hungry. That’s what you need to know about poker. That’s what you need to know about me.
I’ve been around long enough so that just one more scam, cheat, or mismanagement of funds, one more of those should be just like more water off another duck’s back. But something happened to me when Full Tilt Poker collapsed. This one is different. This has laid me low. It’s not just anger I feel, it’s not just disdain, and I can’t sit here like I always do and smile to myself and point fingers and call them scum. Because what I feel more than anything else right now, is shame.