Has the Isildur1 Party Really Ended?

by Lou on December 23, 2009

The party’s over—or is it?
Isildur1, the enigmatic Swede known only by his screen name has been busted or is close to it, and Tom “durrrr” Dwan has retreated to lower stakes to build up his bankroll.

Cole South took the last of Isildur1’s bankroll, though Brian Hastings took the lion’s share of Isildur1’s loot with a $4 million overnight win that we reported on earlier.
But even for the winners, all is not as rosy as it might have been.

Writing for ESPN.com, Gary Wise reported Hastings mentioning that he, Brian Townsend (pictured left), and Cole South shared individual hand histories from play against Isildur1 in order to bone up on his tendencies and gain an edge. In his interview with Gary Wise, Hastings said “we’ve done quite a bit of studying of his habits … The three of us discussed a ton of hands and the reports that Brian made, so I’m very thankful to him and to Cole as well.”
Sharing a hand history database violated Full Tilt Poker’s terms of service, which state: “The use of shared hand histories provides detailed information on opponents a player has little or no personal experience playing against, and is deemed to be an unfair advantage. Violating this policy is subject to the maximum penalties for prohibited software use. Players are not permitted to use the hand histories for hands that they have not personally participated in. Software designed to collect hand history information from games that the player did not participate in is prohibited.”

On his blog, Brian Townsend admitted to merging 20,000 hands he played against Isildur1 with 30,000 “acquired” hands, which he then analyzed and discussed with Hastings and South.
None of the $4 million that Isildur1 lost was been returned, and whether it will be returned to him eventually, is unknown at this time.

This is admittedly a difficult area for sites to police, since there’s no real way to determine if shared data is pooled and collectively studied without an admission on the part of participants. Chess players have “seconds” who accompany them to major events and spend time between matches going over positions, strategies, and likely play of opponents. It’s not considered unethical in the chess world.

Should it be considered an ethical meltdown in poker? I forsee lots of discussion about this in the coming months, and I can’t offer any prediction on how it will all turn out. Maybe Full Tilt will have to change its rules on sharing data, especially if it is a term of service that’s unenforceable in the absence of collaborator admitting a violation.

This has yet to play out to its conclusion … so we’ll just have to see how it all winds up.

{ 1 comment }

Poker Businessman December 25, 2009 at 1:58 am

More than ever in the history of poker, we will see more and more one hit wonders that is the "next big thing" only to disappear into anonymity in a short period of time. This has happened throughout poker's long history but it will be even more rampant now.

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