Some of the famous pros who used to frequent the high stakes tables on Full Tilt have begun to make their way back onto the site, bringing back the “Red Pros.” “Red Pros” are called such because if they’re playing at a table, that table will be highlighted in red in the lobby so us regular folks can see where they are.
For those who are unaware, Full Tilt was purchased by Poker Stars about a year ago, and has re-launched the site under its same name. You can transfer balances between Poker Stars and Full Tilt for easy access to either site as well. Neither site is open to the American public, but they still hold the large share of worldwide players.
Let’s get back to the topic at hand – the pros. I’ve been seeing many of the big names once again hit the felt at Full Tilt. This is obviously a good thing for online poker, as playing against these pros was once one of the biggest attractions of Full Tilt: being able to see the names we knew from TV, and battle it out with them at nosebleed stakes (super high stakes, for those new to the term), was terrific for the game in general.
However, after reading a story about Patrick Antonius, I began to wonder just how often these pros are catered to. I’m sure not as much as they once were, but I imagine still to a good extent. For example, consider how many screen names Antonius has had at Full Tilt. Early in his poker career he used “I_Knockout_U,” “try_hrdr_fish” and “–ANTONIOUS–”. Having 3 screen names is bad enough, but when you add in his other names, “CryMeRiver9” and “Finndagrind,” we now have 5 screen names used by him on one site.
He now only uses his actual name since he’s a “Red Pro” but his screen names are widely known and no one really cares about it. If this was myself or any other regular player at a site, we would have been banned a long time ago. Using two – or more! – screen names is enough grounds for removal of almost every site.
Now, I’ve been in this game for a while and know how the system works. I’ll admit that in the early days of online poker, I would use multiple screen names to get more bonuses from a site. Once I would clear a deposit bonus, I would simply create a new account and do the same thing. I never used it to cheat at the tables and don’t condone what I did, either. Unfortunately, it’s a common practice in the world of online poker – which is why the companies don’t like it.
Some kids play before they’re 18 and use the names of parents or siblings who are of age. Once they reach a point where they can legally play, they will change the name to their own so they can make withdrawals. Again, this is not justified, but it happens.
The difference between what I just described and what Antonius has done are two completely different scenarios. For one, everyone knows about his multiple names, including Full Tilt. And when I or others would use different accounts to get bonuses, it was almost always only once. Here we have 6 different names used by one person at the same site.
If this type of information is readily available for all to see, yet no one says anything about it, it’s a guarantee that it’s being done by almost all of the pros. There have been plenty of rumors circling the air that many of the high stakes pros share accounts or use other names to play fish when they spot a juicy game.
What I’m trying to get at here is that something should be done about double standards like this for the pros. I understand that the pros want to be able to be anonymous online, but why should online be any different from a casino, where they’d be recognized? And if someone’s a real fish, they won’t know who you are or they’ll be so cocky they’ll misjudge your game. This just looks bad for online poker, and for those who try to push the sport into the mainstream take a step back when these incidents occur. It’s no wonder we have yet to see legislation in the United States. This is just a minor issue, as are many others, but when you have a lot of minor issues they add up to a big one.