A cheating incident in the poker world came to light this weekend. Top Portuguese high-stakes player Jose ‘Girah’ Macedo is the central figure in the incident.
According to a thread on Two Plus Two, Macedo built for himself a network of fellow high-stakes heads-up no-limit players. The group of peers shared strategy advice among one another via Skype. Macedo’s reputation among the group for giving strategy advice was top notch. He earned the trust of several players who allowed him to sweat their sessions and offer strategy advice. When Macedo told these players to sit heads-up on the iPoker network against ‘sauron1989′, who he reassured them was a bad player, they listened.
What these players later figured out was that Macedo was in control of the ‘sauron1989′ account. He scammed his peers out of at least $30,000 by playing them heads-up while observing their hole cards via an established remote relationship. The victims of Macedo’s scam pieced it together after noticing he was always pushing them to play ‘sauron1989′, to whom they predictably always lost to. Additionally, the victims noticed that when Macedo disconnected from Skype, ‘sauron1989′ disconnected from the tables on the iPoker network at the same time. And when Macedo revived his connection to their Skype chat, ‘sauron1989′ would reconnect at the tables.
To his credit, Macedo admits full responsibility and has promised to repay those he scammed as well as an additional compensation of $30,000. In an apology on Two Plus Two, Macedo said, “I’m holding my hands up and taking whatever consequences come. I realise the severity of this, but I also realise that I have to take responsibility for my actions and so I’m paying back everyone involved and in addition paying them compensation of $30,000.”
He continued, “I’m young, I made a mistake and I hope that this doesn’t define me; I hope that how I deal with this and move forward is the thing that does. And people will say I have no excuse and I know and understand that. I agree. I just want to let everyone know, I’m sorry. I apologise to the guys who lost their money, the people who I love and care about and I have disappointed and the guys in the poker world who have supported me for letting them down. I wish I had something to say to you all, to say to my parents and my friends and all of those who thought I could do no wrong.”
Not everyone is accepting Macedo’s apology with open arms. Two Plus Two member ‘CutchaLosses’ has this to say in response to Macedo’s apology: “WOW. 30k is not enough compensation. This is pretty terrible. I’d drop him if I was his sponsor. He only fessed up cuz he got caught he was gonna keep doing it and looking for new prey. What a fraud.”
Macedo is a sponsored pro for Lock Poker, a site on the Merge Gaming Network which the editors of PokerTips encourage our readers to avoid.
Macedo was also a paid consultant on the Brandon Adams-founded start-up site, Expert Insight. Upon learning of the cheating incident, Adams Tweeted, “I’ve been advised of the Jose Macedo thread on twoplustwo and obviously he is off Expert Insight forever.”
Adams continued, “Prob should have never had him on as I was always slightly skeptical. Never read the orig 2p2 thread, but online stars don’t just surface.”
This incident serves as a nice reminder to all online poker players to be cautious about what level of trust you extend to online acquaintances. Many poker players have formed great friendships with other online poker players, but it’s important to bear in mind that the community revolves around people trying to take each other’s money. While a vast majority of players are ethical and honest, there are those who view online poker as a chance to scam and fraud their way to riches. Allowing someone to view your hole cards in real-time, especially in a heads-up game, is a recipe for disaster, even if your history with them allows you to believe they are honest and trustworthy.