The Four Stupidest People in Gambling
THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2010-05-16, by Ozone, TwoGunThis week, we reflected on the five stupidest figures in gambling. Well, it was going to be five, but once we compiled these four, we determined they are in a class of their own and didn't want to muddy the list up with a relatively less-stupid fifth candidate. Without further ado, the four stupidest people in gambling!
Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet Superusers
Most poker players can only wish they had the power to see their opponents' hole cards. That dream was a reality in 2007 on Absolute Poker for a consultant who hacked their security system. Former World Champion Russ Hamilton also benefited from this "superuser" function on Ultimate Bet for a span of more than three years. What makes these figures among the stupidest people in gambling is the manner in which they exploited their unethical advantage. Rather than win money slowly and methodically, they won at a rate so alarming that members in the online gaming world were left with no choice but to assume they had hole card access. Check out the graph on this page to see just far the superuser was winning beyond what could be deemed statistically possible.
One time when playing heads-up in a large multi-table tournament on Absolute Poker, superuser 'POTRIPPER' called his opponent's all-in bet with just Ten-high. Of course, it was the correct call; his opponent bluffed all-in with Nine-high. The fact that the superuser lacked the common sense to win in a way that looked believable to everyone else was horribly stupid, but also a blessing in disguise for the poker world. Had they possessed the savvy to win in a statistically-believable manner, they might have gone on undetected indefinitely.
The King of Stupidity in the gambling world is Daniel Tzvetkoff, a 27 year old Australian who is currently facing 75 years in prison on money laundering charges. Tzvetkoff ran the payment processing company Intabill which handled hundreds of millions of dollars in funds destined for internet gambling sites. At some point while running Intabill, Tzvetkoff started to let greed get the best of him. Rather than actually forward the customer's money on to the appropriate online gaming outfit, Tzvetkoff just started pocketing the money so he could do cool things like buy a Lamborghini with the license plate 'BALLER' or a house worth $28 million.
Daniel's rise to riches was destined to be short-lived. Eventually either the law or someone with a steel pipe was going to catch up to him. Thankfully for Daniel, it was the former; he was arrested in Las Vegas last month and faces charges of laundering $500 million dollars. His arrest came just four months after he filed bankruptcy. Creditors sold his mansion for $17 million, $11 million less than he paid for it just four months prior. Daniel Tzvetkoff's stupidity is the stuff movies are made of.
The most famous poker player turned bank robber is Greg Hogan, a college student that racked up debts playing online poker. Over the course of a year, Hogan lost an estimated $7,500 playing online poker. Distraught and on tilt, Hogan (a preacher's son) decided he had to get back to even. While out with some friends to see a movie, he told them he had to get some money from the bank.
Hogan walked into a Wachovia and slipped the teller a note that he had a gun and this was a robbery (Hogan didn't have a gun, that was a bluff). The teller gave the new-found bank robber $2,871, clearing him of about 33% of his poker losses. Hogan got back into his friends car and they went on to the movie. His friends had no clue what had just happened.
The story made headlines. Critics of online poker pointed to how online gambling was ruining college students.
All things aside, some of the more critical questions were left unanswered. Does being a bad poker player have a correlation with being a terrible bank robber? I mean, seriously, you hand a note, everyone can see your face and identify you, and all you make off with is $2,871? Talk about a bet that was drawing dead.
Hogan ended up serving 22 months in state prison for his crime. There have been no major stories of college kid poker players turned terrible bank robbers since.
A couple of months ago, four masked men robbed EPT Berlin. The men escaped with about €240,000. The frightening episode was caught on camera. Luckily, no one was hurt. Unfortunately for the villains, they used poor judgement in the minutes leading up to their crime; they stopped for a bite of food at a McDonalds where all of their mugs were caught clearly on a security camera. A couple of weeks after the robbery, perhaps sensing law enforcement was closing in, a 21 year old turned himself in and gave officials the names of his three co-conspirators. Not long after, arrests were made on two 20 year olds and a 19 year old leaving all primary suspects in custody.
German police said, "the EPT Berlin robbers broke all records in stupidity." I'll bet they thought it would be so easy too. Step 1: Enter premises. Step 2: Takes teh moniez! Step 3: Live on fabulous island and be fed fruit by beautiful women for rest of life.
What actually happened was, Step 1: Go to McDonalds and record faces on security camera. Step 2: Steal €60,000 each after split (that's worth risking years in prison for, right?!) Step 3: Have your friend snitch out on you a few weeks later so he doesn't have to stay in prison as long as the rest of you. Mission complete! Good work, guys!
The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.
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