ACR Boss Phil Nagy And Joe Ingram Bury The Hatchet In Battle Against The Bots

1 year ago
ACR Boss Phil Nagy And Joe Ingram Bury The Hatchet In Battle Against The Bots
30 Apr

Americas Cardroom boss Phil Nagy walked straight into the lions den this evening, a much-anticipated interview with podcast guru and long-time critic of the site Joey Ingram

Nagy has been doing the poker ‘talk show circuit’ this past couple of weeks on the back of ACR’s ground-breaking anti-bot reimbursement policy

…and although the ACR TwitchTV streamers’ podcasts were an important part of getting the message across to the site’s faithful, addressing concerns from further afield meant that a clear-the-air chat with Ingram was always likely to be a necessity at some point…regardless of the outcome!

Ingram, once the mellowest interviewer in the poker world who was often accused of sitting on the fence when it came to poker’s most important issues, has undergone a transformation in the past year or so.

Nagy, the man who took ACR from a small skin to the biggest US-facing poker room there is, has also changed his approach in recent times, which made tonight’s face-off all the more interesting.

Ingram kicked off in typical fashion, asking:

“Why did you decide to come on the podcast man?”

Chicago Joey, of course, had been pretty brutal in his condemnation of Nagy’s approach to cheating and bots last year and the pair weren’t exactly on friendly terms after it.

“Maybe it was midlife crisis, maybe not”, Phil started, explaining he got stuck in his ‘life bubble’ – but was now looking at things in a different way.

‘Superusers’ aren’t possible on ACR

Nagy admitted he “should have stepped up right away”, but Ingram’s “superuser” comment had incensed the ACR CEO.

“You can call me a lot of things…an idiot…but don’t call me a thief!” was the basis of Phil’s annoyance.

Ingram fought his corner too, of course, and as a very experienced online PLO player his mistrust of bots and possible bots has to be taken seriously, but Nagy was insistent that a superuser account simply isn’t possible.

“I’d shut the site down if I thought something like that was possible,” said Nagy – revealing that he received death threats following Ingram’s videos last year aimed against ACR.

“I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m also not the devil”, he claimed, later adding: “I’m not UB or AP” (Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker, the two massive scandals back in the noughties.)

Bots and PLO bots and…

On the hugely important subject of bots, which Nagy has targeted recently with great gusto, he explained at one point:

I wanted to ban all of Latvia!” before adding: “Geo-targeting a bunch of people…who don’t have a lot of other options” isn’t a simple or always correct step. “We get them on WhatsApp and ask them to spin around the room to show there’s nobody else there…tell them we’re going to play a Jackpot game and I’m going to ask you a few questions about hand ranges”.

Refunds and reimbursements

Paying some refunds out of his own pocket, the ACR head honcho stated:

“Now I have a reason to get good at security”, describing catching bots earlier as “…a win for me.”

With Phil claiming to have “refunded over $100,000 from those $0.05/0.10 bots”, it was pretty clear that the money involved was far from chump change – and that in itself meant a sustainable approach was needed, hence the $25k cap ACR introduced. 

For those expecting a bitch-fight, they would be seriously disappointed.

The popular podcaster was insistent that certain questions be answered, and Nagy complied; Ingram offered his supposed opponent opportunities to answer things in his own way. It was, unexpectedly, turning out to be a very productive exchange.

In fact, Ingram even forced Nagy to listen to praise of his site, being told: “Never have I heard from a player ‘I did not get paid by Americas Cardroom’“, and bigging up the ACR marketing and tournament series’, singling out the creativity of the Venom and Cage tournaments.

Bots and more bots and refunds and regulations and software and the how and how much questions surrounding catching and banning cheats were all discussed – close to 3 hours of detailed chat, with only occasional disagreements.

Mostly, however, the pair were singing from the same hymn sheet – and an offer of working together to solve the infernal bot problem – and much more besides. More power to the pair - poker certainly needs them!

Articles 1963

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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