We’ve all watched the famous scene from the cult movie ‘Rounders’ in which Mike and Worm share a table and a bankroll against a group of state troopers, which ended pretty badly for the pair when Worm decided to cheat – but this week has seen a real-life version of the scenario with another ‘trooper’, poker vloggerTim ‘Trooper 97’ Watts, openly declaring that he regularly plays live SNG’s with a friend, sharing a bankroll and splitting winnings 50/50 – but minus the cheating according to Trooper himself.
The ‘confession’ has sparked a healthy and rather strange debate about collusion on the 2+2 forum, with views ranging from ‘what Trooper is doing is cheating’ to ‘nothing to see here, move along’, after poster ‘mrducks’ initiated a post entitled ‘Poker Vlogger Could Be Colluding STSNG's at WSOP at Rio’.
Watts, who PokerTube readers and viewers might recall from a brief and fairly unimpressive debut on the site late last year, has taken to Twitter to deny any claims of collusion, but let’s have a look at what the fuss is all about – because collusion and any other form of cheating is a serious business.
"A prominent poker vlogger named Tim Watts who goes by Trooper97 has posted a video explaining how he and his friend have been playing together at the SAME TABLE at single table sit n' go's at the Rio during the WSOP. While this in itself isn't too bad, he explains how they pool their money and divide profits 50/50 at the end of the day," stated ‘mrducks’ on 2+2.
"But it gets more worrisome. They did this for about a month a few years ago and cashed out $30K in profit. They have claimed to have done this at other places too but the worst part is that they are now in Las Vegas at the Rio playing at the WSOP single table sit n' go's…they refused to sit at different tables and waited to get sat at the same table."
Well, we’ve probably all sat at tables with friends over the years, in cash games, tournaments, even online, so what’s the big deal?
As ‘Parisron’ observes:
"Obviously 2 friends sitting together at a SNG or cash table is no big deal unless there are on the same money and do it high volume like they have done,’ adding, ‘2 people at 1 table playing on the same money for sure influences their decisions to soft play each other at the very least, and could do much worse things obviously which makes it unfair to the other players."
And this seems to be the crux of the problem – even if Trooper isn’t colluding with his friend, it looks terrible for the game as Paul Popps points out on Twitter.
"This looks really bad. Skipping tables if they both can't play. Not a good look here Trooper. The implication of collusion is bad news," with Trooper97 replying…
…although back on 2+2, ‘Art Vandelay Poker’ made the cutting remark…
"It seems pretty likely collusion is occurring if for no reason other than the fact that the Trooper supposedly made $30,000 in one month when he hasn't made $30,000 in his 3 years of Vegas cash games combined."
Although he still has over 28,000 subscribers, Watts has failed to capitalize on the huge boost in viewers he gained late last year and this collusion claim is unlikely to halt his downward trend, 2+2 poster ‘NickMPK’ writing:
"I'm pretty shocked that even someone with Trooper's low level of self-awareness wouldn't realize how he is coming across here."
This story will likely run for a while, or at least until Trooper addresses the real concerns many have about such behavior. In the meantime, you can read about collusion and many other forms of cheating here.