Mason Malmuth Takes the North Korea Approach to Censorship

1 year ago
Mason Malmuth Takes the North Korea Approach to Censorship
15:02
08 Jan

When Daniel Negreanu described Mason Malmuth’s 2+2 forum as ‘taking a North Korean-like approach’ five years ago to censoring what posters are allowed to discuss on the most popular poker forum on the internet, it sounded like overkill – but as your writer has just found out after receiving his own 1 week suspension, the poker publishing magnate is still suppressing voices he doesn’t like!


While Negreanu was banned for, according to 2+2, “Starts spam thread, deleted, and warned. Makes promotional posts in 2nd thread. Deleted. Spams vblog in 2 threads = Tempbanned,” yours truly – a much-lesser light in the poker world in every way – was kicked off the forum for seven days for taking issue with being described as someone who ‘enjoys controversy and hurting people’ and desperate to get my name ‘out there’!

Malmuth, not for the first time and likely not for the last, deleted his own post accusing your writer of ‘digging for dirt’ – after deleting an entire thread of 100+ posts discussing this week’s big news that ‘JNandez’ had parted company with Upswing Poker - a thread which may have reflected badly on both, but in which both posted personally about their dispute.

The forum, an integral part of the TwoPlusTwo Publishing house which statistician and poker player Malmuth himself created, has long been the go-to place for discussions on everything from selling action to rules and regulation in the poker world, sharing and discussing hand histories – as well as the infamous 2+2 News, Views and Gossip (NVG) forum which regularly sees the ‘banhammer’ wielded.



Victims of the ‘banhammer’

Stories abound on the web of Malmuth striking anyone who disagrees with him off the forum – and off the historical record by deleting not only posts he disagrees with but his own posts pulling people up for alleged bad behaviour – leaving forum users none the wiser as to why threads and information have suddenly disappeared.

Matthew Flynn, co-author of the book Professional No-Limit Hold’em back at the height of the poker boom a decade ago, fell foul of ‘Mason’s Law’ in 2007, posting on the DeucesCracked forum: 

"Hey all Mason banned me from 2+2. I was banned for asking that he not ban my 2+2 account after we separated from 2+2. Yes it is that silly."

He’s not alone – a year later ESPN poker journalist Gary Wise befell the same fate, according to him because he allowed the infamous ‘Dan Druff’ (a long time enemy of Malmuth) to participate in a poker think tank. Malmuth, however, again used the catch-all of stating that Wise was ‘self-promoting’ on the 2+2 site.

I don’t have space to include every such instance here, but a quick google of Malmuth+2plus2+ban’ will keep you busy reading for a long, long time!


Mason’s forum, Mason’s rules

This sounds entirely reasonable – it’s Malmuth’s privately-run company forum so he can do what he pleases. However, when there is no consistency in his wielding of power, on a forum which is the biggest on the net for poker players and fans, there is also a responsibility to treat people fairly.

In the recent Polk/JNandez case, Polk himself answered your writer’s question:

"So, did you ask for the thread or exchanges to be deleted Doug?" with the reply "I did not ask for the prior thread to be locked, deleted, or otherwise altered."

It was Malmuth’s decision to delete the thread, and he supported it with the following:

"First i’m a lot older than most of our posters and other participants here and have much experience dealing successfully with many individuals as well as business entities. One thing that i’ve learned over the years is that when situations sometimes quickly develop people will say things that at the very least aren’t well thought out, and they do this as a way to release pressure. (You see this all the time at the poker table.) So I made a decision to delete the thread to allow all parties some time to better prepare their thoughts."


I’d love to share the later exchanges involving Mason and myself with you – but as stated earlier, Malmuth has deleted those too – a revisionist approach, or if you prefer… ‘a North Korean-like approach’.

So, it wasn’t said, it didn’t happen, and I can disappear until Malmuth says I can return – if ever. Big name pros, poker journalists and everyday poker Joe’s mean I am in good company at least. Thanks Mason!


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

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