The second year of the PokerGO Tour is in its second half. After the World Series of Poker marked the halfway point of the year and the 2022 PGT, there were some high rollers at the Aria, travels to the Seminole in Florida, and then Cyprus for the Triton Mediterranean Poker Party. That brought the tour’s action back to Las Vegas for the Stairway to Millions.
Interestingly, two regulars on the PokerGO Tour – Ali Imsirovic and Jake Schindler – did not play.
Even more interesting, the two did not play the Poker Masters series at Aria, which started this week. Considering both players were in the top five of the PokerGO Tour leaderboard standings for most of the first half of 2022, their absence at the high-profile Poker Masters series was all the more notable.
Poker Oracle @berkey11 made the prediction yesterday on @SolveForWhyTV #OnlyFriends podcast.#MattSplained pic.twitter.com/CLzkli9Htj
— Karen Kessler AKA: The Chop Saw (@thekarenkessler) September 23, 2022
It couldn’t have been that Imsirovic and Schindler suddenly felt shame for their alleged cheating.
After very public discussions, especially about Imsirovic, in April and May, both players still showed up to the 2022 WSOP and played multiple events. Schindler even won a bracelet. No matter the verbal invectives from other players at the tables or the live reporting updates labeling them as alleged cheaters, they played as if they did not care.
Official PGT Ban
After the speculation at the start of the Poker Masters, PokerGO released a statement about the missing players. The PGT suspended the two players indefinitely, at least through the current season.
Many poker pros, especially in the high-stakes community and with insider knowledge of the banned players’ actions, celebrated the news. While the poker community at large has yet to see overwhelming evidence of cheating, there were some specifics.
Alex Foxen pointed out some video evidence from a high-stakes poker series earlier in 2022. He showed on the livestream that Imsirovic peeked at a fellow player’s hole cards. And when people called him out on the internet for it, he wore dark glasses to the tournament the next day.
Ali is known as a cheater to almost all in the high roller community, however without much ironclad proof, most stay silent. After watching this hand on the SHRB live stream, enough is enough.
— Alex Foxen (@WAFoxen) April 18, 2022
Since sites like GGPoker will not confirm the names of banned players, proving anything other than what players saw on the video proved impossible.
But despite those allegations and a rallying of many in the poker community to call out their unethical behaviors, Imsirovic and Schindler kept showing up for tournaments. It was rumored that PokerStars turned them away from the EPT Monte Carlo, but PokerStars wouldn’t confirm. And partypoker stated that it would ban players from live events who had been banned online, though they provided no names.
So, the two players showed up at the WSOP. However, they did not travel to Cyprus for the recent Triton Super High Roller Series. And their absence from the Poker Masters was the most obvious indication of a ban.
PokerGO did confirm and became the first entity to name banned players.
Not a Surprise
At the WSOP this summer, GGPoker took the opportunity to host a press conference to announce the launch of the Poker Integrity Council. GGPoker Ambassadors Jason Koon and Fedor Holz were a part of the committee, and they were joined by LearnWPT instructor Andrew Lichtenberger and Seth Davies from Run It Once.
They planned to work with the groups represented by the PIC members but also King’s Casino, Triton Poker, Asian Poker Tour (APT), RunGood Poker Series (RGPS), and PokerGO.
Oddly enough, the first action announced publicly from the group a few weeks later was that some players on GGPoker were able to apply to be reinstated after a ban “to start over with a clean slate.” However, those involved in the most “severe” cases of cheating, such as using RTA and bots or multi-accounting, would not be considered for reinstatement.
Triton certainly did hold up its part of the initial agreement, as there was no sign of Imsirovic or Schindler at the recent Cyprus events. Bryn Kenney was not there, either, but it is unclear if that was his choice or a decision by Triton. Triton did not issue a statement about any bans.
This is a big step forward. Bans are one thing, but transparency about those bans takes it to another level. This alerts others that the poker sites or tour operators had a good reason to ban certain players. They would not likely do so based on rumors and speculation.
Hit the road LIVEsimrovic and Jakey SWINDLER. Need to be on the lookout as these rodents will try play online everywhere as well. https://t.co/8hYvTRaRxn
— Kahle Burns (@ROFLshove) September 23, 2022