On the Case: Jason Koon Discusses GGPoker Anti-Cheating Initiative

Cheating has been quite a topic of conversation in recent months and GGPoker recently announced its new Poker Integrity Council (PIC) to help combat unethical play. The company hopes to curb collusion, multi-accounting, use of real-time assistance (RTA), and other cheating methods.

The council will now work to decide if a player cheated at the online poker site and what punishment is warranted. ​​ GG ambassador Jason Koon is heading up the council and sees it as a step in the right direction. He recently spoke with PokerScout about GG’s plans.

“For too long cheaters have been able to prosper in poker, as they were well aware that any consequences they faced would be limited to a single site or operator,” he says.

“With PIC, not only do we have a robust approach for catching cheaters backed by the collective knowledge of our voting members, but thanks to the participation of and strong support from our allies, for the first time we will be able to keep the worst cheaters out of poker entirely. This project means a lot to me and I’m truly honored to be a part of it.”

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How does GGPoker’s integrity council work?

Adding to its growing stable of talented ambassadors, GGPoker signed high stakes pro Jason Koon this week to its player ranks.
Jason Koon

Along with Koon, other members of the PIC include well-known pros Andrew Lichtenberger, Fedor Holz, Seth Davies, and Nick Petrangelo. The group will investigate suspicious behavior flagged at GG. The council’s process includes:

  • Detection – The company flags suspicious behavior such as collusion, bot play, use of RTA, or ghosting for review. RTA is a type of software offering players game theory optimal (GTO) guidance as they play a hand in real time. Most online poker operators ban this type of aide.
  • Review – Members review relevant hand histories, with the player remaining anonymous.
  • Ruling – Council members vote on any disciplinary action.

Live poker partners

GGPoker is also partnering with the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, Triton Poker, Poker After Dark, King’s Casino, and the Asian Poker Tour. Koon says the efforts to curb cheating can carry over to the live arena.

“If the PIC determines that players with repeated occurrences of cheating at live events is grounds for investigation, they may be subject to review/investigation,” he says.

Some players may be wondering if there will be any kind of appeals process beyond the council. Koon says that’s not in the plans because of the thoroughness involved with and needed in the process.

“While there will not be any formal process for players to appeal PIC’s decisions,”he says, “actions will only be taken against players when the council is absolutely certain that foul play has occurred.”

Rooting out unethical behavior

This is the industry’s first major effort to find and punish those believed to be cheating. Some major names like Bryn Kenney and Ali Imsirovic were accused of cheating in recent months.

Koon can’t comment on if the council will review any of these specific players. He doesn’t rule it out however.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on any specific individuals,” he says. “However, our first council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 1, and the main topic of discussion will be to review and deliberate on the historically most egregious cheaters.”

GG won’t necessarily make banned players known to the public. However, GG will share names of those the council rules against with live tours and operators teaming up with the company in the anti-cheating effort.

“Our goal with PIC is to keep the poker streets clean,” Koon says. “We are not in the business of ‘outing’ or publicly shaming players. The list of blacklisted players will only be shared on a need-to-know basis, for example with our allies.”

Koo also notes that the company is hoping other online poker operators join in with the campaign as well.

“We want PIC to be a truly industry-wide initiative,” he says, “and we are all for other online operators to get on board.”

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