Was Guy Laliberte cheated in Online Poker?

by Jeremy Olson on August 15, 2011

Canadian billionaire and Cirque du Soleil owner Guy Laliberte has become one of the biggest high stakes poker fish while reportedly playing under the name “Esvedra.” In fact, a quick look at Laliberte’s HighStakesDB graph reveals that Esvedra has lost almost $2.69 million while trying to compete against PLO regulars at Full Tilt Poker. But poker pro Mike Matusow is one person who believes that the losses can’t all be chalked up to Laliberte being a fish.

In a TwoPlusTwo thread entitled Was Laliberte scammed by regs?, people question whether the equity chops made by regulars were legal. “kratos” starts off the discussion by posting:

Mike Matusow made claims that the regs equity chopped every all in they had with each other when Guy was at the tables.
Is this cheating?

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If you’re unfamiliar with equity chopping, this refers to people splitting pots based on the hands they hold without letting things play out. For example, if Player A held K-Qo and Player B held J-To, they would split the pot 64%-36% because these are the chances that each hand has of winning. In short, there is no showdown between those chopping the pot.

One player who takes particular offense to the equity chopping issue with Guy Laliberte was “obss” who wrote:

Splitting the cash afterwards without the knowing and consent of a third party player involved in the game is blatant cheating, technically because the extra action produces a fake perceived dynamics and the mark will ill-adjust according to a pseudo gameflow. He who doesn’t see this would better avoid playing poker unless supervised by wiser people.

Another poster named “NickMPK” posted a differing point of view on the matter by writing:

I dont see how an equity chop is any different than running it multiple times from an ethics prespective. I also dont really see how it can be collusion since the agreement doesnt affect anyone’s EV, and doesnt change the way people act on their hands, since the agreement can only happen after everyone is all-in.

People are still debating this matter at TwoPlusTwo, and there’s good arguments on both sides over whether or not Laliberte was cheated.

  • goodforpoker

    equity chopping is #goodforpoker, but not telling a mark about it is not