Annie Duke , mede oprichtster en bedenker van de Epic Poker League, geeft in een interview met "Bluff" tekst en uitleg over de voorlopige schorsing van Chino Rheem.


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“Obviously I would prefer that everything be a smooth process and that we’d never have to test the Standards and Conduct committee,” said Duke,” but I did actually welcome the opportunity to see whether the policies that we had set up in advance would work. This committee was formed back in February thinking about these kinds of issues, and I think that the process really worked like its supposed to. I think it was a big step in professionalizing poker.”

The process Duke is discussing was the series of events, from the start of the Main Event of the first Epic Poker League tournament through the week after the tournament, that led to Rheem being placed on probation.

“The first thing that I want to make clear is that no process would have ever happened in the case of Chino had there not been at least one formal complaint filed,” said Duke. “Those complaints were filed well before the conclusion of the tournament, so another thing that needs to be made very clear is that this process would have happened regardless of whether he won or not because these complaints were coming in as early as Day 1 of the tournament.”

The complaints in question came from players that Rheem allegedly owed money to. While these debts were accrued prior to his participation in the league, the fact that he still has financial obligations to both league members and others in the poker community was a serious enough issue that it was taken to the Standards and Conduct committee.

“In this particular case, there were complaints from both league members and non-league members,” said Duke. “In any case where they were sent directly to me, I forwarded it to Stephen Martin, the chair of the Standards and Conduct committee, because I’m actually not the appropriate person to file a complaint with. I pointed them in his direction without really saying much myself, because its not my place to, as I don’t chair that committee.”

Martin, a former federal prosecutor, is the Chair of the committee, which also includes tournament director Matt Savage. Rounding out the group are seven card-holding league members: Joe Hachem, Andy Bloch, Chad Brown, Eric Baldwin, Nick Schulman, Michael McDonald, and Alec Torelli. They are able to operate outside of the scope of Duke’s power.

“I am not a voting member of the committee,” said Duke. “There are definitely a lot of meetings that I am in, because a lot of what the meetings involve are me presenting things for approval, things like rule changes, tournament structures, and the original code of conduct. But I don’t have voting power and they have final say, so they have the ability to overrule me. In the case of a process like what happened with Chino, when there’s an actual hearing, I don’t sit in on it. I don’t vote on the outcome, mainly because if there was an appeal, that appeal would come directly to me.”

“I stay out of that process and let Standards and Conduct decide the outcome,” said Duke, “and I’m sent the results afterward in the form of minutes. This is the process we had in place in anticipation of the fact that we would be applying these rules and standards in this way.”

In this case, Rheem was issued probation, despite the fact that the conduct policy states that conduct that occurred prior to the league’s formation would not affect the eligibility of a league member.

“I think that in this particular case, while his debts were incurred before league formation, those debts are ongoing,” said Duke, “so that’s why the committee stepped in with probation. I think that his behavior after winning the money was actually very helpful to him in terms of how the committee ending up handling it, because he did pay out every single dime that he won. He should certainly be commended for making that choice, as not everybody would have; I think some people would have kept something for themselves. He had expressed to me, certainly, that he absolutely has a commitment going forward to make sure that he is honoring his financial obligations, and that this was very, very important to him individually. I think that he has absolutely behaved in that manor, in terms of the winnings that he received.”

One of the biggest questions in this scenario has been how the committee will be able to keep track of Rheem’s ongoing financial obligations, and whether or not he will be able to fulfill them.

“I think it’s really simple,” said Duke. “In the statement we released, it says that he does have to provide the chair with a list of what his debts are, so the chair of the committee will know what’s going on. Beyond that, if he’s not honoring those obligations, one would assume that the committee will get complaints about it and they will be heard, so that’s an easy process to monitor. The people who are affected by it, one would assume, would communicate with us, as they did during Event 1.”

Thus far it seems as if Rheem has done everything right since beginning of his participation in the league, and that his conduct in terms of the league’s policies has been satisfactory.

“I think you have to take that into account that going forward from the point of league formation that here’s a guy that’s going to honor the code of conduct,” said Duke. “He is willingly submitting to the disciplinary policy, and certainly has behaved in the manor of someone who is looking to honor his financial obligations going forward. Chino was made aware of the process early on, and he has been extremely cooperative and extremely understanding throughout.”


vindt je het interview.

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