Forum Focus: Primetime Boatman; alleged cheater caught on camera; and bubble deals

June 16, 2021inPoker

A look around the poker forums for the week’s hot topics.

Boatman back in the prime time

Ross Boatman watches brother Barny at the tables in Galway in 2014

For a long time during poker’s boom years, the London-based quartet known as The Hendon Mob were among the most recognisable faces in the British game. All of Joe Beevers, Ram Vaswani and Barny and Ross Boatman were fixtures at all the biggest European events, and played regularly on the groundbreaking TV show of the era, Late Night Poker.

Although the Hendon Mob website remains a go-to resource for poker stats, only Barny Boatman, a double WSOP bracelet winner, is still competing at the highest level. But don’t think his brother Ross is going to allow Barny to be the only one in the spotlight. News came to light recently, picked up on Two Plus Two, that Ross Boatman is set to become one of the most familiar faces in the U.K. again — over and above anything he achieved playing poker.

Even during his years as a top player, Ross continued his career as an actor and has now been added to the cast of Eastenders, one of British television’s most enduring and popular shows. Many British newspapers covered the story that Boatman has been cast as a character called Harvey Monroe, whose first scenes will air this summer. Eastenders has been on British screens continuously since 1985 and is still watched by more than 3.5 million people, making this his biggest role to date. He is still fondly remembered in the UK for his breakout role in another popular soap of the 1980s, London’s Burning, as well as a major part in the comedy drama Mum, for which he won numerous accolades a few years ago.

Ross Boatman: From Hendon to the East End

Boatman will not be the first poker player to set foot on the set of Eastenders. Michael Greco made his name as an actor in the soap before having a decent run as a poker player in the late 2000s, including making a final table at the WSOP and at EPT Dublin in 2005.

One has to hope that Boatman will at least raise the standard of on-set poker. Eastenders has featured numerous poker games through the years, none of which you might call all that realistic.


Alleged home game cheater caught on camera

On the subject of soap operas — and amazing scenes at a poker home game — a Reddit poster named “CapnRiles” posted a video taken from under the table at his home game, titled “Indisputable proof that our friend is cheating in our home poker games. How do we take care of this scumbag cheater. He has taken thousands.

The provocative title was matched by the accompanying video which, if genuine, does indeed suggest that one of CapnRiles’ “friends” is no friend at all. It’s clearly a self-dealt game, for undisclosed stakes, but the video shows a man dropping the deck beneath the table, flicking through the cards yet to come, before shifting what one must assume is a favourable flop to the top. The video lasts only 25 seconds and we don’t see the flop dealt, nor the outcome of the hand. But the obvious insinuation is that the player is rigging the deck in his favour. Further posts claim that the player has been cleaning up in the home games, explaining away his winning streak as “getting lucky and playing well”.

A video purported to show a cheater rigging the deck

“Imagine cheating at a game with all your friends. Truly baffling,” writes a poster named “enfrozt”, in sentiments that are repeated across the board. Most posters express their disappointment that a player would exploit his friends’ good natures in such a way, but a few point out the obvious, that friendship can take second place when money is concerned.

Others state that players in any self-dealt game always need to be vigilant and that some very easy security measures can be insisted upon. “Good job catching it I suppose but why are you letting someone take the deck out of sight while playing for decent amounts of money,” asks “AAnigmuh”. “bekarsrisen” agrees: “Yeah, if the deck goes out of sight that would be the only evidence I would need.” JRclarity123 offers similar clarity: “My home game is entirely filled with close friends, but if I saw any of them take the deck off the table I would immediately kill their hand and be extremely suspect of anybody else that wins the pot.”

CapnRiles soon posted additional videos, in which the friends confront the alleged cheater with the evidence. It’s a cautionary tale for all poker players: opponents will sometimes attempt to cheat, so be on your guard.

Read the full discussion and watch the video.


All in and…others agree a deal? What?

A poster on Reddit named HippoFam described a situation in a local casino tournament that would outrage almost all sticklers for the rules on the major circuits. HippoFam said that he was on the bubble, with three tables left, in a $100 buy-in event. He moved all-in for his last eight big blinds with a suited ace-nine, and action folded to the player in the big blind, who had 13 big blinds, and who seemed interested in calling.

“While I am all-in, the rest of the players are making an agreement to pay the bubble,” HippoFam writes. “The player on the BB is waiting to see if everyone else agrees to pay the bubble before making his decision. Eventually, everyone else agrees to pay the bubble, and the BB calls with 22.”

HippoFam ended up winning the all-in, which actually gives his complaint more credibility because, yes, he wasn’t happy that the other players were allowed to make a tournament-wide decision during a hand. “I complained to the floor, arguing that players shouldn’t be able to make deals in the middle of the hand,” he wrote. “The floor just ignored my argument.”

Other posters were almost universal in their support of the original poster (“Shouldn’t happen during a hand.”; “Completely shouldn’t happen during a hand.”), and HippoFam added that of course he couldn’t join in the deal discussions himself, because “I felt that I would be giving away the strength of my hand”.

On the surface is definitely does seem like a very odd decision that the floor would allow this kind of action to take place but, as other posters pointed out, small casino poker rooms tend to exist to service their regulars, and peculiarities like this are not uncommon. Just hope you find yourself on the right side of this kind of thing if it comes up for you.

Read the full discussion.

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