Some 2+2 threads are drama-ripe from the very get-go, and pretty much anyone that read Shaun Deeb’s recent post about Sorel Mizzi allegedly bottom-dealing when playing heads-up high stakes Chinese Poker with John Racener at the PCA immediately started reaching for popcorn to watch the show.
If you want all the gory details, go read the thread. Done? Cool.
As far as what really happened, well, exactly two people know, and the odds are good that at least one was likely blitzed out of his gourd. But I can’t help shake my head at the mini-uproar it’s caused in the pokerverse.
I won’t go so far as to say it’s much ado about nothing, but seriously, this is somehow surprising to anyone? The actions of these two (whatever they were) are supposed to somehow be representative of either the high stakes community or poker players as a whole? Seriously?
Mizzi’s reputation and past less-than-sterling behavior is pretty much out there for the world to know at this point; whatever side you fall on at a certain point you have to acknowledge that where there’s a shit-ton of smoke, there’s got to be at least some fire somewhere.
Racener’s a good card player, a hell of a gum chewer, and enough of a fucking imbecile when he’s drinking to get popped three times with a DUI in less than six years. That actually takes some effort, as I know a few people with 20+ solid years of driving drunk with nary a DUI on their record.
Put these two together and what in the world do people expect to happen? If I were Mizzi I’d be tempted as hell to bottom-deal if I thought I could get away with it; put me in Racener’s shoes and I’d be paranoid as hell that Mizzi was up to some sort of shenanigans. It’s only natural that these two ended up in a Mexican stand-off on 2+2, with the poker world giggling and watching on.
I do understand the impulse at times (especially when trying to undo the legislative loggerheads that’s crimping online poker’s style in the US and other countries) to pretty up the game of poker, and portray it as an honorable endeavor of sorts where gentlemen gamblers bide by a largely wholesome code of conduct as they gently relieve the yokels and rubes of their monies.
But sometimes you just have to call it like you see it. Racener and Mizzi playing HU Chinese for $5K or $10K a pop is about as far from the world of gentleman gamblers as possible; let them roll around in the outhouse behind the saloon all they want.
Each thought they had a edge and each took a seat at the table. As far as anything that happened between them from that point forward, well, it is what it is — whatever that was.
If you’re surprised that such shenanigans might have happened, there’s not a lot of hope for you. If the idea that Mizzi or any other number of players might try to shoot an angle on Racener (or vice versa) is shocking well, again, if you didn’t sleep through the beginning of the movie that might not be such a shock.
As far as the community needing to be warned about the possibility of cheating in such situations, umm, yeah, okay. Degens gonna degen. Easy as that.