Daniel - Poker Journal
My Take on the JJProdigy Kid27 Jan 2008
Michael Jackson was on 60 Minutes a while back, it's actually a bit that Chris Rock makes fun of. Ed Bradley throws up some real softball questions to Jackson, stuff like, "Michael, do you think it's Ok for a 45 year old man to sleep in the same bed as young children?" Michael goes... "YES!"
After listening to an episode of PokerRoad.com that's the first thing that came to my mind when they had this kid on there who's been caught playing multiple accounts, and once being caught... just did it even more. No remorse whatsoever, no genuine I'm sorry, just basically a, "Screw y'all I'm blackballed anyway so I might as well stay gangsta'."
I was really disappointed with the show, as Poker Road is probably the one, most unbiased opportunity for a site to be completely honest about poker issues and not have to sugar coat things. They normally are excellent in that area, but I think they really dropped the ball in this interview and let this kid off the hook by being, way, way, too nice.
Let me start by saying this: I don't know the kid. He may grow up some day and be an upstanding citizen, but he SHOULD have a lot of work to do in order to earn any kind of acceptance in the poker world. His ban at both FTP and PokerStars are totally just.
You see, this isn't a kid who got caught cheating, realized it was wrong, apologized, and then turned a new leaf. No, this kid went balls to the wall and did it even more. He said that in the interview. To be capable of that, you couldn't possibly care about "doing the right thing." You couldn't possibly have legitimate remorse for what you did.
Again, I don't know the kid, but my instincts just from listening to him actually speak about the issue is that he is a liar that still has no idea what he is going to do about what he's done.
Bart Hanson was asking him questions like, "So was it cooler to win with an account in your name or an undisclosed name?" He'd start questions with, "I don't mean to put you on the spot, but.." Why not? Why not put him on the spot, that's exactly what you should be doing Bart! I felt like they tiptoed around this kid like he was some poor, innocent victim.
Questions should have been more direct, a la, "What is wrong with you? You cheat, get caught, give the poker world a lame apology, only to go right back at it and keep cheating? Why should anyone believe you are suddenly reformed? Why should live poker events even allow you to play?" Those are tougher questions posed in such a way that isn't all mushy. The tone from all of the guys was just way too apologetic to this kid.
I'm not going to slam the boys at Poker Road anymore. I like the show and think it's great for poker, just being objective here when I say that I wish they would have manned up a little bit in this case.
At the end of this interview, this kid essentially ADMITS that he can't make any promises that he won't cheat again..next month! He has a lifetime ban from FTP and PokerStars but flat out said that he can't promise he won't be playing there in a month or two? Are you kidding me? This guy needs to hire Michael Irvin's PR agent.
Comparing this kid to Justin Bonomo is akin to comparing apples and oranges. Justin was also caught some time ago. Since then, he actually made a very genuine apology, understands now that what he did wasn't cool, and has been accepted by the poker community as a stand up guy. He has a completely clean slate with me.
Bart called JJProdigy a "stand up guy" for coming on the show and I was like, huh? Man, so if OJ came on your show and said I probably killed her, but I don't think I'm going to be doing that sort of thing anymore... would he be considered a stand up guy too?
Gavin said in the end that he had nothing to gain by being on the show, that's completely false! He could have, instead of sounding like he didn't really care all that much, instead of trying to justify why he cheated more, he could have been genuinely remorseful and apologized in a way that's even remotely believable. If you truly aren't remorseful, though, I guess that's difficult.
Truth is, you listen to that interview and you are left thinking, "This kid only feels bad because he got caught." TWICE!!!
As I said, I don't know him. All I have to go on are his written words and his appearance on that show. Based on those things, I can be left with no other opinion then this kid is a liar, a cheater, and that his behavior is very unlikely to change.
I don't even know the kid, so I don't hate the kid at all. I have no real personal feelings about him one way or the other, but c'mon, kid needs to realize that he's not going to get off Scot free with interviews like that.
It is a real shame that the poker world hasn't advanced enough so that we can keep a kid like that from playing in live events. It's a shame that we can't keep him from playing online. It's a shame that there are no concrete penalties for what he did.
Anyway, bored in my hotel room in Munich. Doing a show here in a few hours then flying to Dartmund for the EPT event there this week.