Clonie Gowan sues Full Tilt Poker

For some reason, I enjoy legal disputes in the poker world.  There hasn’t been anything exciting since the Gold-Leyser debacle a while back.  Now I have a new legal interest.  Clonie Gowan (or Cycalonia Gowan as it turns out) has sued Full Tilt and pretty much all the associated Tilters for failure to pay her sponsorship monies.

You can read the complaint for yourself, it isn’t hard to follow.  I’ll summarize the key bits for you:

  • She outlines a new player to me in the Tilt corporate tangle.  Previous lawsuits have identified Kolyma as a related company to Full Tilt and most everyone knows about TiltWare, but this is the first time I’ve seen Pocket Kings listed as a Full Tilt corporation.  They appear to be the Irish company connected to the enterprise.  Google conforms that they openly recruit for Tilt employees, so I am probably just the last to know.
  • She asserts that not only the original Team Full Tilt, but newer members like Patrik Antonius and Gus Hansen are “directors and shareholder/members of the companies.”  I had assumed that ownership only really accrued to the original gang.
  • She asserts that she was offered 1% ownership in Tilt at the outset.
  • She says that she never received any compensation for wearing Tilt gear, wasn’t paid winning at Tilt sponsored events (except one!), wasn’t paid for print, web and billboard advertisements and wasn’t paid to play for them in tourneys
  • She says no one at Tilt got money until May 2007, when everyone but her started to roll in the dough.
  • Apparently Tilt disputed the ownership claim, because they refused to pay her a percentage but in November 2007, Lederer offered $250,000 to pay her for services in the past.
  • She thinks Tilt is worth $4 billion
  • She filed the lawsuit after she was told she was being fired from Team Full Tilt

The list of things she didn’t get paid for conspicuously does not include television advertisements, which suggests that she was paid for those.

It seems to me that her claim on companies formed recently, like Pocket Kings is pretty tenuous.  She asserts that she was specifically promised 1% of Tiltware and FTP.  It would be fairly easy for Lederer, et al to move money around and make Tiltware and FTP as profitable or unprofitable as they like.

There will probably be a pitched battle by some defendants to dispute jurisdiction.  If someone like Antonius doesn’t actually own shares in FTP, they will probably file motions to escape this mess.  When Tilt/Kolyma were sued before for patent infringement, it was a mess, although they did eventually settle.

On his forum, Daniel Negreanu started with his opinion that Clonie “has gone absolutely ding bat crazy and is making things up.”  He says quite confidently that they would never offer her 1%.  I suspect that this means that people he knows well (say, Mike Matusow, for instance) don’t get 1% and therefore he doesn’t think she ever would.  Later he gets nasty.

There is also a 2+2 NVG thread about it.  It has the usual assortment of good analysis and moronic posts common to NVG.  An interesting tidbit is that Ed Bolivia posts that he knows of a number of people who were offered 1% stakes to buy back in the day.  So it does appear that 1% stakes were going around.

As with the Leyser Gold case, there will be answers to the complaints and then we will probably see a quiet period as they conduct discovery.  Most of that takes place out of the eye of the courtroom, so we won’t see a lot of filings until that is done.  At that point, it will either settle or we’ll usually get some good dirt in the form of a motion for summary judgment.  They will cite evidence gathered in discover and lay out most of their theory of the case at that point.

Unaccountably, the notable blog Pokerati has started linking to me, so I thought I’d give them a shout-out.  They are a particularly well-written summary of the latest news in the poker world and unlike me, they post all the time.


Darus bustout hand

The discussion of the hand where Darus busted on 2+2 is putting me on serious tilt.  Our hero was on the Button and the action folded around to Scott Montgomery who raised on the CO to 1.5 million.  The blinds and antes are worth another million and Darus has a stack of 8.5 million (or about 16 big blinds).

There are several important factors at work here and the least of them is the actua hand that Darus holds.  One is that 16 BBs is a perfect resteal shove size.  He can not call 1.5 million here (like 18% of his stack) and no raise is reasonable other than all-in.  So we can start with the understanding that he is in push/fold territory here.

The next factor is to assess Scott’s opening range.  In the opinion of our group, Scott would open a very wide collection of hands here.  I would guess it was nearly 40% of his hands and I’d bet anything it is more than 20% of his hands.  This is a huge factor in favor of a resteal.  In fact, with Chino gone I’d say that Scott was by far the loosest opener at the table.  With Darus on the button, Scott assumes that even if he gets called by the blinds, he can play with position.  His range might be wider than 40%, in fact.

The final factor is what image Darus has and accordingly, what range Scott will call a push with.  I’m going to guess that Scott will call somewhere in the neighborhood of TT+/AQ+.  Darus is the tightest player at the table and Darus has yet to resteal shove once against Scott.  He has to give this move tremendous respect.  This means he will call with a bit less than 5% or so of his hands.  If the 20% open range is right, he will fold to the shove 75% of the time.  If the 40% open range is right, he will fold 88% of his hands.

Given the huge fold equity and the chance to add 2.5 million to his stack of 8.5 million, Darus should really be shoving something very close to any two cards here.  As it turns out, he found A8 and shoved it.  In truth, he would much rather have JTs here since it holds up sp much better when he is called, but he can’t be choosy in this spot.

In my mind, it was a perfectly standard play and the exact right thing for a player with his image to do here.  Most of the time, Scott folds, you never see the hand and you assume Darus had some huge hand and his image is unscathed and he can return to waiting for the next spot.  It was a perfect example of where a guy like Darus gets to use his nitty image — it just didn’t work out this time.


A few predictions on the final table

Here are a few things I deduced from the simulations we did.  We did one with exactly the current table layout, in fact.

1)  Dennis Phillips will either get lucky and accumulate a ton of chips or get in big trouble in a hurry with his combined tendencies to open limp and call down light.  I’m cheating a bit because I know he already did lose a pot like this, but we really did see this as a big problem with his game.  In fact, we thought it such an obvious leak that in some of our sims we corrected for it and stopped having him open-limp.

2)  Demidov with a big stack will go into hard core pot control mode.  I will be very surprised if he makes a big bet post-flop without a really big hand.

3)  Chino Rheem and Scott Montgomery will tangle in a big way and either Chino will be crippled or he will double and take control of the table.

4)  Darus will be more active than people generally expect.  He’ll find good spots to 3 bet and to raise and take the blinds.  His bets will get a lot of respect.  If he gets in trouble it will be when Chino and either Demidov and Eastgate both call him.

5)  Schwartz has a good spot at this table and he has been working with JohnnyBax (he is another PokerXFactor guy).  I think he is in good position.

6)  Kelly Kim will not play a great short stack and he’ll get called when he shoves.  He needs to get lucky a couple of times to avoid being the first out.

7)  The low-mid stacks of Schwartz, Montgomery, Chino, CraigMarq and (to a lesser extent, Darus) are prone to have a knock out confrontation.  If I had to bet, I’d go for the tangle described in #2.

I haven’t read any updates since the first break.  I’m off to check it out.  Go go go Darus!

By the way, in every single sim we ran, Darus slowly accumulated chips.  We didn’t run one where he lost chips, or one where he doubled up.  I’ve given the most thought to his situation and barring some kind of real cooler, I think that is what he will do here too.


Main Event Final Table Seating

Virtually every outlet is reporting that the final table will be played with people in the same seats they had when the tourney suspended four months ago.  We spent a lot of prep time with the understanding that they would redraw.  We concentrated a great deal on how different seat arrangements would affect the ebb and flow of the game.  I hope we didn’t have bad information.

If Darus ends up seated between Scott Montgomery and Chino Rheem, then they didn’t redraw.


Preparing for the final table with Darus Suharto

As many of you now know, my mysterious reference last week was about Darus.  Eirc “Rizen” Lynch is his coach and one of the things he did in preparation was to assemble a talented group of poker players to simulate the final table.  Somehow I slipped in by association.

I’ll say more on Sunday about what we did to prepare, after it is too late for any of the players to Google it.  In the meantime, I will say that Darus is a really nice and friendly guy.  He has a self-depricating manner that should come acorss well in interviews, but he is actually a very good thinker about poker.  We did a variety of exercises to help him prepare and I think we were all impressed with his play.  One of my favorite moments actually centers around a hand that he misplayed.  There was some discussion at the table about it, but not a lot.  After he left, some of us were talking about the hand and our impression that the way he played it was the wrong way to go.  We were a little troubled that he didn’t seem to see it.  When he arrived the following morning, the first thing he said was “I’ve been thinking about it and I really think I played that 99 hand wrong yesterday.:  This told me a lot about him.  It was really the only hand I think he misplayed over a 12 hour day and not only had he figured that out, but he had turned it over in his head and addressed it with us first thing.  I feel really good about his level of preparation and I think that the conditions at the final table set up very well for him.

It also turns out that he is quite an accomplished shuffleboard player.

There was a funny moment early on.  Eric was describing how each player at the final table plays.  The idea was that we should represent players who use a style similar to our own.  When he finished describing the style of David “Chino” Rheem (which as you probably know is pretty wild — Chino loves to play a lot of pots, splash around and apply pressure to the other players) everyone immediately points to me and says that I play like that.  Heh.  The funny thing is that I don’t think that I do, but I know why they think so.

It was phenomenonally interesting to play in the style of someone else.  Eric had a number of very specific reads about how Chino plays.  He told me I had to always do some things and never do some other things.  Some of them were things I was very comfortable with (Chino likes to attack flops that he knows probably missed the other guy’s range, even if it didn’t hit him) and some of them were things I personally have never done.  As a result of trying to play in a very specific way, I found myself in situations that I would never be in when I played as myself.  It was fascinating to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while.  I also got a much better appreciation of what is difficult for a plyer like Chino and what isn’t that difficult.  I realized that some of the situations where I attacked players like him actually were easy to deal with and that there are other situations where it is actually really hard to be a guy like Chino.  I’m pretty sure I can play more effectively against him now that I used to.