If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me lashing out at a variety of poker players and industry players. I really wish I didn’t have to do this, and I’m trying to organize my life in a way in which that will happen much less in the future. But the truth is that there are many people who have violated the trust of myself, my friends, and other good people, and I feel that it is my moral obligation to (with discretion) raise awareness of these issues, especially with particular people whom I think are likely to wrong more people in the future. Naming names is beyond the scope of this post though. What I want to focus on is what you, presumably well-intentioned poker player or other member of the gambling industry, can do to protect yourself.
- *******Don’t assume anything******* – This really can’t be emphasized enough. Don’t assume that someone who has the money will be happy to repay a debt as agreed. Don’t assume that someone who “has a good reputation” will be ethical in business dealings. Don’t assume that someone who appears to be your friend will have your back when you need them. Don’t assume you won’t get angled. Don’t assume employees will always give correct/fair rulings. Don’t assume that someone you do something nice for will be nice or even fair to you at a later date. etc etc
- Don’t loan money – There is a reason banks exist. If you think you can assess someone’s credit risk better than the bank they use, fine I guess. Otherwise, whether it’s $20 or $200 or $20,000, just don’t do it. There’s no upside (besides “doing a favor”) and massive downside – trust me.
- Use contracts – If you are going to do any kind of staking, piece buying, swapping, etc, get it in writing. I believe text messages and emails can uphold in court these days, but I would just do the maximum and get clarity from a lawyer on that. Bottom line – if you don’t have good contracts, there are plenty of opportunists who are happy to take advantage.
- Carefully review terms of deals – I’ve made this mistake in several cases after friends came to me begging for staking deals. I let my empathy and the fact that I was “too busy” get in the way of properly reviewing terms. Use lawyers if you must, but making a deal on unfriendly terms can cost you bigtime.
I might add to this later but these are the key points. Be safe out there in the wild west of the gambling world.