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Player Wins Defamation Case Over Poker Beef

Poker is a game known for often bringing the most extreme emotions out of people.

They can often be positive emotions, brought on by a huge win or a joint celebration, but they can also be negative – something we in poker know as being on tilt.

Sometimes being on tilt brings about heated and occasionally hilarious arguments and interactions between players at a table. But while animosities between those players may remain after an on-tilt poker argument, the beef usually ends up staying at the poker table.

Someone forgot to tell that to a couple of poker players in the African country of Namibia, however.

According to the Namibian, a poker player has successfully sued another player after he used a “vulgar word” against him in an argument that stemmed from a poker game. Lance Cotterell took fellow poker player Adriaan Christiaan Byleveldt to court in Namibia’s capital Windhoek after Byleveldt used a slur against Cotterell that “refers to a female anatomy in Afrikaans” in an email circulated to a number of other people and poker players.

The email was one of many that stemmed from an argument between the two men at a poker game in the country, which was so heated that tensions continued long after the game. The defamation case brought about by Cotterell was heard in the capital’s Magistrate’s Court and resulted in a win for the defamed player after the judge sided with Cotterell in the matter.

As a result of the judgement, Byleveldt was ordered to pay $10,000 Namibian Dollars (around US $1,025) in damages along with $11,644 (around US $1,200) in legal costs to Cotterell. The drama does not look like it has ended there, however, with the Namibian also reporting that Byleveldt has refused to pay the legal costs, which is likely to result in further action being taken against him.

It is unclear what actually sparked the beef between the two to begin with, but it is one of many heated tiffs that have taken place at poker tables all around the world. A number of poker pros have even gained reputations as one who rouse the emotions of other players during their games. Players like Phil Hellmuth, Shawn Sheikhan and Tony G come to mind there.

For better or worse, it is something that is part of the game of poker and that’s how it should be viewed. It can be very easy for players to let their emotions get to them and extend an argument beyond the table. But in looking at cases like this, one must ask oneself if it’s really worth it.

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Bruno de Paiva

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