In case you missed it, Sorel Mizzi has once again been banned from PokerStars. This time around it was a combination of factors. First, he was playing on the site from the United States via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Next, he was playing with someone else’s account.
This isn’t the first time that Mizzi has been caught multi-accounting online. He was even banned for life from Full Tilt Poker pre-Black Friday. Mizzi’s is a story of a player that refuses to learn his lesson and he continues to get punished for his failure to comply.
While multi-accounting is considered by some to be relatively harmless, online poker sites consider it a serious offense and the stigma from being pegged as a multi-accounter sticks with you for your poker career. Here are some of the dangers behind multi-accounting and why you should avoid it.
You Will Lose Your Winnings
The first thing that will happen when you get caught multi-accounting is that you lose any winnings gained under that account. For example, in 2007, Mizzi was caught multi-accounting after buy-in someone’s account that was deep in a $1 Million guaranteed event.
Mizzi won the event but when it was discovered that Mizzi had purchased the account, the prize money was confiscated and redistributed to the other players. This is what resulted in his lifetime ban from Full Tilt.
It doesn’t matter if you played fairly and used skill to win the event, if you multi-account, you will lose your earnings.
You Will Be Banned
Like playing online poker? If you multi-account, you’re going to have to find a new spot to play. Multi-accounting is a serious violation of the Terms of Service of ALL online poker sites. If you violate this term, you will not be allowed to play there for a period of time.
Most recently, Mizzi received a two-year ban for his actions. The severity of the penalty will depend on your past history with the site and the seriousness of the action. Unlike Mizzi’s recent video on Twitter, online poker sites are not going to slap you on the wrist. Rather, they will take away your privilege to play.
You Are Branded a Cheater
When you multi-account, you are basically cheating. You are disguising your identity from other online poker players and pretending to be another player. If you play live poker, you know that you are not allowed to disguise your identity. Phil Laak tried that a few years ago at the World Series of Poker and rules were immediately changed to forbid the use of masks or disguises.
When you’re branded a cheater, by and large your reputation is ruined. Depending on your future actions, you may be able to recover but many people lose a lot of opportunities after being pegged a cheater. If you cheat at online poker, how do we know you won’t cheat at live poker?
Going back to Mizzi, he’s even been accused of cheating at live poker. John Racener has accused him of bottom dealing in the past. While nothing was proven from the accusations, to many it isn’t a stretch to think that someone that cheats at one form of poker will cheat at another.
Avoid the Win at All Cost Mentality
There are some out there that believe that one should do whatever they can in poker in order to win. This win at all cost mentality often includes stretching or even breaking the rules. Sorel Mizzi has claimed that he has his own “moral universe” and he doesn’t feel bad about cheating online.
Don’t fall into this trap. While it is true that sometimes players get away with cheating in poker, a large majority get caught nowadays due to improvements in technology and surveillance.
More importantly, when you cheat you ruin your reputation and it will take a long time to recover. Even then, there will still be some out there that will view you as a cheater (Justin Bonomo).
We should all strive to be the type of player that other players would be proud to call an ambassador of the game. It is hard to be an ambassador when you’ve been pegged a cheater. Play poker the right way and you will always come out a winner – even if you bust out.