HUD Gets Nevada Player in Hot Water

Date: 2015-12-10
Author: Jason Glatzer

Poker sites tightening the rules surrounding the use of third-party software tools seems to be a common theme in 2015.  However, due to a Nevada gambling statute, third-party software tools are prohibited. Nevada goes one step further and also explicitly prohibits third-party software aids according to its terms and conditions.
However, this didn't stop one player, BTCBLADE, from not only using a HUD in November, but also stream on Twitch while doing so.  According to Flushdraw and other sources, this player is likely successful live and online Nevada poker player Tommy Chen.
The issues isn't that BTCBLADE got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  The fact he was streaming live likely means he wasn't even aware he was violating any rules.  However, the bigger issue is that Nevada doesn't seem to be able to detect violations players may be incurring.  In other words, if not for the fact he was using a HUD while streaming, his usage could have gone unnoticed indefinitely.
This brings up a serious issue since it means there are likely many other players using a HUD, putting them at a significant advantage over others who are following the rules.
Randy Dorfman is the player responsible for bringing this issue to light.  He questioned and the site's Head of Online Poker Bill Rini via Twitter and also provided a link to the proof that a third-party software violation took place.
Rini quickly responded, "We've been in contact with the player since then.  If you see him using HUDs on now, please let us know."
This comment appears to be passing the buck and players in Nevada were complaining that it gave off the wrong signals.  Basically, it is impossible for players to know who might be using a HUD unless they don't understand the rules and also stream their play.
Dorfman also suggested that if can't enforce the rule themselves, they should make third-party software legal for everyone so players can be on the same playing field.  Rini pointed out that they are unable to do so due to Nevada law and also added that they can't change the rules just because one player got caught.  However, Rini failed to acknowledge in his Twitter exchange with Dorfman that this player was caught because he outed himself and therefore there are likely many players using prohibited tools on the online poker room undetected.
Also puzzling to Dorfman was why BTCBLADE was able to keep playing even after it was acknowledged that he violated third-party software rules at  Rini responded to Dorfman saying he felt a warning was sufficient and said that Dorfman was free to disagree.
It is possible, however, that had a change of heart, as the player hasn't been seen on the site since November 22.  A player can also potentially be in hot water for the state statute violation.  FlushDraw, which originally broke the story, was unable to get further comment from Rini about the issue just discussed.  However, he did confirm that the issue was already brought to the Nevada Gaming Commision.
"The matter is in the hands of regulators now, so they will ultimately decide the matter from here," a source told Flushdraw.
A violation of the state gambling statute can potentially be serious even for a first offense due to it being classified as a Category B felony.  BTCBLADE could face one to six years in prison along with a fine of $10,000.
It is uncertain how things will turn out for BTCBLADE.  However, this story can prove to be a lesson to everyone.  While we recommend using poker software tools to help your game, always check the terms and conditions on every online site you are playing at to make sure you aren't overstepping your bounds.

Image courtesy Flushdraw

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