Negreanu Calls for Online Poker Sites to Ban GPI Player of the Year for Cheating

4 min read

Daniel Negreanu took to Twitter to put the 2021 Global Poker Index Player of the Year Ali Imsirovic on blast, telling his followers that Imsirovic “is continuing his antics and is likely irredeemable at this point” and calls for online poker operators to “proactively ban him indefinitely.”

Ali Imsirovic
Ali Imsirovic is again facing cheating allegations from a top poker professional. (Image: Paul Phua Poker)

Those alleged antics include such things as using Real Time Assistance (RTAs), playing on more than one account at the same time (multi-accounting), and collusion. Imsirovic has allegedly been banned from GGPoker for using RTAs — which are computer programs or that instantly give players the optimum play no matter the situation.

Negreanu, a GGPoker ambassador and one of the biggest names in poker, offered no proof, only that he’s been “hearing things.”

It prompted some players and poker industry leaders to chime in, including Matt Berkey, who just won a GPI Award for producing and hosting the best poker podcast.

The “KYC” he’s talking about is “know your customer,” a vital component to online poker security that helps fight multi-accounting (MA) and also money laundering. The gray/black sites are rooms like America’s Card Room and Global Poker, which aren’t licensed and regulated by gambling boards, but are accessible across the country.

A constant battle

Berkey’s right about being concerned about online poker sites keeping up with the use of computers to provide RTA to players, especially with how fast this technology is progressing. While licensed and regulated sites are legally required to constantly monitor their players, their system is not 100% fool-proof and cheaters do slip through the cracks.

But like Imsirovic, they do get caught. In 2020, GGPoker banned 40 accounts and seized more than $1 million for using RTAs. Imsirovic was not directly named, but according to the poker result tracking site SharkScope, Imsirovic’s last active day on GGPoker was Sept. 29, one day before GGPoker dropped the hammer and banned the accounts.

There’s no doubt that Imsirovic is an extremely talented poker player with nearly $20 million in live results and the 2021 GPI Player of the Year trophy to prove it.

But if Negreanu is right and Imsirovic is still cheating online and even “bragging about robbing former friends,” it adds a streak of sinister to the personality of the baby-faced high-stakes poker banger who has been missing in action.

Imsirovic has not played a live poker tournament for months, and his last cash goes back to the World Series of Poker’s Main Event last summer, where he finished 229th.

His high-stakes options might be limited. At least one poker tour has taken action against Imsirovic. The PokerGo Tour suspended Imsirovic and friend Jake Schindler indefinitely in September.

In a statement, the PGT didn’t mention cheating, but wrote that “the PGT is committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and emphasizes proper conduct to ensure the safety and security of its players and events.”

It was a harsh punishment for the PGT’s Player of the Year for 2021. His profile remains on PGT’s website without mentioning his suspension.

Nothing new

Unfortunately, these accusations are nothing new for the 28-year-old professional with more than $18 million in poker tournament winnings. Last April, two-time GPI Player of the Year Alex Foxen also took to Twitter applauding PartyPoker’s calls for an industry-wide blacklist of players who are proven cheaters.

It’s also unfortunate that these high-stakes players like Foxen have not come forward with the proof they claim to have of the players using RTA, playing multiple accounts, and chip dumping to other players in their stables, which another big-time poker tournament winner Bryn Kenney is accused of doing — and which he publicly denied.

Imsirovic has not said a peep about the accusations.

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