[Canada Cal here, plugging away from the shores of Lake Superior---]
Say you're a hot, young online-poker whiz kid. A little too hot and a little too young, as it turns out, and when you're accidentally outed (by one of your best online friends) both for your misdeeds and your real underage status, it becomes a mini-scandal in the online world. Your cover is blown, naturally, but what are you supposed to do? Is there any real expectation that a kid who's grown up cheating the system from Day One would continue to do anything else but, once he'd seen some of the big dollars roll his way?
The answer is of course not, and a year and a half after being drummed off all the major online sites, JJProdigy (aka Josh Field), is back in the news again. It turns out that JJProdigy never went away, of course, nor did the wise money expect that he would; he simply went through his slightly older online friends to set up a new series of anonymous online accounts and went back to playing the same old crooked multi-accounting game. It turns out that JJProdigy was playing in secret again almost immediately after his high-profile outing; it's widely believed that a March, 2006 Stars Sunday Million final table that saw Greg 'Fossilman' Raymer finish in the runner-up spot was most unusual, because the account that beat Raymer was likely being played by JJProdigy at the time.
Of course, it gets much worse. JJProdigy and two of his two closest friends, 'gbmantis' and 'YourTimeIsUp' (YTIU, aka stealthmunk, aka Justin Schwartz), have also now been embroiled in the multi-accounting and account-swapping schemes, with all three of them having been booted by Full Tilt after evidence of their manipulation was uncovered, manipulation that may very well have factored into one of Tilt's important and highly promoted FTOPS events. Expect to see other sites follow once they've finished their own investigations.
gbmantis, also known as Nick Niergarth, was the Wisconsin kid who accidentally outed JJProdigy in the first place by openly bragging about the multi-accounting practices last year. You'd think that in the face of the backlash from the online community, that the cheaters would have cause to reexamine their priorities. It happened that way for Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo, who's already begun rehabilating his image from a similar multi-accounting scandal that broke shortly after the JJProdigy mess became public.
Bonomo learned; the core of cheaters in this scandal didn't. In fact, Niergarth, now that the truth is emerging in a bloodbath on pocketfives.com. Niergarth fully admitted to helping JJProdigy (Schwartz) establish a new network of accounts, and also continued with the account swapping and sharing practices that continue to undermine the sites' desires to provide fair games. In Niergarth's own words:
"I got the banhammer on ftp for letting someone who is not me use my account for cash games, but I don't care, I hate ftp anyways.
"JJ really is one of the smartest people ive ever known. To him, multiaccounting is not cheating (im not saying that he does it)... b/c he thinks alot of people are doing it , and if he doesnt, he's missing out on an edge (plus its unenforcable).
"I'm not putting words in his mouth, I got that from one of his 2+2 posts a while back.
"In spite of that, he really is one of the more ethical people I know, and I would trust him more than anyone else I know online, or in real life, probably, with my money."
That's a funny post, to be sure. Another frequent theme is gbmantis's frequently inviting friends or roommates over to his apartment, who then just go on to big scores in events gbmantis himself has busted out of. Here's one example, again from Niergarth himself:
"Snake413 is my best friend , and he played the tourney from my apartment.
"Gbmantis12 did NOT play this tourney from my home, gbmantis12 played this tourney from las vegas. Gbmantis12 account, which is registered under my name, was playing in the tournament, but it was played by hitur2outer, who JJprodigy backs, in las vegas.
"Snake413 is just a $10 micro donk player who gives me $10 and i get him online money a couple times a week. Anyways, being the degen I am, I lost like $150 or some shit the night before to snake413 playing madden 07. He said he'd settle for a ftp million stake, so I obliged.
"I wasnt registered for the tourney. Snake413 played it at my house. He got like a 90k stack, and I bought his share out for $4500 cash, which was a huge -ev play by him, but he's never seen cash like that before, so he took it. I ended up helping him win the thing, and then we xferred the money out to my backer, since I trust a millionaire with 100k then i do a kid who works for $12 an hour.
"Full tilt investigated the situation, and it was found that we were in no wrong-doing." [well, maybe not so fast -- CC]
"There is nothing against ftp's TOC that says you cant' buy out a players stack, or anything like that. And I was NOT gbmantis12 in that tourney, which is why FTP freed the funds and said what we were doing was fine.
"But thanks for "outting" me boke. Next time just ship me a pm or aim me if you have concerns."
If you don't see the huge problem in this series of low buy-in events, take a look at the top of the fourth of the five images. Is it just possible that an account was rented here?
In any event, the posting of the susspicious account activity was followed, shortly, by this:
A chat with gbmantis' roommate, MATTISBEST
by MUPokerPlayer on 8/17/2007 15:57
I got PM'ed by MATTISBEST and he asked me to chat with him on AIM, because of this thread, where I accused mantis of playing for MATTISBEST:
This is the content of the conversation, but our names have been changed. I'll let you make your own interpretations...
MATTISBEST: hey whats up
MUPP: hi, watching baseball
MATTISBEST: ya i seriously did win that tourney
MUPP: cmon man
MATTISBEST: i just didnt wanna bring attn to it because it would create drama for him
MATTISBEST: ive played a bunch of big tournies
MATTISBEST: i seriously dont play MTTs
MUPP: 3 big tourneys on one day
MATTISBEST: i play sngs and HUs
MATTISBEST: ive played big events in the past
MATTISBEST: ive played in the main event
MATTISBEST: what game u watchin
MUPP: you played 3 big events in one day, all over $100 buyin
MATTISBEST: why are u so concerned
MUPP: and no other tourneys over $20 in 4 months
MATTISBEST: ya i dont play MTTs
MUPP: cause it is cheating man
MUPP: it is unfair
MATTISBEST: dont give yourself a heart attack
MUPP: i'm fine, i just think its bs
MATTISBEST: seriously tho
MATTISBEST: you arent solving anything just to let kno
MATTISBEST: i mean do u think its going to stop anyone from playing
MATTISBEST: you can get infinite accounts
MATTISBEST: and IPs
MATTISBEST: i mean
MUPP: it will make people think twice before doing this
MATTISBEST: mantis could care less about rankings
MATTISBEST: and JJ as well
MUPP: if mantis gets $$ confiscated
MATTISBEST: its all about money
MATTISBEST: the money is out of all the accts and has been for sometime
MATTISBEST: i seriously would just concentrate on your own game
MATTISBEST: and congrats on all your success btw
MATTISBEST: you are an accomplished player
MUPP: how much did mantis give you?
MUPP: of the winnings?
MATTISBEST: what i usually get when i get backed
MATTISBEST: and that is not something i am going to discuss
MUPP: dude, seriously
MUPP: look at the situations
MUPP: horrible excuses
MUPP: i am not gullible
MATTISBEST: and seriously i am his roomate
MUPP: i know
MATTISBEST: he plays snake madden all day long
MATTISBEST: its sick
MATTISBEST: im movin out at the end of september
MATTISBEST: all they do is play madden
MATTISBEST: and snake is goot
MATTISBEST: mantis loses to him
MATTISBEST: and then snake plays all these big events like its a joke
MUPP: he is fooling no one with his excuses
MATTISBEST: lol i kno
MUPP: esp not me
MATTISBEST: they are madden obsesors
MATTISBEST: he would rather play madden than poker
MATTISBEST: its sick
MUPP: i'm not talking about madden
MUPP: how many accounts has mantis won big $$ under?
MATTISBEST: gbmantis i am pretty sure is the only one
MUPP: like i said, i know you didn't win, nor did snake
MATTISBEST: he loses bets to people and puts them in big events for a piece of the action
MATTISBEST: i mean that is the truth
MATTISBEST: dude i played in the main event
MATTISBEST: i kno how to play
MATTISBEST: i dont play for money
MATTISBEST: i play for fun
MUPP: but all of a sudden decided to play 3 of the biggest tourneys on one day, and never play them again
MUPP: and happen to win one
MATTISBEST: ya dude he lost a madden bet to me and put me in them
MATTISBEST: ya i won
MUPP: when you have played hundreds of small tournies and never won anything b4
MATTISBEST: i started with 2 dollars on stars
MATTISBEST: and built it up to like 4-5k
MATTISBEST: then i won that and cashed out all of it
MATTISBEST: took a trip
MATTISBEST: and put it away to pay off some school loans
MATTISBEST: i seriously am not comfy playing at that level
MUPP: i am not gullible
MUPP: neither you nor snake won
MATTISBEST: im just tellin u how it is
MATTISBEST: well u can believe what u want
MATTISBEST: GL to you
MUPP: i hope your friend gets caught
MATTISBEST: your getting stressed to solve nothing
MUPP: cause its crap
MUPP: i'm not stressed
MUPP: i'm fine
MUPP: mantis is the one stressed
MATTISBEST: seriously they are just gonna get more accts and IPs
MATTISBEST: hes not stressed at all
MUPP: he made a post in OT saying he was
MATTISBEST: i havent seen him in like 2 days
MATTISBEST: maybe he is suicidal idk
MATTISBEST: but hes good
MUPP: why do the good players like he and JJ feel the need to cheat?
MATTISBEST: i think JJ is like17 still
MATTISBEST: ive never talked to him
MUPP: why does mantis feel the need to cheat? he's good enough to win without being involved in that shit
MATTISBEST: ive never seen mantis play more than his own account
MATTISBEST: so i mean its wierd with all this drama
MUPP: he played yours man
MUPP: i heard from a reliable source
MATTISBEST: dude i dont let people play my acct
MATTISBEST: whose your source
MUPP: cannot say
MATTISBEST: cause like i am gonna stab him or something
MUPP: but i found out you were roommates
MATTISBEST: so u have no source
MUPP: how did i find that out
MATTISBEST: you tell me
MUPP: then how did i know to search your name
MATTISBEST: ive posted about it quite sometime ago
MUPP: and find the link
MUPP: b/t your acct and his
MATTISBEST: i just dont understand why u are probing so much
MATTISBEST: dont you have better things to do?
MUPP: because, this stuff has got to stop
MUPP: i really care about online poker
MATTISBEST: its not going to stop bro
MATTISBEST: what u are going to do
MUPP: and want to expose the cheats
MATTISBEST: is create so much drama that internet poker gets shut down
MUPP: cause they don't deserve the money they're stealing
MATTISBEST: they are winning
MUPP: mantis and JJ are as bad as thte people who steal people's passwords
MATTISBEST: you are wrong
MUPP: it is stealing either way
MATTISBEST: its winning either way
MUPP: not if they already busted in that same tourney
MATTISBEST: like i said
MATTISBEST: ive only seen mantis play his own acct
MATTISBEST: i have no idea what else goes down
MUPP: he played yours and snakes
MATTISBEST: all i kno is i was stiked to win that tourney, but i couldnt get excited about it because i know it would trow up red flags
MATTISBEST: and now i kno if i ever win shit again i will never get the credit i deserve
MATTISBEST: oh well
MATTISBEST: ive played in the main event and won my own seat
MATTISBEST: played next to tilly and busted when my top set got rivered
MATTISBEST: im prolly the best player of mantis's friends
MATTISBEST: i play for fun only
MATTISBEST: good luck on your quest to solve the poker worlds problems
MATTISBEST: but they will exist forever
MATTISBEST: GL at the tables also
MATTISBEST: hit me up if u want to talk about legit stuff
MUPP: why would you care about red flags if there was nothing wrong going on?
MATTISBEST: cause he is my friend
MATTISBEST: and it would cause red flags because i am his roomate
MATTISBEST: think about it
MATTISBEST: that is alot of cash for me
MUPP: why would you care about red flags if it was all on the up and up
MUPP: what's mantis' full tilt name if he doesn't play under his own account?
MATTISBEST: i kno he doesnt play mantis that is all i kno
MATTISBEST: someone else plays mantis
MUPP: ok, enough, you are lying as much as mantis, its pointless for me to talk to you
MUPP: enjoy your ill-gotten funds
MATTISBEST: already did
Sad stuff. Clearly the account-swapping and multi-accounting and buying out of other accounts deep in big tournaments has gotten way out of hand. What's worse is the defiance being shown by the system cheaters, which seem to make up about 20% of the current pocketfives crowd, based on post frequency. (Note that several other big names, such as Chris 'brsavage' Savage, are stridently against this type of cheating.)
As Niergarth's roommate stated: "seriously they are just gonna get more accts and IPs."
Or as another post on pocketfives began to explore... :
YTIU, Mantis, JJprodigy
by moneyinbag on 8/16/2007 03:37
I have information on the whole YTIU, Mantis, JJprodigy scandal. My friend was right in the middle and here are the conversations I had with my friend. Sorry if my post is a little confusing, I will try to answer your questions if you have some.
I do not know if you guys remember bodog4life, but he is mygood friend. The account got 9th in the $200r and 12th in the Sunday Million onJuly 29th. My friend does not have this type of money and does not have the skill to do this well, so i was wondering what was going on. I contacted him the next day and this is what I found out.
My friend decided to lend out his FTP and Stars accounts toa friend of YTIU. He occasionally talked to YTIU and asked YTIU if he needed an extra account to play. YTIU said no, but someone else soon messaged my friend.
Friend(3:33:36 PM): he is nasty
Friend (3:33:38 PM): some pro kid
Friend (3:33:45 PM): a friend of justin schwartzs
Friend (3:33:50 PM): im lettin him play that account
Friend (3:33:52 PM): gettin fpps
I will call the guy my friend talked to MA (for multiaccounter). They discussed a deal where MA would keep the account until January 2008. This is the same deal that MA haswith froggymizz, who my friend knows from college. My friend met a few kidsfrom college who are friends with YTIU. So, according to my friend, froggymizzbelongs to MA and $warbucks$87 (another friend from his college) belongs toYTIU.
Friend (6:12:20 PM): warbucks told me shwartz has his account till january 1st
Friend (6:12:38 PM): they are both registerd fro thattourney
ME (6:12:50 PM): how u know warbucks
Friend (6:12:55 PM): friend from school
Friend (6:13:00 PM): plays very little
Friend (6:13:13 PM): he is friends with schwartz from school
Friend (6:14:09 PM): froggymizz is another friend of mineand iemdavid has his account as well
Friend (6:14:26 PM): froggymizz and bodog4life were bothregistered in that tourny
ME (6:14:29 PM): how u find that out
Friend (6:14:42 PM): because froggymizz warbucks and I allwent to bentley
ME (6:14:47 PM): oh
Friend (6:14:49 PM): we are all friend
Friend (6:14:54 PM): they know shwartz from home
Friend (6:15:01 PM): i spoke to schwartz online
Friend (6:15:28 PM): shwartz has warbucks and aperfectgent
Friend (6:15:37 PM): iemdavid has froggymizz and bodog4life
So, my friend got his account back and we checked the transactionhistories. On Full Tilt transactions were sent to gbmantis and ronaldkosh andon stars transactions were sent to iemdavid. As you can tell by the chat below,it is obviously not the first time MA has multi accounted. He has muchexperience dealing with these issues.
MA (5:14:51 PM): alright the accounts are urs
MA (5:14:53 PM): same pwrod
Friend (5:15:34 PM): ok u sketched out?
Friend (5:15:47 PM): didnt mean to sketch u
MA (5:15:48 PM): right when you asked that, i know its downhill
Friend (5:15:50 PM): it was straight
Friend (5:15:53 PM): why?
MA (5:15:56 PM): this happened to me the first time, and itwas terrible
MA (5:16:00 PM): i cant trust you right after that
MA (5:17:34 PM): its not ur fauly
MA (5:17:40 PM): just right when u ask that i know i canttrust you
My friend asked for a monetary amount in order to lend out his account. When he asked this question to the multi accounter, it immediately alerted him that my friend could no longer could be trusted (which was obv the case).
Friend (5:56:39 PM): holy shit ... he purchased 20K andreturned 35 K ... he made 15K in 4 days
Friend (5:56:40 PM): unreal
What we know for a fact is that YTIU introduced my friend tothe MA and that the MA sent money to gbmantis. So, knowing that these three areall friends and that our MA has experience I think that the MA is JJprodigy.When Gbmantis said he was not involved in any of this stuff, that was completebullshit. If you db some of these accounts like bodog4life, froggymizz, etc,you will see that they just randomly start playing higher tourneys. This multiaccounting nonsense needs to stop.
That last line, of course, is right on the money. And look for renewed efforts from the sites to make sure that it does.
Nor are these the only tales now popping into public view. We may return to this with a few of the better ones in the days ahead.