The Muck: Patrick Leonard Blasts Poker Ambassadors And Sites
Should poker ambassadors do more to help communicate to players in the wake of cheating scandals?
That's what Patrick Leonard wants. Leonard, who was a partypoker ambassador from 2016-2023, did not mention any specific sites or any ambassadors by name, nor did he refer to any specific online poker scandal.
However, he was incensed during a two-and-a-half-minute video where he took issue with poker ambassadors continuing to take paychecks while, in Leonard's opinion, the sites they represent cheat players out of money.
Poker players were quick to comment on Leonard's video, with PokerStars Ambassador Sam Grafton chiming in, along with fellow bracelet winners Justin Bonomo, Jans "Graftekkel" Arends and Matt Glantz.
Who is Patrick Leonard?
Patrick Leonard, also known as "pads1161", is a British poker player and WSOP bracelet winner. In 2022, alongside Espen Jrstad, he won Event #55: $1,000 Tag Team for $148,067.
Leonard has been hugely successful at the online felt, winning four WCOOP titles in 2023 alone en route to being named Player of the Series. He has also won numerous SCOOP titles and enjoyed success at partypoker while ambassador, winning a partypoker MILLIONS Online title in 2022 and back-to-back Sunday Party titles in April 2023.
In 2020, after topping the World Poker Tour Rising Star Leaderboard for $6,000 during the World Poker Tour World Online Championships, he proceeded to give it all back in a freeroll.
A "Tough Conversation"
"This is a tough conversation for amateur poker players and professional poker players," Leonard starts off by saying. "The amount of cheating which as been going on, and the amount of respect that we get back from the sites and from the ambassadors is just a joke."
Leonard then points out that although ambassadors promote sites, encourage sign-ups using referral links and continue to have their faces associated with the site, whenever players get cheated while playing there there is no response at all.
What is Game Integrity?
Game integrity refers to the practice of maintaining the fairness and honesty of poker games so all players have an equal and unbiased opportunity to win. It involves preventing cheating, collusion, and any form of unethical behavior that could compromise the integrity of the game.
Poker sites often monitor player actions and betting patterns to help maintain the integrity of poker games. Upholding game integrity has long been crucial to preserving the trust and reputation of the poker community, ensuring a level playing field for all participants.
"It's so disrespectful," he continues, before suggesting that some players won't speak out for fear of losing their next paycheck from the site. "We are your friends, your colleagues, your peers and you're an ambassador for a site that is cheating us out of five million, 10 million, 15 million whatever millions it is.
"We turn up every day on the site you tell us to play on ... we pay all the rake and we get cheated and we get nothing."
"You sit opposite us at the poker table in live tournaments, smiling we're best friends. But where the fuck's our money? It's gone"
He goes on to say that some ambassadors continue to post content while turning a blind eye and seemingly refusing even to acknowledge what's going on.
"We don't hear anything. They're like 'Oh, you know, I can't say anything it's in my contract' fucking rip the contract up and throw it away then. Do you really want to represent ... sites like this where your peers are getting fucked?
"You sit opposite us at the poker table in live tournaments, smiling we're best friends. But where the fuck's our money? It's gone."
Additional reading: What Is Real-Time Assistance (RTA)? Is it Legal?
Not Just Ambassadors
It wasn't just ambassadors of poker sites that attracted Leonard's ire, it was the sites themselves.
"We're getting cheated out of millions. Where the fuck is our millions coming back from? It's fine to close down 50 accounts and do all this stuff, but where's the money going? If they say 'Oh, well they withdrew the money' that's not our problem. That's your problem. You're offering the game to us.
"We are playing there because you say come and play there. If you haven't invested in a big enough security team and you've spent money doing X promotion or Y promotion, then work it out. Work out where this money is going and give it back to us. Because it's our money."
Many were quick to contribute to the ongoing discussion, with Matt Glantz saying "Unfortunately, this is not how sic the reality in basically any industry. Poker is not special."
Leonard also responded to a user, saying that it wasn't about any site in particular. "There is stuff happening on basically every site at the moment, cash games/mtts, colluding, GTOwiz, Bots, Superusers and stuff we have no idea about too," he said, before reiterating that "'Ambassadors' everywhere say nothing."
Responding to one of the ambassadors, in the shape of Sam Grafton (pictured), Leonard stressed that he believes all sites & apps have issues, but that he feels most safe on Stars. "I build my entire year. around you guys (SCOOP/WCOOP) and continue doing so and feel safe there." He also told Grafton that if he made a poker site, he would be his first hire "because of how much integrity you have."
Meanwhile Justin Bonomo praised Leonard, and Maria Ho applauded the video, stating "We signal our vote of confidence in a site and their business practices every time we log in with where we choose to play and spend our buy-ins. We as patrons have to be willing to stand our ground for higher security measures."
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