Canadian Poker Pro Daniel Negreanu Calls for Online Poker Platforms to Ban Alleged Cheater

  • Daniel Negreanu, a prominent poker player, has taken to Twitter to call for action against Ali Imsirovic, who has been accused of cheating in poker games.
  • Imsirovic has been accused of using real-time assistance programs, multi-accounting, and cheating in live events. He has not commented on the allegations.
  • Negreanu argues that online poker sites should ban Imsirovic indefinitely and that cheating in poker needs to be addressed by operators to maintain the integrity of the game.

Daniel Negeranu has had enough of poker cheaters and recently made that known on Twitter. The native of Toronto, Canada, is one of the biggest names in poker and singled out longtime pro Ali Imsirovic, accusing him of unscrupulous behavior after cheating allegations against him surfaced in April 2022.

“Before knowing about Ali Imsirovic’s transgressions I thought he was a lifer who loved the game and would be a tournament fixture for a long time,” Negreanu noted on Twitter. “I’m hearing that he is continuing his antics and is likely irredeemable at this point.”

The six-time World Series of Poker champion argued online poker sites should take action against Imsirovic.

“All operators both online and live should proactively ban him indefinitely,” Negreanu posted. “He is the opposite of remorseful and is actually boastful, bragging about robbing former friends.”

Inside the cheating allegations

Before cheating allegations came to light, Imsirovic was seen as one of the best young players in poker. With $16.8 million in live tournament winnings, the Bosnian-born player who grew up in Vancouver, Washington, has major wins on some of poker’s biggest stages.

However, fellow high roller Alex Foxen accused Imsirovic of cheating at the PokerGO Super High Roller Bowl in North Cyprus last year. Foxen showed a clip where Imsirovic appeared to look at Paul Phua’s hole cards. Foxen argued the move helped Imsirovic win the pot. Like Negreanu, he alleged more cheating beyond just the Super High Roller Bowl.

“Ali is known as a cheater to almost all in the high roller community, however without much ironclad proof, most stay silent,” he Tweeted. “After watching this hand on the SHRB live stream, enough is enough.”

Poker pro Matt Berkey agreed with Foxen and alleged Imsirovic used RTA (real-time assistance) when playing online. These are programs offering the correct strategy advice as a player is actually involved in a hand.

Live poker sites generally bar the use of RTA and Imsirovic was reportedly banned in 2020 from GGPoker for this violation. PokerNews reported Imsirovic is now playing on unregulated poker sites and also alleged he’d been multi-accounting in the past as well. Multi-accounting involves playing more than one account on a site, a violation viewed as cheating within poker.

Others also accused of cheating recently

Imsirovic hasn’t commented on the allegations. This is just the latest cheating allegation to flare up among well-known poker players.

Along with Imsirovic, high roller Jake Schindler has also been accused of multi-accounting, RTA use, and even colluding in live high stakes events. Schindler hasn’t commented and his Twitter fee hasn’t been updated since April 2022.

That same month, high stakes pro Bryn Kenney was accused of running a stable of players involved with online poker collusion, multi-accounting, and playing on other players’ accounts.

“There was a specific time me and his horse were on the same table in a $10,000 PLO (pot limit Omaha) six-max on party(poker) and he played both accounts,” one of Kenney’s stable horses, Martin Zamani, alleged on Twitter. “Any type of arguing with Bryn would be faced with gaslighting.”

Zamani released text messages appearing to back up some of his allegations. Others involved in the alleged scheme made similar statements. For his part, Kenney denied any cheating in an interview with PokerNews.

“I never said, ‘Do what’s best for the team,'” he said. “Everyone is playing for themselves and their winning and losses are going to affect them. There’s definitely no layer that you’re expected to or supposed to do anything other than play your best game and then it’s up to that person to do whatever that means for them.”

Working to end cheating

Reaching a solution to get rid of cheaters isn’t an easy solution. Poker sites and live casino operators face legal concerns when it comes to these kinds of issues. Determining cheating isn’t always easy either.

GGPoker announced in July 2022 that the company was at least making an effort. The operator, in partnership with partner casinos and operators, launched the Poker Integrity Council (PIC), headed by GG ambassador Jason Koon.

The company put in place a process to weed out some of the most egregious cheaters, while also offering a process to help make sure the behavior actually took place. Koon hopes the system helps at least curb some unethical behavior.

“For too long cheaters have been able to prosper in poker, as they were well aware that any consequences they faced would be limited to a single site or operator,” Koon told PokerScout. “With PIC, not only do we have a robust approach for catching cheaters backed by the collective knowledge of our voting members, but thanks to the participation of and strong support from our allies, for the first time we will be able to keep the worst cheaters out of poker entirely.”

Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M University, his work has appeared in numerous publications and websites. Sean has covered the gaming and poker industry for many years and also writes about about numerous other topics.