Writings from Truckin'


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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ethics and morality courtesy of ZeeJustin

This is old news, but news I somehow missed. Pauly and I were talking last night about the online cheating scandals, and he brought up ZeeJustin, a name I was familiar with.

Back when he was still in high school, Justin Bonomo was one of the people in the Virginia game I played years ago, the same game where The Hammer originated.

I'd played with him and always thought him an exemplary player. His 2+2 posts about hands and theory revealed him as that.

I was shocked when Pauly said that ZeeJustin was one of the players caught cheating on Party by having multiple accounts and playing them simultaneously in the same tournaments. Six of his accounts (he probably has more) were frozen, and Party confiscated almost $100,000.

Considering he won some big tournaments and probably had initiated significant cashouts since the JJProdigy scandal, if all he lost was $100,000 and his sterling reputation as one of the top online players, he got off easy. In the real world, not just his money would have been taken.

It's been almost two years since I've read 2+2, where I used to go daily and post but stopped because it frequently degenerated into arguments and the standard message board feuds. Last night I waded through threads, catching up on the news (including his previous posts, which in hindsight hinted at what he was already doing and revealed his confused ethics). I barely made it through a quarter of the ZeeJustin thread (dated Feb. 24), but I did see his final post, which was a so-called apology.

So-called, because it's a pompous, arrogant, ego-driven, and ultimately youth-ignorant angry letter (which he entitled "My Statement") that neither admits wrongdoing nor apologize for his actions but instead defends what he did simply because he was allowed to by flaws in Party's software.

He provides his own brand of logic while cheating:
If I had 6 tables open and two of my accounts were brought to the same table, I would simply open up 4-6 more SNGs. I felt that this would negate my unethical advantage.

This is akin to a thief stealing from the rich because they can afford it. It doesn't make it less wrong.

He knew what he was doing was against the rules, and he tried to justify it to himself by playing more tables and only playing tournaments with over 1000 players, another attempt at rationalizing.

He portrays himself as a victim, that if Party can do this to him, they can do it to anyone without cause. "You're not safe at all," he warns ominously. Instead of accepting the blame and owning up to his actions, he deflects it to everyone else. In that one post, he became every other cheater who had money confiscated and went to 2+2 for support and sympathy.

ZeeJustin is a good enough player on his own. Why would he want to add "cheat" to his resume? His answer would be the same as why climb Mount Everest?

I'd love to use the cliche that he's a victim of youth, but it comes down to character, which I believe is well-formed by age 20.

He states he regrets what he did, but I suspect only because he was caught. I wouldn't be surprised if he's still playing online, still exploiting the system. All for the challenge of it.

Because for an online gambling site that's illegal in the U.S., what's the worse they can do to you but confiscate your funds?

This is a learning experience, to be sure, but it will take something much worse than this for him to actually learn the lesson.