The Hendon Mob

Hendon Mob Begins Allowing Players to Block Posting of Tournament Results

Under increasing pressure from some of the players whose poker tournament results are listed on its site, The Hendon Mob (THM) has agreed to allow said players to have their names removed, or replaced with nicknames, from Hendon’s massive results database, generally reckoned as the largest such collection of results in the poker world.

The site appears to have made the adjustment to its result-accumulating practices in the face of threats from numerous European pros, who themselves have been facing increasing tax scrutiny from jurisdictions across Europe. A recent report on pro players from German and other countries being targeted by Spanish tax authorities made headlines just a couple of weeks ago. That appears to have ramped up the pressure many of these same pros are applying to – in a case of attacking the messenger rather than understanding the message — of a few of these players threatening legal action under the guise of their presumed data protection of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Except it’s all bullshit, to put it simply. The Hendon Mob and every other legitimate tourney-results database gets those results directly from the tour or event series, and those collective tours have the right to the results data, rather than the players themselves. I’m unaware of any tours or events of any significance that do not require players to sign a rights-assignment form as a condition of participation. Those agreements give the sponsoring tours and series the rights to a player’s name, likeness… and results.

The legal stance of such databases as The Hendon Mob is on far more solid ground than, say, third-party online-poker databases that have stolen — err, scraped — results from proprietary online clients. After all, in my opinion, there’s been a real reason that “Sharkscope Steve” shielded his true identity for years, not that that site was the only one engaged in such conduct.

Exactly when The Hendon Mob bowed to the pressure isn’t quite clear, though it was sometime in the past handful of days. News of the change came in a roundabout way, with German pro Armin “schmette” Mette proudly posting on the 2+2 forum (and perhaps some European forums as well) about The Hendon Mob making the change. Mette wrote:

After years of abusive Data-collection Hendenmob is now forced, due to the GDPR, to delete your Accounts if you want to.

For Deletion just write an email to [email protected]

Funnily HM response is that, the People abuse their own rights (GDPR) given to damage “the industry” which helped them with their careers in the first place.

They offer you to change your Account into a “Nickname” too.

Say fucking what? There’s a lot of bullshit wrapped up in those few lines, enough to make Roland Boothby, the GPI/THM Poker Content Manager, fire back at Mette with a clarification. Boothby offered this:

Good afternoon,

First post. Would just like to make a few points on this subject.

The Hendon Mob is run by a small team of poker fans whose aim it is to serve the poker community by operating the best poker database and poker information resource available on the internet. By publishing the results and pay-outs of major tournaments Hendon Mob is no more guilty of “abusive Data-collection” than the APT or the PGA. The information published on THM has already been released by a Casino or Tour in line with their own T&Cs, which a player agrees to by registering the tournament.

Its deeply sad to see certain players who have enjoyed a successful career in poker celebrate a situation where a small business operating in the poker world has its operations affected by sweeping legislative changes, purely because it confers some benefit to themselves.

I suspect these same players are more than happy to use the site for their own financial advantage, by looking up and gaining information about their opponents in major tournaments.

Yes, GPDR has caused some changes to the way we operate, but we will continue to work hard to serve the community, to improve the product we offer to poker fans, players and media and to continue to grow our traffic year on year. We would like to thank those who support Hendon Mob by visiting the site, following us on Social Media and interacting with us via any of our sites or initiatives.

Roland
The Hendon Mob Team

Boothby correctly notes the rights to publish the results that tour operators have provided to them, and acknowledges that the GDPR has also caused some operational changes. In that light, though, The Hendon Mob’s decision to obscure certain players’ results upon request is likely more of a decision to avoid possible litigation expense, even if the site is a heavy favorite to triumph if such a case ever went to court.

Boothby also noted the way many players look up their opponents to learn more, and virtually everyone who makes a final table of a major live event researches their opponents via Hendon or other sites. Yet Boothby avoids the half-ton gorilla in the virtual room in this particular situation, and that’s the backwards-looking tax pressure being applied by Spain, Sweden and other European countries, eyeing prominent pros who just might have forgotten to report some major wins along the way.

It’s kind of silly when one realizes that most major results are available on multiple sites. CardPlayer’s deep database is almost the equal of The Hendon Mob’s, and CP’s results aren’t going anywhere, since the site isn’t within reach of the GDPR. For the record, it’s clear that Mette himself is one of the players who’s already demanded that his name be disconnected from the financial portion of his results. Mette’s Hendon Mob record now shows only his GPI rankings; all financial results have been de-linked.

But, geez, one doesn’t have to be a Spanish tax-agency worker to click on over to the CardPlayer database to see Mette’s live-tourney results, which, perhaps surprisingly, don’t include anything from Spain. And if there’s no tax issue behind the pressure the players have been applying to The Hendon Mob, and it’s really just about trying to hide one’s skills from opponents, then guess what: The real world doesn’t work that way, and that informational chicken has already flown the metaphorical coop.

For the record, it’s only a handful more of clicks to correlate some of these competing databases to see The Hendon Mob’s self-blocking in practice. Here’s the THM link to Event #64 of the Venetian’s Deep Stack Extravaganza III. This event was actually co-sponsored by CardPlayer, another fact you won’t find in THM’s version of the listing. But that “‘Anonymous’ Unknown” player who took seventh, winning $7,473? Yep, that’s Mette.

It’s only The Hendon Mob that’s being hurt by this change, and they really ought to rethink it. In the long run, replacing valid results listings with ever-increasing numbers of “Anonymous” entries could eventually weaken the site to the purpose of not being unusable, but of being passed up by its competitors. That loss of relevancy would have an impact across all of parent company Mediarex’s operations, to the detriment of the poker world.

(The opinions offered here are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or viewpoints of the owners and publishers of Flushdraw.net.)

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