Partouche Poker Tour

Partouche Poker Cheating a Multi-National Affair?

A week ago, we checked in with news from the late, lamented Partouche Poker Tour, in which poker-player author Nordine Bouya drew headlines by releasing a video, via YouTube and the French poker site Poker En Ligne, which offered rather convincing evidence of cheating via hand signals between the top two finishers in the 2009 Partouche main event, Jean-Paul Pasqualini and Cedric Rossi.

ScreenHunter_01 Feb. 04 10.25Now comes the latest kicker to the story — new assertions that it might have been a three-way cheat, involving not only Pasqualini and Rossi, but a third player at the table, Moroccan Hassan Fares, who finished sixth for about $223,000.

Whether or not Fares will be implicated in the cheating to the extent that Pasqualini and Rossi have remains to be seen, and will likely await the reemergence of complete tapes of the final table.  To date, only edited versions have been available, with those nonetheless providing convincing evidence regarding Rossi and Pasqualini, who together collected almost $2.3 million in prize money.

The firestorm surrounding the Partouche fiasco continues to grow.  The latest accusations regarding Fares emanate from the French poker forum (with a reminder to open that link via Google Chrome for those needing auto-translation from French to English).

Several interesting sidelines have started to emerge in connection to the main story.  One is a reported call-in by a viewer of the live final, wondering if the French players were teaming up to get rid of the other players, to which one of the commentators is supposed to have rudely dismissed the suggestion.  (Naive, self-important commentator talk if so.)

Second is a possible call for an inquiry being made by the only other French player at the final table, Michel Janvier, who finished fourth for about $375,000.  Janvier’s comments can be found in that forum thread linked above, with the gist of it being that he’s been traveling on vacation, is livid about the discover, and that he plans on contacting the authorities upon his return, citing the 110,000 hits (as of a couple of days ago) that the YouTube version on Bouya’s tape has already received.

The third thing few people have dared to mention to date is how ugly in a nationalistic sense this whole story has gotten.  It started right with Bouya’s video, which did its best to undermine its own credibility by characterizing the two French players, Rossi and Pasqualini, as Corsicans (read: Italian) players that sullied the French PPT.

This was all, of course, before the recent allegations regarding the possible involvement of the Moroccan, Fares, but the disassociation attempted by Bouya in his original video — complete with music and outtakes from “The Godfather” — was pretty damned lame.

Cheaters are cheaters, and they’re found within all nationalities and races, and for Bouya to attempt to pretend otherwise would’ve discredited the video had the evidence itself not been so convincing.  If it were more borderline….

Frankly, the French just ought to own this, whether the cheating players were French, Italian, Moroccan, Antarctic, Martian or whatever.  The Partouche Poker Tour quickly became known for lousy stewardship and local favoritism, and it bowed out in a blaze of non-glory after doing its best to not honor a five-million euro guarantee in its final, 2012 fling.

There probably aren’t many people outside the Partouche payroll itself who are sad to see it go.  For the PPT, there were too many lousy things that happened in too brief a time.  As the saying goes, good riddance to bad rubbish.


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