High Stakes Internet Poker Star in Hot Water
August 29, 2008 (InfoPowa News) — Causing ripples in online gambling circles this week is an admission and an apology from respected high stakes, cash game player Brian "sbrugby" Townsend (26) that he has been guilty of multi-accounting, a cardinal sin expressly forbidden by online poker sites where he plays like PokerStars and Full Tilt.
Using the handles aba20 on Poker Stars and sbrugby on Full Tilt, Townsend 'fessed up to playing as Makersmark66 in low stakes games at PokerStars, and as Stellarnebula in games at Full Tilt. He emphasized in his blog statement that the additional accounts were not misused to collude during tournaments.
The admission and apology came after strong player suspicions surfaced that he was multi-accounting. The consequences as far as Full Tilt is concerned were almost immediate, with an announcement that the player is suspended from his pro status for six months, perhaps setting a precedent for other transgressors of the "no multiple accounts" rules.
The penalty will be embarrassing for Townsend personally and for the poker video instruction firm Cardrunners, with which he is involved as a professional. It is understood that Townsend discussed the issue with Lee Jones, operations chief at Cardrunners, and that Townsend will be donating $25,000 to a charity, taken from his Cardrunner earnings as an act of contrition.
When InfoPowa went to press the Poker Stars decision on the issue was not yet known.
"I hope that people can not only look to me for poker education but also for the way to live their lives," Townsend wrote in his apology. "I made a mistake and I am willing to take responsibility for it. I am willing to stand up and face the music. I apologize to the entire online community. I will never partake in this type of activity in the future. This post should act as a full admission of my guilt, and I sincerely apologize to anyone that I've wronged."
Twenty-six-year-old Townsend, who lives in Santa Barbara, California, only started playing poker three years ago while in his final year of PhD electrical engineering studies. He is on record as saying he prefers Internet competitions to land tournaments, and his rise to fame in online high stakes cash games has been swift and lucrative.
With a playing style that has been described as loose, aggressive and math oriented, his fortunes have seen some exciting mountains and valleys, and he has said in interviews that he is not a believer in tells, but rather understanding each player's style and making adjustments accordingly.