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Poker News | World Poker News

Bluff Editor Allegedly Disqualified from Full Tilt Poker Victory

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In the wake of the Absolute Poker scandal in which cheating occurred by way of executives using old accounts and seeing players’ hole cards, most other online poker sites have heightened their security procedures to ensure that no improprieties can be attributed to them. The Absolute Poker events of the past few months have shown that a business’ reputation is at stake when the public identifies and investigates cheating before the company catches it.

Full Tilt Poker recently took steps to identify inappropriate use of a player’s account and disqualified that player’s first place victory in the October 21st $1 Million Guarantee tournament. That player just happened to be Chris Vaughn, Managing Editor for Bluff Magazine.

A little background is in order. Chris Vaughn played casually on various online poker sites for several years, until he began working at the Atlanta offices of Bluff Magazine. As he moved up from an internship to the position of managing editor and spent more time getting to know some of the game’s greatest players – especially during his stint on location at the 2007 WSOP – he played more online, as well as several live tournaments.

Chris built up a moderate bankroll by playing sit-n-go’s, though he admitted to having at least one backer for the larger buy-in tournaments. (Alleged backers include Tom “Durrr” Dwan and Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi.) And as he gained more success and confidence, he began playing more of the larger Sunday tournaments online.

On October 21st, 2007, Chris won the $500 buy-in $1 Million Guarantee tournament on Full Tilt Poker with a first prize of $197,984. He played on Full Tilt as “BluffMagCV.” One week later, he played in the $530 buy-in Sunday Million on PokerStars as “SlippyJacks” and took first place for $240,633.

Within an eight day period of time, he took in over $438,000. He admitted in an interview for PokerNews.com that it was life-changing money, and he planned to invest most of it.

On November 18th, the same day that he cashed in another big tournament – 5th place in the $200k Guaranteed on Ultimate Bet for $10,500 – he made an audio appearance on a radio show. He called in for a requested interview on “Big Poker Sundays,” a show on PokerRoad.com hosted by Scott Huff and Haralabos Voulgaris.

Haralabos asked, “Has anyone ever accused you of ghosting?” He went on to explain briefly that ghosting is making it deep in a tournament and having your account taken over and played by your backer.

Chris answered, “I’ve been accused of that. I think it’s going to come with the territory when someone relatively unknown wins two in a row. My backer’s a good player; he’s helped me play poker a lot. He’s taught me a lot, and that’s probably a huge testament to my success. But as far as having someone take over, that’s ridiculous. We talk about hands after I play them and stuff.”

Evidently, ever since the Full Tilt tournament won by Chris, there had been rumors floating around the forums that something didn’t seem right about the final table play. But with no proof, speculation was just that until the second place finisher in that tournament, Soren “Kongsgaard” Kongsgaard, received an e-mail from Full Tilt Poker stating that “BluffMagCV” had been disqualified and “Kongsgaard” would be awarded the first place money. Soren posted the information on the 2+2 forums, and word spread from there.

Allegedly, a player who had been previously eliminated from that tournament took over the “BluffMagCV” account late in the tournament from a different computer. Said player was reportedly Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi. According to the same reports, Sorel and Chris have both been banned from Full Tilt Poker.

Further, someone is posting at a website that appears to be Sorel Mizzi’s personal blog. The poster seems to be someone other than Sorel, possibly Chad “lilholdem954” Batista, and the latest post is entitled, “Chris Vaughn should be fired from Bluff Magazine.” (The same post appears on Chad’s blog with the same “posted by” ID.) He wrote, “Chris Vaughn came onto this message board, bragged about his wins, went onto a radio station, gloated about his excellence and now has lost any and all respect anyone in the poker or journalistic community should have for him… Chris Vaughn has crossed the line in both journalism and poker.”

Full Tilt Poker has not made a public statement regarding the disqualification of Chris Vaughn from the $1 Million Guarantee tournament. Bluff Magazine, Sorel Mizzi, and Chris Vaughn have also refrained from making any statements since the new revelations came to light.

Nor has PokerStars made any statements regarding Chris’ win of the October 28th Sunday Millions tournament. Whether an investigation into his play there is being conducted remains to be seen.

It seems that Full Tilt took a proactive role by conducting an internal investigation into a tournament that stirred a bit of controversy amongst observers. In light of the Absolute Poker scandal, as well as the cheating discovered at the recent WCOOP tournament on PokerStars in which the victor was disqualified for using multiple accounts, Full Tilt enforced their rules and disqualified a player for breaking the rules.

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