Jason Mo Gives an Insider’s View on the Jungleman/Perkins Cheating Scandal

When Bill Perkins went public with his private game cheating controversy last week, with Dan Jungleman Cates named by Dan Bilzerian as the main culprit, there was plenty of finger-pointing and discussion in the poker community.

The views of the top pros weren’t exactly illuminating, but among those who never seem scared to speak out is Jason Mo – and we caught up with the highstakes pro to gauge his reaction to the ‘scandal’ and his take on private games and the role of poker media

Q: What is your opinion on the Jungleman vs Bill Perkins cheating scandal?

I'm not sure if i understand exactly what happened but from what's out there, I feel bad for both parties honestly.  Bill wanted to play a friendly high stakes recreational game and someone in the game hustled him. I assume he felt personal trust violated.

Jungle was probably offered a spot in a good game and didn’t think too much of it besides its overall EV.  He knows cheating is rampant in these games and has been for years. I think he thought these spots were standard since so many people do the same and didn’t consider the ethics of the matter the same way Bill did.

Q: What has your experience been playing on poker apps?

As expected in unregulated 3rd party apps, there's a huge amount of unethical behavior. Ghosting, to me, is one of the least concerning things that happens, in my opinion, since you still get a fair game to play, you just have to play against a stronger opponent.

Much larger problems are collusion both in the form of organized betting strategies and card information sharing. Even on regulated sites a lot of this happens, because poker is such a nuanced game where high level collusion can be spotted by a skilled player easily but your average player or site security operator wouldn’t understand.

It’s worse on the app because being a winning cheater requires less skill and you are able to be more blatant with collusion with little recourse. 

I know many apps have developed security features like IP restrictions, cameras and voice chat features, along with collusion detection software, however most are still fairly primitive and don’t really prevent seasoned cheaters from cheating.

Q: What's your experience been with playing in private games both live and online?

I haven’t played many private games live, in general there's no reason for anyone to invite me to good games because I am likely winning at a good rate in most of these games and I don’t add much value to the game itself.

I've played some semi-private games online via apps, overall haven’t had many issues in these games but without a doubt there were multiple people in the games being ghosted by better players. I've played millions of hands online though, so this is sort of expected by me, and I went into all those games knowing that it was not only a possibility but likely happening.

I think most high stakes regulars would feel this way as well, that they usually don’t get a completely fair game when playing these spots but the possible upside outweighs these risks.

Q: Top 3 tips for a pro wanting to get into a private/recreational cash game?

I’m the wrong person to ask about this, but I assume you want to make friends and network with the game organizers, be friendly and fun to play with at the table, and also play a bit looser and give good action rather than being a silent nit at the table. Or find one of many recs who will have no problem letting you play on their accounts for profitshare.

Q: Big rumors have circulated that other pros are doing the same. Do you know of any?

Yes, plenty. I’d bet if you looked at a group of the biggest (non mtt) poker winners in the past few years, well over 50% of them have done something similar. You simply don’t make that kind of money playing public high stakes games on regulated sites. 

Q: Should Dan have been outed as he was?

Probably not but there was no turning back when Bill made that outrageous dramatic post about the situation being much worse than Postle when it's not even in the same ballpark in terms of magnitude.

Dan gets thrown under a bus because Bill finds out and he’s a big name with a big personality and active on Twitter even though his anger should be more directed towards the businessman in his game who sold his account.

I bet if this happened with the 100’s of other high stakes private games that run, it likely would have been settled privately among the group rather than what transpired.

I know this is not the first time a big name pro got caught playing a recs only private game, but usually what happens is the rec who sells his account is kicked from the game and outed among the rest of the players rather than a public lynching of the pro who played on the recs account.

Q: Whose side of the scandal are you on?

Not really on any side, but lean towards Jungle based on how Bill handled it. I think Bill is right to be upset that cheating was occurring in his game, way too naive thinking this is the exception rather than the norm.

There is a heavy amount of cheating on every site and in every form of poker, and it's a bit of a disservice to other recreational players playing other games and stakes to let them think that they are playing a fair game when most of the time they are not. 

I think Jungle should not have been playing on a rec account if he understood the rules of the game and he was friends with Bill. However the whole thing should have been handled privately instead of the dramatic mess it has become.

This isn’t a case of systematic cheating that affects the whole community like other scandals in the past, it sounds like it was one guy in one game that was private to begin with. No reason to ever get on Twitter and cause drama as part of the resolution.

Q: What is your opinion of Jungleman as a pro/person?

Known Jungle for years, he’s a good guy, never had any issues with him in terms of trust or ethics. He's also a very good poker player, probably the most naturally talented player I know. I think it's pretty unfortunate that this happened to him the way that it did. I think people take advantage of him and he has been cheated/stolen from far more often than he has engaged in unethical behavior himself.

Poker is full of villains, some of the worst scum on earth. Jungle is far from that person but suddenly is the poster boy for this “scandal” while everyone else lies low and carries on their business.

Q: What is your opinion of Bill Perkins as a poker enthusiast and person?

I’ve never spoken to him or know much about him that's not public, but Bill seems like a good guy, not a great poker player but loves the challenges of playing against better players. He seems honest and trustworthy, just a bit naive as to what happens in high stakes poker which makes sense that he was shocked by what happened.

Whilst we have you…

Q: Worst 3 things about poker right now?

  • Botting/collusion/general cheating and sites inability to combat it effectively. 
  • Illegally operated sites and money laundering operations behind them.
  • Poker “media” being utter garbage for years, employing “journalists” who have very little understanding of anything, along with the outlets themselves being bought and used as advertising platforms rather than actual media outlets.

Almost nothing of value actually gets reported because they don’t want to piss off the companies who they are generating ad revenue from.

The only real good poker content comes from guys like Joe Ingram, who seems to genuinely care about the poker community and isn’t cucked by major companies, so he's able to produce meaningful content, good or bad.

I know this first hand because I (among several other prominent players) was cheated at PokerStars sanctioned events in the past, no media outlet wrote even a few lines anywhere to cover the whole thing, yet Joey let me on his podcast for a few hours to talk to me about the situation I faced.

A poke in the eye for poker media for sure, but also an interesting glimpse into how the poker world operates and is seen by an experienced world-class pro.

The Perkins/Jungleman story will likely rumble on for a while yet, but for the average player it seems a world-removed from their experiences at the tables.

If you think it should have been dealt with privately, or it’s something that needs to be publicly known and aired, feel free to comment on our Twitter page.


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