The Morning After The Night Before With ACR Boss Phil Nagy

When news broke that ACR boss Phil Nagy would be locking horns with Joey Ingram, the poker world waited with baited breath – would the pair continue the duel that saw them exchange harsh words last year? Or would they find a common ground in the fight against poker bots, the bane of the online poker community?

By: Andrew Burnett

HighStakesDB decided that an extra few questions for the WPN head honcho were in order to clarify a few details and find out Phil’s thoughts on his Joe Ingram podcast appearance in general…

Q: Did the discussion go as you expected – or much better/worse?

I had no idea what to expect. To be honest, I was as nervous before it started than I might have been ever. We have not been on the best of terms for over a year and I didn’t know what to expect.

Q: You seemed to win Joey over on most points – was that a surprise?

I think winning over is a strong term. My goal was not to win anyone over but to keep them watching for changes and hold us accountable on a regular basis. I hope by the beginning of the week to have a high-level plan laid out with dates and more detail to come shortly after.

Q: Joey is an influential person in the industry/community –was that a big part of the reason for going on his show? Or was it more to clear the air after last year’s falling out?

Well, the way I am looking at it is if I go on with Joey there’s no one in the community that will hold me more accountable than your biggest sceptic. I don’t pay him, he has no motivation to soft play me and I think any operator who truly wants to get better needs that.

Q: You seem genuinely dedicated to weeding out the bots and cheats – why are people so negative about attempts to do so?

That’s easy - because people expect more from me/WPN. That’s how we grew so rapidly and why it was/is so disappointing when we have not lived up to those expectations. I can’t say it won’t happen again, what I can say is we will fail but we will do so quickly and find ways to recover quickly - and be open about it.

Q: What response do you expect from the poker community at large to the podcast?

I am getting everything from ‘you are the same Piece of S%#t you’ve always been’, to ‘that’s the WPN we know and love’.

I expect to keep people’s attention and when they feel comfortable enough they will see what I see - a company that is good for poker.

Q: Can you try to put a % on the number of bot accounts?

If I could do that then it would already be 0%. I’m changing to a two pronged approach:

  1. Working to identify potential bots.
  2. Identifying everyone playing any amount of volume starting at the top working our way down.

I think that with some time we will then be able to focus on knowing who is who before they get to be higher volume. I’ll keep people posted on results, as if we’re not getting expected results we will change the approach.

Q: Have you ever considered using/paying bot designers to catch other bots?

Yes. But it’s hard to trust someone with that kind of stuff. I am looking at things like what Netflix did.

Q: You said a few times there are no industry standards on how to go about dealing with bots – how can you change that?

I can only lead by example (a less than ideal one so far). Should I succeed to the level I would like to, I hope to pass on the knowledge to the rest of the industry. Time will tell.

Q: Can ACR’s recent work on bots/reimbursements become that standard?

I think it’s a starting point. I don’t know if that’s a really big # or really small # for other companies I don’t have that kind of insight in their business.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about the Costa Rica expansion?

Well less than a year ago I moved the business as we grew out of the space we were in. We did it again so I went with way more than we currently need with the expectation to grow into it. I don’t want to say more about that as a building should not give false brand association.

In closing, let’s mark this date on the calendar and plan some regular updates - starting with a transparent, high-level plan. I should have something for the world on that early next week.


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