The Muck: Terrence Chan, Mike McDonald in Dispute Over PokerShares Bet

Terrence Chan believes he was wronged by PokerShares.

It wouldn't be the first bet to come between friends — or poker players.

On Monday, Terrence Chan took to Twitter to air a dispute in which he's embroiled against Mike "Timex" McDonald and his PokerShares betting site.

McDonald responded in less than kind fashion, and the Twitter snipes have continued through Tuesday.

The Bet

According to Chan, he was scrolling through Twitter when he thought he spotted a posting from PokerShares that looked like it offered a wager with positive expected value. The line in question was in regards to the upcoming heads-up no-limit hold'em match between upcoming pro Landon Tice and popular recreational player Bill Perkins.

Here's what Chan was looking at with a mix of confusion and a sense of opportunity:

PlayerOdds to Win (U.S.)Odds to Win (Decimal)
Bill Perkins-1091.92
Landon Tice-1091.92

The market was titled "Bill Perkins vs. Landon Tice HU Challenge." According to the terms of the challenge, which encompasses 20,000 hands of $200/$400, Tice must pay 9 BB/100, which amounts to $720,000. The winner will be the player who shows a profit post-handicap.

Chan, apparently under the impression the market was for who would win more money straight up, thought the line "seemed strange" and canvassed a few friends. None seemed to believe anything was too crazy, with only one calling it a good bet, but Chan put in a max wager of €1,000. He attempted to fire two more max bets when the line didn't move, but those were subsequently canceled because of the site's policy of a €1,000 max on the market per user.

PokerShares and McDonald Respond

Chan said he later received an email from PokerShares clarifying the market: the price on the match included the $720,000 handicap. Tice would need to win more than $720,000 in order to be graded as the winner.

"Should you have placed your bet without understanding the above, you have 24 hours to cancel the bet by responding to this email," the site wrote.

McDonald had a considerably more direct response to Chan's attempted action.

"Are you dumb?" he wrote in a private message shared by Chan.

The whole thing is worth a look, but the two proceeded to argue about whether McDonald should accept the bet as Chan intended, since the terms weren't spelled out explicitly.

McDonald pointed out the terms and conditions include a clause about erroneous lines, and he accused Chan of angleshooting.

Chan, for his part, maintained, this isn't how a reputable company in the gambling industry should treat its customers. He said his time at PokerStars taught him better.

"I’m old school," he wrote. "Everything I learned about this business is from Isai Scheinberg, a guy who would give players the best of it even when they screwed up, much less when we screwed up. Isai would give people back $1,000 SNG buy-ins because they fell asleep and forgot to unreg!"

As the two couldn't come to an agreement, Chan opted to take everything public and see what the people thought.

Poker Pros React

Public opinion began pouring in, as it is wont to do on Twitter, but Chan may have gotten less support than he hoped to garner. Several high-profile pros opined that McDonald was in the right, level of civility in communication notwithstanding.

Still, some thought McDonald should just honor the bet as Chan thought he was booking it.

A poll from Ryan Riess showed the community split almost evenly.

The Aftermath

If one expected cooler heads to prevail and some sort of agreement to come about after everyone had a night of sleep to relax and think things over, one would have come out disappointed.

Monday night, McDonald had challenged Chan to post screenshots of his conversations with friends proving he wasn't trying to angle. He said he would donate $20,000 to a charity of Chan's choice if he could provide such evidence.

While that may be a tough thing to prove, Chan did offer one screenshot with a friend's name blanked out in which the friend informed him of the handicap, which seemed to surprise Chan.

McDonald was less than satisfied, and Chan responded that he couldn't offer anything more without revealing people's identities. Seemingly sick of the entire thing and ready to put everything to rest, Chan said he needed to get back to his life as a parent, and he posted a screenshot of a $1K donation to charity he made so "something good" could come of the mess.

"I'll admit I've made mistakes and said some things I shouldn't have said," he wrote. "I'm still absolutely grossed out people are saying I angled, but defending myself is costing me more emotional energy than I have, so I'm letting this one go and imposing a temporary self Twitter ban."

McDonald was less sanguine.

  • It started as a simple bet and ended in a Twitter war. Read about Terrence Chan vs. Mike McDonald.

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