Posts Tagged ‘Howard Lederer

21
Dec
09

The Lost Boyd

Let me take you back to 2004. Poker was in the midst of the ‘Moneymaker Effect’, the world was captivated and confused in equal measure by Greg ‘Fossilman’ Raymer, and The Crew were set to take over the world.

Led by Russ ‘Dutch’ Boyd, and featuring an assortment of exciting young players including bracelet winners Brett Jungblut and Scott Fischman, The Crew were seen by some to be emblematic of the first wave of young internet pros.

But the game has passed them by somewhat, with Fischman the only member of the group close to keeping pace with the even younger and even more aggressive twentysomethings coming through towards the end of the decade.

Even Fischman’s final table at 2008s WSOPE Main Event pales in comparison to the expectations surrounding The Crew when they burst on to the scene in the first half of the decade.

Now Boyd is back in the news, but it’s not for his poker play.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=scott+fischman&iid=1861118″ src=”0/1/d/3/NBCs_4th_National_b189.jpg?adImageId=9578592&imageId=1861118″ width=”428″ height=”594″ /]

Crew member Scott Fischman

……….

2+2=5

It emerged recently that the 29-year-old is being sued by popular poker forum Two Plus Two for trademark infringement, with regards to the domain name ‘twoplustwopoker.com’ which he registered in 2004.

Despite the name having expired, Two Plus Two owner Mason Malmuth continues to seek damages from Boyd for what he has described as a “blatantly infringing, bad-faith registration.”

As Boyd’s site – when it existed – offered links to other poker-themed websites, so it is easy to see why Malmuth would take issue with what he might see as an exploitation of the respected ‘Two Plus Two’ banner for Boyd’s personal gain.

So, what has caused someone like Boyd, who once had the potential to let his poker do the talking, to find himself back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons?

Spot of bother

This is not the first time controversy has courted the University of Missouri graduate. Back in 2001, before his WSOP breakthrough, his ‘PokerSpot’ online cardroom landed him in all sorts of difficulties.

When PokerSpot closed down, it was alleged that the company failed to return players’ funds to the tune of around $400,000.

After months of silence, during which a number of players were unable to withdraw funds from the site for a variety of reasons, Boyd provided this open letter.

And the main issue to this day is arguably not the failure to recompense people who deposited money on PokerSpot per se, but rather the alleged reneging on promises – that’s right, promises – that the money would be returned.

Of course I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, but if this money is still yet to find its way back to its rightful owners, then might Boyd be able to pay back any existing debts with the money earned through his more recent venture twoplustwopoker.com?

Dutch courage

It is certainly true that the online game is not what it once was. The top players are increasingly aggressive, the pots are getting bigger, and the variance is growing to unprecedented levels.

And while many pros have no trouble making money from the online game, several of them have begun looking elsewhere to generate a more steady income to augment the money they make playing poker.

Howard Lederer, once one of the best players in the world, has arguably found it hard to compete with the best of the best as the structure and makeup of the game has changed.

But he is now seemingly set for life due to his involvement with Full Tilt Poker, a company which brings in many millions a year for the 14 pros who make up ‘Team Full Tilt.’

With this in mind, Boyd’s early venture with PokerSpot showed him to be ahead of his time. But the bottom line is it didn’t work out for him, in terms of income and reputation.

And surely the best option for Boyd is to stay away from controversy, stay out of the headlines, and go back to doing what he does best so he remains well-known as a poker player.

At this stage I do not want to say too much, as as far as I can tell the talks between Boyd and Malmuth are still ongoing and the argument – if not necessarily ‘raging’ – is still very much alive.

All I feel justified to comment on so far is the fall from grace of a player who had the potential to become one of the game’s greatest.

Now, unless a resolution can be found, it looks as though Boyd may be travelling down the same road once trodden by his namesake Russ Hamilton – a road which may end in him being remembered for something other than his poker ability.

And I think we can all agree that this would be a huge shame, as – regardless of the dated and sometime-ridiculous marketing of the crew – there is no doubting the talent and intellect of Dutch Boyd.

Scott Fischman’s website: http://www.scottfischman.com/

Howard Lederer profile: http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/howard-lederer

Team Full Tilt: http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/our-team

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Hi I’m Tom. I’m a freelance journalist, and I recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Cardiff University. In my spare time I like to play, watch and talk about poker. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

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