Prahlad Friedman vs. Justin Bonomo Fight Gets More Ugly

Written by:
Patrick Flanigan
Published on:
Prahlad Friedman vs. Justin Bonomo

An intense Twitter fight between poker pros Prahlad Friedman and Justin Bonomo continued this week following allegations made by Friedman that Bonomo and fellow poker player Isaac Haxton of account sharing. 

The activity has been deemed against policy at some online poker rooms, including Full Tilt Poker, which has closed accounts based on the practice.

Friedman, who now plays exclusively with premium sponsor, tweeted a few days ago:

Iassac Haxton and Justin Bonomo share and switch accounts often. Was playing random guy and looked up his stats. Identical to Hax.

Haxton knows I don't want to play him head up. So scummy.

Beware of their scummy tactics.

They have been doing this to me for years. No more.

Bonomo went on to blast Friedman on the posting forum. 

It's such a shame. Up until earlier today I had a lot of respect for Prahlad. I am currently in San Francisco on vacation with my girlfriend, and was not happy when I heard Prah was tweeting baseless accusations about myself and Ike.

Ike talks a lot about the very strict HU ethics he practices. He could make a lot of money making new screen names on FTP and playing people that refuse to play him. It's against the rules, and against the high stakes communities' code of ethics, so he doesn't do it. This is very honorable.

For me personally, ever since my second chance I have been extremely paranoid about making any kind of mistake. I won't even let friends fold for me while I'm in the bathroom. Those that know me IRL will attest that I have not done anything remotely shady in 5+ years. I hold myself to a very high ethical standard. I am unbelievably lucky to have been given a second chance, and I'm not going to squander that. Needless to say, I don't take these accusations Prah has been throwing around lightly.

As I imagine PTR, HSDB etc. would show, Ike and I have both played Prah on FTP and Stars. We have played quite a bit, and until recently I had no idea he suspected us of sharing accounts. As I said above, we have always stuck to our own accounts.

To the best of my knowledge, all three sites in question (Stars, FTP, Cereus) acknowledge that there is no one player to a hand rule online. Prah however isn't accusing us of talking strategy, ghosting, or coaching. He is accusing us of outright cheating and account sharing. This is so absurdly ridiculous. He has absolutely no proof of this. I shouldn't have to say this, but I will go one step further just for the sake of clearing up any ambiguity: Ike and I both find it distracting and harmful to play with other people in the room. If Ike has been around me while playing Prah, or vice versa, it has been for less than 1% of hands played vs him. We have both played on our own vs Prah over a very large sample size.

To Prah I issue a live battleship-style HU challenge. 3+ tables, minimum stakes 25/50. If you agree to play 10,000+ hands of 50/100, I will personally fly to LA to play you in person. If that number is too large, I offer you a few other options. You are welcome to stay in my apartment in Las Vegas (guest master bedroom, all yours) if it means you will play me HU. Naturally that is a lot to ask, so instead you could have a mutually trusted friend sweat the match from my apartment. Perhaps a UB pro like Sebok? I imagine he'd be happy to do this for the publicity it would bring Poker Road. If for some reason you don't trust him, or he can't sweat the match, I'm sure we can come up with a mutually trusted overseer/arbitrator. Who knows which sites you think are crooked, and which ones aren't, so you can personally pick the site we play on. We can even add in a 200k stop-loss or something if that would make you feel more comfortable.

As for the UB account accusations, I have a few things to say. First of all, if Prah actually did know the true owner of the account, it would be extremely unprofessional and a violation of customers' expectation of privacy for him to out another player's identity. If this were shown to be the case, it would be clearly unnaccaptebal on not only Prah's behalf, but also on UB's. Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt and say he came to this conclusion on his own, there are still quite a few problems with his behavior. A) He has no proof. B) He has not explored any reasonable alternative (similar styles of play, legally having an account on AP, and UB, etc.) C) He has done virtually no research before throwing accusations of cheating and perhaps most ridiculously of all D) He is first sharing this information to the world via lol-twitter. As for the side accusation of Isaac playing Prahlad against his will: Isaac has the right to anonymity so long as he follows the site's ToS. There would be nothing wrong with this behavior IMHO.

Now Haxton has jumped into the fray, accusing Friedman of essentially being a hypocrite.

In the past three years, Prahlad has told me in chat on Stars, FTP and UB that he is quitting me, HUNL, and poker in general many times and never stayed away (from accounts he obviously knew were mine) for more than a few months at a time.

No sign yet this fight is going to get physical…but just in case, Friedman may be getting ready.

He tweeted on Wednesday evening: 

I've been on the weights, 500 shots a day at least, running, and watching hoops round the clock. I want this.

- Patrick Flanagan,