It's been a long road, and I am tired.
Surely all of you by now have heard about the scandal that
just took place. Jose "Girah" Macedo scammed several players out of money, and
by being around the scandal many fingers have been pointed at me for supposedly
taking part. I've spent the last couple of days defending myself on TwoPlusTwo,
trying my best to answer every question asked of me, but the reality is that my
name has been dragged so far through the mud that there's not much left to
salvage. I've been dropped by Cardrunners, since they obviously can't have
their names anywhere near me (which I understand completely) and a great many
people who previously respected me now think I'm dishonest, and some even think
I'm a mastermind puppeteer scam artist. And that sucks, but it is what it is. I
suppose nothing that has been hoisted on me I haven't brought upon myself in
some way in how I've handled this mess.
I will be the first to admit that I made many mistakes
throughout this. For playing on Girah's account of course, in my handling this
scandal and my interactions with TwoPlusTwo, but most especially for being
dishonest and trying to protect myself and those around me. I've been angry,
anxious, hasty, selfish and often thoughtless in how I've handled this.
Admittedly, if I were on the outside, I would be pointing fingers at me too,
calling for my own crucifixion; the way this scandal came out was full of drama
and excitement, and managed to dance many times around suggesting me as privy
to the con, then backing off for a bit, then starting again. Despite its
absurdity, it was at once fascinating and stomach-churning to watch.
I know that I did not scam anyone, nor did I do anything to
hurt anyone. I know that Jose duped me as he duped almost everyone. But in fear
for myself, and for those around me, I have been dishonest and have tried to
protect myself from some of the things that I did, and I have backed myself
into a corner. I have been afraid of getting accused of something I did not do.
Being afraid is tiring.
I feel like I've been through a whirlwind. Over the last
week, a kid who I have for almost a year now thought of as a younger brother,
who I had faith in and spent many days and nights trying to help out and give
advice and build his career, who I've laughed with, taught, and encouraged...
betrayed my trust, scammed me and my friend, has caused an enormous explosion
in the poker world and shattered my career, and all the while as I have left my
home for Europe for the first time uprooting and taking my entire life with me,
trying in vain to get sleep with what has felt like a rock sitting in my
stomach, all while trying defend myself to the poker community. I have been
berated, had my finances and years of public reputation questioned and attacked,
and have been demonized by the mass of TwoPlusTwo. And while all this has
happened, I've done my best to help the victims uncover this scam and get them
paid, initially worked with Jose to ensure that he remained willing to pay
everyone back, since the last few days have tried desperately to get back in
touch with him, and have tried what I could to protect my friends from the
shrapnel of this mess. I am tired.
Honestly, what hurts is not the accusations or the
speculation or any of that. I knew once this story came around, for my part in
supporting Jose through his career I would get hell from the poker world. It's
strange, but what hurt the most was getting cut from Cardrunners. Which seems
like a small thing - I expected it, after all CR has had to deal with in the
last couple of years of scandals and bad PR, I feel for them that they have to
deal with me now - but for some reason, it made me feel incredibly sad. And I
realize that in a way, it's a dismissal of everything that I've worked for over
these last 5 years. The most curious thing is that of all of the people who try
to accuse me of being a scammer or a cheat or being in the know on Jose's
tricks, or even the people who question my finances - the only people speaking
out are the people who don't know me.
Virtually everybody who does actually know me and has dealt with me in my poker
career has no doubt of my trustworthiness. Not that that matters, really, and I
know that too.
I look back and realize that poker has been 5 years of my
life now. 5 years! Shit. That's almost a quarter of me. I look back to the
person I was when I started, an aimless and confused 16 year old boy - and,
well... okay, I guess not that much has changed in that respect, but hey, I've
got time to figure that out too.
I did a final interview in Bluff, confessing to everything
I've done and addressing some of the other questions and accusations that
people have been making towards me, but honestly, I'm done with it and tired of
it. I spoke to them for quite some time so I don't know how much and what
exactly they published, but I don't particularly care at this point. I'm not
sure what incentive I would have to keep coming back for more when the online
poker world is done with me. Which is okay I guess - the way it all ended up
coming out couldn't make me look any worse. I can see in my most lucid moments
how all of the connections, the coincidences, the misrememberings and other little
things could point towards some sort of nefarious plot behind it all. But the
truth is, all I wanted to do was to be a brother to Jose. It seems silly now,
but helping him to write things, giving him advice, and backing him for games,
encouraging him when he was downswinging; I always had faith in him and just
wanted to help him, I was happy to see his success and wanted to see him grow.
People seem to want to think of me as malicious and are trying to come up with
reasons as to why I'd want to fabricate an identity and deceive the poker world,
hatch some huge plot to steal from people, but I don't understand that really.
I think the malicious people are far and few between in this world. Most
everyone out there just wants to help people, and sometimes they choose the
wrong people to help. I chose the wrong person to help, and believe me when I
say that it hurts me that I did, a lot more than anyone else has been hurt in
this. I feel very betrayed and confused by everything that's happened. And
understandably the poker world is too. I don't know what to make of most of it.
But I'm done trying to fix everything. It occurs to me that I don't want
anymore what I've been trying so hard to fix.
I have lost the respect of many people who once respected me
from all that has come out. And that's okay, I will be alright. And Twoplustwo
now demonizes me, and that's alright as well. I know what I did and what I
didn't do, my friends know what I did and what I didn't do, and that's all that
really matters. The outcry of internet forums is not so scary when I think
about it. But, there are also people who I truly respect in the poker world as
well (some who I don't know personally), who think less of me now after seeing
the way I have handled myself and learning of all that I did do. And that does
hurt. And I will have to live with that, and carry it with me. And maybe
someday I will become someone to earn back their respect too. But to those who
think I had some part in Jose scamming people, that I knew anything about any
of his lies, I am done trying to convince everyone of the truth. I have more
important things to worry about than what people who don't know me or know the
facts think about me. At this point, I owe it to myself to get on with my life
and focus on myself.
I don't know what I'm going to do now, but it won't be
poker. I have been playing for 5 years. I started with a free $50 bonus when I
was 16 years old, and have since made well over a million dollars playing
poker. Tens of thousands of players have learned from me, I have coached
hundreds, and I have made very close friends with many along the way. I think
I've known for some time though that poker has nothing more to teach me - has
nothing more to give me. That my passion for not just poker itself, but for the
experience of being a poker player, has been exhausted. My heart has been
telling me this for a long time now, but my brain has been difficult to
convince. But I realize all that's left for me in the poker world is money. And
money is nice; even now I can still make a lot of it, playing, coaching, doing
the poker thing. But I don't have much need for money I think. I don't know how
I'm going to be making money for a while now, but I have plenty of money saved
up and plenty of real estate and investments that will support me for a while.
The first thing I have decided to do is travel. I am in London
now, which is as good a place as any to start. When I say travel, I mean travel.
Not bouncing around airports, staying in casinos and resorts and hanging out
with other gamblers. I am going to leave most of my stuff in Nottingham and
embark with as little as I can. I don't know how much I'll plan it out, but I
am going to try to travel across Europe by myself. I imagine I will learn and
experience a lot, and I will probably write a lot as well. I don't know what I
will get out of this, but it's something I've always been afraid of doing. I've
always managed to convince myself that because of poker, it wasn't the right
thing to do. Poker I think has always been an excuse of sorts to hold me back
from throwing myself into things. It occurs to me that I am relieved to be free
I will be abandoning this blog and starting a new one just
for myself. I am going to ban myself from TwoPlusTwo and hang up my hat when it
comes to the poker world. I don't want any part in it anymore. And of course
from all this, I have no doubt many people will think that I am guilty or that I
am fleeing or that I'm a bad person or whatever. And to those people, I have no
problem with you thinking what you think, but I respectfully ask that you keep
those thoughts to yourself or on your forum of choice. But to those of you who
think that despite all this shit, I just might be alright, I encourage you to
follow my new blog. I will no longer be reachable by any other means and I will
no longer be engaging the poker world. You can find this blog here: http://inanitylane.blogspot.com/
, as well as a way to contact me. The only further engagement I will have with
this whole affair is working with those directly involved including the victims
and trying to get a hold of Jose himself. I hope that you all will have the
grace not to contact me about any of this, as I have already said I have no
desire to try to defend myself or engage this mess any further. I just want
some peace. But if you are genuinely
interested in speaking to me or possibly even meeting me on my travels, then I
look forward to your contact.
Someday in the not-too-far-away future, I will be writing a
book about all of this and more.
I imagine for the vast majority of you, if you will not be
following me in the rest of my adventures, this is where we part ways. I want
to say to you, thank you for everything. Despite all of the crap that poker has
put me through, I have learned a lot. Goodbye, and I truly hope you all will be
well and happy.
For those who will follow me, I welcome each and every one of
you. And I hope to learn even more.
- Haseeb "INTERNETPOKERS", "Dog Is Head" Qureshi