After the recent controversies involving PokerOK (GG Network's skin in Russia) and poker teams, there was a fear that one of the network's future targets could be Brazil, famous for having the largest number of poker teams in the world.

We talked with the leaders of the largest training and poker backing groups about the new initiative of GG Network's counterpart, PokerOK, directed against their players.


Given what was unfolding, we got in touch with some of the main poker players and team owners in Brazil too. Several players did not want to speak, for fear of having their teams and players harmed in the future.

We collected four of the best comments and brought them to you.

Mateus “Zinhão” Carrión – Metagame

Zinhão is one of the founders and partners of one of the biggest cash game teams in the world, Metagame. Known for always taking a stand on any topic on his social networks, he did not shy away from the controversy surrounding PokerOK and was responsible for the harshest statement among those interviewed.

What is happening in Russia is complete nonsense. I don't know if this Ivan is ignorant, a bad character, or both. But, the actions he promises are unreasonable at every point:

  1. It does not protect the recreational player.
  2. He attacks people who work and don't do anything immoral.
  3. It is a lying action. The teams are very competent and he wants to increase the company's profitability. There's no problem in wanting to increase your ROI, but don't tell me that it's to protect X or Y because that's a lie.

Poker is a people's game, played against people and not against the house. And when there is a fair game, there will always be a winner. There are already casino games that the house will always win in the long run, but people still choose to play them. Why does he want to make poker a casino-like game? Probably because he can't get into a casino game, where the profitability is much higher for the house. This is because the market is gigantic and the entry barriers are very high for new players. That's why he wants to try to ruin poker, but he won't succeed.

The CEO of PokerOK (GGNetwork's Russian skin) spent an entire night talking on a forum about the crusade against poker stables.


Zinhão talks about GG Network taking similar measures in Brazil

Do I fear that this will reach Brazil? Clear. As a team owner and professional player, I certainly fear it. I always fear human greed, but the market is decentralized enough to quickly reorganize itself. There are big players ready to take the place of anyone who falters, so I hope that doesn't happen.

Any serious company with a good moral foundation would have the attitude you mentioned [ed. We asked if GG Network should directly interfere in the management of PokerOK], but I don't think GG is a company like that. I believe that they corroborate Ivan's opinion more than the opposite. I would be pleasantly surprised if they took action against PokerOK.

For sure. The company has been brainwashing the community for some time to show that professional players, teams, and MDA are harmful to the game, but they are not even capable of finding a superuser. GG's game integrity and security department is ridiculous. Extremely small for the size of the site.

About Fedor Holz's statements and the end of data mining on GG Poker

GGPoker's new Integrity Ambassador Fedor Holtz assures that a complete ban on data mining is vital for online gaming. Regulars argue that this will only add problems.


The room's ambassador, Fedor Holz, guarantees that a total ban on data mining is an important part of the fight for the security of online games. Regulars claim this will only add to the problems.

Ridiculous, unreasonable, and demonstrated zero knowledge about MDA. The only reason we need hand histories is to protect ourselves from being stolen. Solely and exclusively. Anyone who has ever done in-depth database analysis knows that you don't even need it anymore once you understand the patterns.

Certainly due to his very poor level of poker, Fedor has no idea what MDA means and has no idea how to use it. You need hundreds of millions of hands to reach any plausible conclusion, and no pool has a stark difference to another. I have been studying MDA since 2016 and none of these measures make a difference, I will list why:

  • If GG bans hand histories tomorrow, it won't change anything. There are dozens of other sites that continue to allow hand histories and you don't need data from that specific field to understand human behavior.
  • "We want to protect recreational players": the regs have changed their behavior a little since 2016, but it was very little, even with the rise of solvers, teams, GTO Wizard, etc. The mistakes made by recreationalists, in general, have always been the same, nothing has changed. Saying that taking hand histories will protect regs is just a mere excuse for not wanting regs to protect themselves from bots and scammers.
  • There is no stopping data mining and MDA. If you ban hand histories tomorrow, the big players in the market will continue to have access, whether they can or not. The only thing you will do is take away access from those who do not have this financial and technological power. Big teams and big companies will continue to find their way to mine data, and there is nothing anyone can do.
  • All sports and activities work based on data mining and analysis. Data is a very important part of all activities and wanting to go against this is simply going against evolution. And do you know why they want to tell this story to put them to sleep? Because the better the regs are, the faster the recs lose and the less rake they pay. They are not worried about the recreational, they just want the recreational to pay more rake.

It's just that they are stupid or bad characters, because if they remove all the hand histories, the teams lose absolutely nothing. Those who understand data, theory and exploitation will continue to understand players' tendencies and exploit them. Do you think anyone stops and analyzes the recreational game of X, Y or Z? We just put them on bigger profiles and the first hand he plays, I already know how he plays. I don't need to study this specific player away from the tables. I've been a winner in NL5k regwars and have never studied a specific player outside the tables. This is not an effective study. If you are a recreational player and are afraid that some regular will study you out of the game or that your HUD will influence something, you are being scammed by the poker site industry.

A good professional doesn't need your data to know how to exploit you. In the first CO flat you give, we already know that you are recreational. In your first bet, we already know your profile, and that won't change, because the MDA is just a complement to everything we managed to learn during thousands of hours of studies. The war against the MDA and poker teams is poker room theater for a few things.

Why are rooms increasingly fighting HUDs, poker teams, and data mining?

I have my assumptions. I don't think they can effectively combat bots and RTA. By ending hand histories they believe they will not be exposed. The excuse? “We are not going to release hand histories to customers because teams will do MDA and beat recreational players more easily.” And that is not true, we will continue to evolve with or without hand histories.

Now, as private companies, they can do whatever they want. If they say they don't want any more team players, what are we going to do? Stop advertising who is on the teams and continue operating. If they don't want us to play there, that's fine, we'll go to other sites and the competitors will follow. They are making the wrong bet. Teams, poker funds, training – these are things inherent to poker. This will not end. People want to evolve. Trying to ban this is simply ridiculous.

Yuri Martins Dzivielevski – NineTales/ RegLife

Yuri is considered the best poker player in Brazil today, in addition to being the Brazilian player who won the most money in live tournaments ($6,126,321). He has four WSOP bracelets and is a partner at NineTales, the largest poker fund in Brazil, which has some of the main high stakes players in Brazil: Bruno Volkmann, Rodrigo Seiji, Pablo Brito, Pedro Garagnani, and Rodrigo Selouan. He also produces content and training for what is considered the largest poker community in Brazil today, RegLife.

This is very crazy. I don't even know what to say. I find it very strange that GG wants to control the uncontrollable. I think that by restricting these things, they will only cause more harm because a few people will have much of an advantage over many. And that's what I always say: it's a competition where everyone knows how it works. If you're competing, you know how online poker works. There are teams, there are people who have HUDs, and there are people who share hands, even if it is prohibited. And that will never end, because it's an online game.

We can't stop people from doing something like this. We cannot go to their house and “arrest” them, prove that they are doing something wrong. So, I believe that there are things that are inevitable. And this issue of wanting to ban teams is really absurd.

Of course, I think they have to be against some practices, especially ghosting, collusion, and everything else, but I believe that a minority of teams do this kind of thing. And if any team is blatantly dishonest and does these things, I completely agree that they have to shut down those teams. And if a team is declared dishonest and does these things, then I completely agree that they have to break up these teams. But if the team is honest, just providing bankroll and training for its players, there's no problem with that.

Vinicius “Ganso” de Paula – Simba Poker Team

Ganso has been a professional poker player for over 10 years. He began his development at the Uruguayan poker school. Just over four years ago he founded the Simba Poker Team, which became the most profitable poker team on apps in Brazil, with an exclusive division for High Rollers tournaments.

Photo: Diego Scorvo (CardPlayer Brasil)

My opinion is simple: they are trying to find blame where there is no blame. I know that there are some Russian teams that use illegal HUDs, RTAs, and things like that, and then they really have to ban them. As well as the use of bots and other illegal practices. But the biggest problem, which they don't talk about, is the site's security. PokerStars, which has always been a reference in security, never touched on this issue. If there was a problem at Stars, regardless of whether it was with stables or a recreational player, they simply banned it. The whole problem with GG Network is that their website security is poor. They don't invest enough in security. Now they are trying to ban the stables. It's the same thing as the guy who finds his wife cheating on him on the couch in his house and instead of solving the real problem, he sells the couch. That's what PokerOK is doing.

Can this arrive in Brazil? I find it very difficult. Brazil's ecosystem is basically stables. It is the country with the most teams in the world. Secondly, Brazilian stables form a lot of fields. In other words, many of the tournaments happen because of Brazilian stables. They will lose a huge part of their field. This directly reflects on the company's profit.

I'm all for attacking people who are doing illegal things. Now, there can be no witch hunt regarding poker teams. It is essential that you have poker teams, they form players, who form other players, who form fields, who generate rake and who make poker what it is today. Trying to break up poker teams borders on pathetic and would be a setback for the game.

The partner of a large Brazilian poker team who asked not to be identified and also not to identify his team, for fear of reprisals in the future, also hit out hard at the Russian skin:

This Ivan is a complete lunatic. It can be seen that he is a guy who doesn't really care about poker, but about the amount of money he will win at the end of the month. First, he talks about combating illegal practices, such as RTA, ghosting and collusion, but in a second moment, he just attacks poker teams and talks about turning poker into slot machines.

I hope that GG Network was led astray by him, because it is inconceivable that the biggest player in the market supports attitudes like this. However, it wouldn't surprise me, since the network, in general, has been taking very strange actions recently.

I'm really afraid for the future of poker teams in Brazil. Everything shows that there could be an “Online Poker Inquisition”, and the poker teams would be the innocent ones to be burned at the stake.

GG should review its processes, focus on security and form partnerships with poker teams, because no one knows more about security and fair play than us, players on teams who play and breathe the game practically 24 hours a day.

My advice to GG managers is: be careful! Giants have fallen before for much less (see the case of partypoker and PokerStars). It may sound cliché, but getting to the top is much easier than staying there, and destroying a legacy is much simpler than building one.