Chris Battenfield has been cleared of cheating by WSOP.com after an investigation into real-time assistance (RTA) use during play concluded no breach of regulations occurred.
The American was flagged as a suspected cheater two weeks ago after a selection of hands that he played was picked up by the GTO Wizard Fair Play Check.
Mike "BrockLesnar" Holtz accused Battenfield of using GTO Wizard to solve hands during play after he became suspicious of his play during a $2,000 bracelet event.
Holtz contacted WSOP.com after the Fair Play Check indicated five hands that exactly matched those played by Battenfield were solved at the same time.
According to Battenfield, WSOP.com placed a temporary hold on his account pending an investigation. However, the site and GTOWizard worked together to ascertain the truth and ultimately verified that he was not using the tool during play.
The temporary ban on Battenfield’s account was lifted on October 17 and he quickly took to X/Twitter to let the world know he was not a cheater.
How reliable is GTO Wizard's Fair Play Check for catching cheaters?
The incident has highlighted the shortcomings of the Fair Play Check tool in identifying cheaters and its susceptibility to false positives.
The tool lets users see whether a hand was solved within a precise timeframe but doesn’t show who may have been using RTA, so further investigation is needed.
The controversy also involved how effective the Fair Play Check will turn out to be in the long run, as the tool has already undergone one update and now offers additional information in query results. The update may help reduce the frequency of “false positive” results but nothing is certain.
Given how quickly many assumed Battenfield’s guilt on X/Twitter, we hope that people will act more cautiously in the future.
We also hope that GTO Wizard doesn’t come under any fire during these early days in development of Fair Play Check.
The firm has partnered with major poker operators WPN and WPT Global to combat online cheating and create a safer poker landscape that protects the long-term health of the game.
We should applaud them for heading down this road when many software providers declined in fear of a loss of profits. The collaboration aims to develop and implement anti-cheating measures to ensure fair play.
Matt Berkey, who has actively promoted the topic of the Fair Play Check in his podcasts, was quick to apologise to Chris Battenfield.
“I’m a bit regretful of jumping the gun and being the town crier to put people on high alert that these positives are out there, and that Battenfield is potentially someone that was using GTOWizard in real time.
“But at the same point, I feel like there’s a responsibility for people in the community to pressure the operators and make these stories go public.”
We can clearly see that online poker has a need for better tools to detect cheating but we’re getting there.