Poker Ramblings of cmitch

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Talk about an "oops".

Full Tilt Poker sends out regular "Tips from the Pros" by email from the "pros" that are affiliated with their site. Last week a "Tip from the Pros" was sent out by Clonie Gowen. It was a tip concerning Re-buy strategy titled, "Clonie Gowen Presents: 'How Many Re-Buys?'" dated April 10, 2006.

There was one major problem with the article - the first paragraph was plagarized from an article by Josh Supsak (aka JSup) that was written for and posted on on 10/6/2005.

Listed below is the first paragraph of her tip:

"Re-buy tournaments are my favorite types of tournaments to play. I am not much of a gambler away from poker; I rarely play table games like craps or blackjack, and I never bet on sports. My tournament style, and overall poker style for that matter, is generally tight-aggressive, but during re-buy tournaments, I use a different strategy that is fun to play and has given me a great deal of success in the past."

Now for the first paragraph from JSup's article:

"Rebuy tournaments are my favorite types of tournaments to play. I am not much of a gambler away from poker; I rarely play table games like craps or blackjack and I never bet on sports. My tournament style, and overall poker style for that matter is more of a tight aggressive style, but during rebuy tournaments I use a different strategy that is fun to play and has given me a great deal of success in the past. "


Pocketfives like always was on top of the problem. They contacted FTP which in turn contacted Clonie Gowen and she issued a formal apology on the forum.

You can view the thread at this link. Her apology is posted below:


From: Clonie Gowen

First, let me begin by apologizing to the Pocket Fives online community. Simply put, this is the most foolish thing that I have ever done and I am sincerely sorry. This is the type of action that you might expect from a teenager, but certainly not from a Full Tilt Poker Pro.

There is definitely no excuse for my actions, but I want to add a slight bit of clarification. It is important that you know that I employ an editor/collaborator, as many pros do. Rick Fuller edits most of my writing, which is something I will definitely reconsider moving forward. In a moment of very poor judgment, when editing this tip he added some copy that was obviously taken from another source - an action that goes totally against my professional ethics. In so doing, he created a tip that under no circumstance I would have submitted knowingly. He executed extremely poor judgment, as did I by not proofing the final version.

There is no excuse for this and ultimately the end product is my responsibility; a responsibility I fully accept. I will make the necessary changes to ensure that this never occurs again.

I hope this does not reflect poorly on my fellow Full Tilt Pros, all who take great pride in creating entertaining, informative and original tips for your enjoyment

With immense regret,

Clonie Gowen"

Her collaborator Rick Fuller responded in the thread with the following:

"To Jsup -

I wanted to take a moment and issue my own apology to you. Clonie hires me to edit and collaborate on the articles that she writes. In this instance she gave me her thoughts on re-buy tournaments and I wrote the actual words behind the pro-tip. Clonie reviewed what I wrote, made changes where necessary, and submitted the article to Full Tilt for publication. This is a very common situation in poker, many if not most pros are not writers and if they tried to put their thoughts into words it would be horrible reading for most of us.

I had a copy of the article written by you and copied and pasted the first paragraph of your article onto the article I was writing for Clonie, switching out my opening paragraph for yours. I basically thought two of the lines in that paragraph really matched Clonie's thoughts and I intended to change the wording around so that it wasn't the same as the wording you wrote. I got busy and did not come back to the article for a couple of days at which point I forgot that I had pasted that paragraph from your article. It was submitted to Clonie and forwarded to Full Tilt. It was by no means deliberate, nor was any of the real meat of the article anything but original thought. It was a gross and negligent error on my part and I can only offer my humblest apologies.

To those of you who play on Full Tilt or enjoy the tips from the pros, I will say this. This tip from Clonie and every other tip or article from her, are her thoughts and her ideas put into words by me. Every point made in the tip was her point, I just filled around the lines with wording to make it read and flow easier. I would hope that you could understand the need for the vast majority of poker pros to employ someone who could transform their thoughts into words that are easy to read and understand. For those of you who think this is shady or underhanded.... well, too bad. What could possibly be wrong with someone saying, "Hey, here are my thoughts and ideas, can you help me put them into words that everyone will understand?" I assure you all that Clonie has a vast amount of input into everything that is submitted with her name.

Jsup - I used your words without permission. I screwed up. I offer my humblest apologies and assure you it will not happen again.


Rick Fuller"

Adam, one of the admins from Pocket Fives, had the following reply to Rick's post:

"....You apologized for using jsup's words without permission, but that's not even the issue--you don't need someone else's permission to use their words. It's simple just to give someone else credit if they said it first and you want to use it in your own publication. "

An extremely valid point!! Are they just taking the credit for other people's articles by simply re-wording articles written by others. I think we all learned in elementary school that you have to quote sources.

Rick Fuller posted a final apology and it sounds like he made a mistake and is truely sorry:

"Pocketfives forum members -

I had no intention of posting anything further on this subject, I gave my public apology to Jsup and I apparently also owe an apology to Pocketfives and possibly to and I give those their due apologies now.

I am making this final post because some of the comments and accusations on here are ludicrous and absurd. There also appears to be a great deal of misunderstanding about what actually happened.

For those of you who have dissected both Clonie's and my apologies to find differences and contradictions, I assure you they are not there. We are both apologizing for our respective roles in this incident, if you want to find semantical differences and claim there is some conspiracy there or that we can't get our stories straight than knock yourselves out. We told you all what happened and apologized for it, that's all we can do.

As far as what actually happened... What was copied did not have anything to do with the actual content of the article. It was an introductory paragraph, that was all. The tips, the ideas, the strategies, etc., were all completely original thought. I copied that paragraph onto the article specifically because, like I said, I thought these two lines were similar to Clonie's own thoughts;

"Rebuy tournaments are my favorite types of tournaments to play. I am not much of a gambler away from poker; I rarely play table games like craps or blackjack and I never bet on sports."

These two lines are not original thoughts. They are not unique to Jsup. They do apply to thousands of players out there. Re-buy tournaments are in fact Clonie's favorite types of tournaments to play and she is in fact not much of a gambler away from poker. The fact that I wanted to change the wording of these two lines and use them in Clonie's article does not make me a plagiarizer. The fact that I mistakenly used them, and the other two lines in that paragraph, without changing them does make me a plagiarizer, but an inadvertant one.

Research the rest of the article and tell me if you can find any of that anywhere else. Research my name and any of the numerous articles I have written under my own name for 3 different poker publications and many online sites and tell me if you can find anything that even hints of plagiarism. You will not.

To Aaron Bartley/GambleAB - Just because you write your own material and you know of five others that do does not mean that my statement is false. It is a fact that a vast number of poker players employ others to write material for them. I will tell you that I know that for a fact, if you are too ignorant to believe it then too bad.

To Sheets and the others who said Clonie was throwing me under the bus and dodging the responsibility here. Clonie fought with me to keep my name out of this and take all the blame herself and I wouldn't have anything to do with it. I insisted that my name be put in her letter. I actually tried to get her to put all of the blame on me which is where it all belongs. Clonie insisted on taking responsiblity for this, not because she had any, but because she is a completely classy lady with high ethical and moral values who insists on always doing the right thing. Anybody who knows Clonie in a personal way will back that statement up.

To those of you who think I or anybody else should be sued, arrested, imprisoned, hanged until dead, or otherwise punished for this, please do whatever you think is necessary to bring those actions forward. Nobody profited from this mistake and nobody was truly hurt by it. Some people were wronged and wrongs of this nature and scope should be correctable with an apology. I have lost great faith in the poker community when a simple and innocent mistake can not be rectified by a heartfelt and sincere apology.

To those of you who think that these letters of apology were not sincere or that a few differences in wording means we are lying or covering up and that we don't respect you because of it, well again, too bad. I don't care to earn your respect or your belief in my intentions, I care simply to make a public apology to Jsup and pocketfives and that is what I have done.

These will be my last comments on this situation. If Cal, Adam, Riley, or Jsup wish to discuss this with me further I will be happy to do so with them in person or in private.

All my best,

Rick Fuller"

Whew!! It sounds like this is all going to be resolved with a big / promotion.

The whole situation makes you think - Be careful what you write, copy all sources, and provide all the facts on an explosive situation ASAP.

I think what Rick Fuller and Clonie Gowen did was wrong, but I also think it was a mistake. He should have noted and as sources for Clonie's tip. I am sure this will lead to more scrutiny by FTP and the pros on future tips.

Good luck at the tables and look for my next post on re-buy tourneys. I have the first couple of sentences drafted:

"Re-buy tournaments are my favorite types of tournaments to play. I am not much of a gambler away from poker..."

What do you think?


3 responses to "Clonie Gowen Plagarizes and Apologizes"

  1. It's funny how p5's has become the hub for all Soap Opera happenings in the world of poker.

    Some 15 yr. old kid making millions online, a guy taking pictures of his %@#^, Clonie has a boyfriend/agent/plagerising ghost writer... what's next?

    I know, Phil Helmuth takes over on Celebrity Poker Showdown because Dave Foley is a drunk. Cal and Adam to the rescue!!!


  2. Gowen is a loser. Can't go lower than this. Oh wait, you can admit to cheating on national TV.


  3. I havent seen any updates on the Clonie Gowen case. Did she end up settling with the Full Tilt Poker crew, or was the 2nd case dismissed as well?

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