Software provider: Proprietary Software
Licensing Jurisdiction: Kahnawake
Added 28 September 2007
Last update 23 October 2007
23 October 2007
From Infopowa news:
HOW LONG HAS THE ABSOLUTE POKER SCAM BEEN OPERATING?
Sources claim cheating has been happening for 3 years, earning the culprits millions
The gambling information portal Point-Spread.com made further serious revelations in the Absolute Poker scandal Monday, claiming that unidentified sources have revealed a greater web of deceit than just one tournament.
Webmaster Tommy Jensen quotes sources in Costa Rica who say that the cheating scam has been ongoing for the past three years and the actual amount that was skimmed from online poker players could be as much as $7 million. The actual amount is still unknown as an internal audit is underway, and high-limit players on other portals have contested this claim.
Jensen says a former employee of Absolute Poker confirmed to Point-Spreads.com that the security department at AP suspected something years ago but were told it was just the owners testing out the system and to forget about it. AJ Green (see previous InfoPowa reports) is alleged to have been involved in the scam and employees of Absolute Poker are prepared to implicate him.
Meanwhile, the 911 portal continued to publish what appear to be damage control reports from its sources, who claim that Absolute Poker takes in between $1.5 million and $2 million a day in gross revenues. “Absolute Poker will survive this (scandal),” the unnamed source predicted. “There are about a hundred investors in the company to ensure this happens.”
911 reports that, contrary to reports that a band of college fraternity brothers started Absolute Poker in 2003, it was in fact founded by a Las Vegas-resident college grad named Scott Tom with financing from his father. Tom subsequently brought other college friends into the business. Tom, who has since dropped out of sight, is believed to have resided in Panama City and Costa Rica.
“They (AJ Green and Scott Tom) are not talking to investors,” the source told 911. “But Absolute Poker does not need Scott Tom. There is a strong management team in place with hundreds of employees.” Other investors in the poker site include former employees of the Nine.com operation which now belongs to VIP.com.
LATE BREAKING NEWS:
PocketFives received a phone call from Absolute Poker late Thursday night confirming the suspicions of the online poker community over the past month.
The webmaster at PocketFives writes: “While we need to be vague in this post to respect their wishes, we can say that their systems were compromised, and that they are prepared to provide the details in a statement coming shortly.
“Part of the statement will include a plan to refund players affected by this compromise.
“We are extremely relieved to hear this outcome, as our most important goal in all this is to see justice given to those who were cheated in this process. Pocketfives is extremely proud to have played a part in the process of uncovering the impropriety that has occurred. We would of course like to thank all the other parties who played a key role in this process—specifically the folks that have been posting here and at twoplustwo.com.”
KAHNAWAKE ENTERS ABSOLUTE ONLINE POKER DEBACLE (Update)
Licensing jurisdiction pledges an independent audit
The allegations of impropriety during an online poker tournament at Absolute Poker.com gathered further momentum as the week progressed, with the issue reaching the pages of the New York Times, and a statement from the website’s licensing jurisdiction pledging an independent investigation of the affair.
Kahnawake Gaming Commissioner David Montour announced that following the emergence of allegations concerning the propriety of Absolute Poker’s operations, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) intends to investigate the privately-held licensee.
In a written statement Montour indicated that the KGC will employ an independent third party, UK-based Gaming Associates, to conduct the audit. It is understood that Gaming Associates is an exclusive testing agency used by the KGC.
“This week’s allegations of impropriety have been brought to the attention of the [KGC],” said Montour. “We have appointed experts to conduct a thorough audit of all circumstances, provide findings and recommendations to the commission.
“The audit will not be restricted to examining theories circulating in Internet chat rooms and fora,” Montour added.
Among other allegations, GA will undoubtedly have to verifiy documents, and possibly explain how a tournament winner known as Potripper apparently obtained such extraordinarily good results – up to an incredible 15 standard deviations – in the tournament.
Meanwhile, the New York Times has again reported on the incident, this time in a fashion that suggests there is sufficient controversy to warrant an audit.
Author Stephen D. Levitt headlined his op-ed piece “The Absolute Poker Cheating Scandal Blown Wide Open” and noted that a combination of some incredible detective work by online poker players and an accidental (?) data leak by Absolute Poker have blown the scandal wide open.
Levitt goes on to explain that some opponents became suspicious of how a certain player [Potripper] was playing in an Absolute Poker tourney, seemingly aware of what his opponent’s hole cards were.
The suspicious players provided examples of these hands, which were so outrageous that virtually all serious poker players were convinced that cheating had occurred. One of the players who’d been cheated requested that Absolute Poker provide hand histories from the tournament, and instead of the usual specific hand history received (perhaps in error) a file that contained comprehensive private information that the poker site would never normally release.
The file contained every player’s hole cards, observations of the tables, and even the IP addresses of every person playing. Levitt comments that such a complete disclosure seems like too great a coincidence, and suggests that there may have been a whistle-blowing element involved instead of a mistaken document being despatched.
Poker players went to work analysing the data in the surprisingly comprehensive file — not only the hand histories themselves, but other, more subtle information contained in the file.
“What these players-turned-detectives noticed was that, starting with the third hand of the tournament, there was an observer who watched every subsequent hand played by the cheater,” writes Levitt.
“Interestingly, the cheater folded the first two hands before this observer showed up, then did not fold a single hand before the flop for the next 20 minutes, and then folded his hand pre-flop when another player had a pair of kings as hole cards! This sort of cheating went on throughout the tournament.”
So the poker detectives turned their attention to this observer, Levitt recounts. They tracked his or her IP address and account name to the same set of servers that host Absolute Poker, and also, apparently, to a particular individual named Scott Tom, who seems to be a part-owner of Absolute Poker!
Assuming that the file sent to the player is correct, Levitt opines “…..an insider at the Absolute website had real-time access to all of the hole cards (it is not hard to believe that this capability would exist) and was relaying this information to an outside accomplice.”
Levitt assumes that such conduct could result in prison time for those involved, and predicts that there could be commercial consequences for Absolute if it continues to blow off the allegations (something now corrected with the announcement of an independent audit).
Levitt correctly asserts that online poker is a game of trust — players send their money to a site believing that they will be playing a fair game, and trusting that the site will send them their winnings.
“If there is even a little bit of uncertainty about either one of those factors, there is no good reason for a player to choose that site over the many close substitutes that exist. If I ran Absolute Poker, I would take a lesson from past corporate attempts at cover ups, sacrifice the cheaters, and institute safeguards to prevent this ever happening again.
“The real lesson of this all, however, is probably the following: guys who aren’t that smart will figure out ways to cheat. And, with a little luck and the right data, folks who are a lot smarter will catch them doing it,” Levitt concludes.
Knock – knock – anybody home?
Recently, there have been serious complaints of collusion and chip dumping at the high stakes tables at Absolute Poker. The severity of the issue should warrant an immediate response from the poker room, and a reasonable follow-up to keep players abreast of the poker rooms findings. So far, not much has occurred. I have received two emails stating that it was being looked into. But that is not enough.
I understand that these investigations take time – but this is cyber land; you have to communicate not only your intent but your progress without being prodded. Absolute poker is not giving anyone a warm and fuzzy feeling because they are not being proactive on disclosing what is going on with their poker room.
If a company wants to be taken seriously, they need to be right there answering questions and giving their players the confidence that the players deserve. What are players supposed to think when accusations that cheating players are being allowed to play, and these complaints are going unanswered or not followed up on. Players can only surmise that this poker room either doesn’t care, or that it doesn’t have a handle on the situation.
From Infopowa news:
21 September 2007
Growing numbers of players are discussing some suspicious big money plays
Rumbling into its second controversial week as we went to press is a superheated debate on some unusually good fortune (for some!) at the popular Absolute Poker.com website. To describe the widespread message board discussions as ‘lively’ would be an understatement as highly experienced players exchange notes and hand histories at leading poker fora like 2+2, Pocketfives and the poker section of Casinomeister over what is alleged to be cheating running into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The player community is showing signs of being determined to get to the bottom of the issue, which has involved speculation on everything from insider involvement to hacking as the extraordinary good luck…and alleged sight of opponents’ hole cards…is intensively examined by many widely respected and knowledgeable pokerheads.
Early this week Poker News started breaking the issue out of the message boards and into the more public light of online news reportage, reporting on claims that there have been allegations that Absolute Poker has a ‘superuser’ account which permits that user to read players’ hole cards.
Poker News identified three accounts that have been targeted as potential ‘superusers’, naming these as:
Sparking the controversy was a remarkable call made by POTRIPPER in a high buy-in tournament, where he/she called an on the turn with 9-10 when the opponent was holding 9-2 for a busted flush draw. POTRIPPER went on to win the tournament. Players report many similar incidents as the ‘infinitely aggressive’ and apparently prescient players win considerable amounts of money.
This triggered debate over two other cash players, DOUBLEDRAG and GRAYCAT, who have reportedly enjoyed substantial returns over a very short space of time. Poker News reports that these accounts will allegedly often throw away hands on flops despite raising preflop a lot (suggesting that they were aware of when their opponents hit the flop) and also that they never flat called on the river, only ever raised or folded.
Poker News emphasises that the issue is open to speculation at present in a discussion that is reaching across a widening range of poker fora….and it delivers Absolute Poker’s response as making the following points:
* Absolute has temporarily frozen the “suspicious” accounts while they conduct a thorough investigation
* The investigators have yet to find any evidence of wrongdoing
* Initial indications are that the player in question’s hands come from a “small sample” of hands
* Absolute has researched the suspect play exhaustively and to date has found no proof that the player had knowledge of other players’ hole cards
* However, Absolute investigators comment that there were hands that were played poorly – from a poker strategy perspective – and some players did receive a fortunate result.”
* Thus far Absolute’s investigators have found no evidence that any of the players were involved in chip dumping or any other improper activity
* The investigation continues.
The statement has not satisfied a player community that is growing increasingly restive and calling for independent investigators to be called in at Absolute. In the interests of reputation and continued business success, that may be a route Absolute should consider.
STOP PRESS: Further statement from Absolute Poker just in:
We have done an extensive research into the claims that have been brought to our attention. While we are continuing to do a thorough and exhaustive investigation, we have yet to find any evidence of wrong doing.
When you are logged in and playing your game client only receives data regarding your hole cards. As a result, it is impossible for a player to have information regarding any other player’s hole cards. There are no “superuser” accounts that enable players to see other players’ hole cards.
Despite our confidence in the security of our systems, we researched hands involving accounts that were mentioned in the online forum posts over the weekend and did not find any incidence of cheating by the accounts in question. Results mentioned in the forums were over a small sample of hands, and we have researched these hands as well as numerous other hands involving these players and have found that the pattern of play of the players did not lend credibility to the claim that the players knew the cards of other players at the table. Certainly there were hands that were played poorly, from a poker strategy perspective, and where these players received a fortunate result. However, a longer term review has shown that similar playing strategies have not resulted in the same results as these players achieved in the small sample of hands mentioned in the online discussion.
Furthermore, the play of the players in question did not substantiate claims that they were involved in chip dumping, or any other improper activity.
We take these matters very seriously, and stand by the results of our random number generator and game client security. Because of the seriousness of these allegations, we have not closed the investigation and are continuing to look very closely into this matter.