What’s up at absolute poker?

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Mar 4, 2021

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:

DOUBLEDRAG
POTRIPPER
GRAYCAT

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.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.


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