absolute poker scandal
 

The Absolute Poker Scandal in 2007

In 2003, the company Tokwire Enterprises ENRG decided to move into the rapidly growing poker industry. They hired a group of skilled programers to develop a top notch poker software, and in this process they created what is now known as a Super User account. A super user account cannot play the games itself, but it can see all hole cards, open/close tables etc. It was created as an effective tool to quickly reveal any errors in the Absolute Poker software, and it's theoretically a possibility for most poker rooms to create such an account.

Absolute Poker has admitted the existence of this account, but the company claims that it was first created during the extensive software update which took place at Absolute Poker during the summer of 2007. Unfortunately for AP, the fact that this super account has a very low user # (363), makes it obvious that this account was created back in the days of 2003, as all user # known are higher than 363. This leads us to the conclussion that the Super User account was created back in 2003, even before AP opened their doors to the public. This is the general conception on 2+2 and PocketFives, which has contributed in revealed this case.
 
 
Potripper, Steamroller, Doubledrag & Graycat
Around summertime 2006, these four players are all losing a lot of money at the AP high stakes tables. They are all typical donks paying of the pros, but eventually they all leave the site, only to return about a year later to basically destroy the games, beating all the pros consistently - including Todd Witteless(a well known high stakes player also known as Dan Druff), who remember the four players back from the summer 2006:

Potripper mainly played Multi Table tournaments, in which he lost a fortune. After the costly summer of 2006, he quit AP and wasn't seen again until the summer of 2007.

Steamroller was a losing high stakes player in both fixed-limit and no-limit cash games He also quit back in 2006 after a consistent losing streak against the sites best players. The original Steamroller resided in Miami.

Doubledrag played no-limit Holdem, and despite several decent, winning sessions he ended up a big loser just like the rest of these accounts. After his last session, he verbally bedamned A.P., sworing never to return.

Graycat played fixed-limit Holdem at a limit where he was brutally squashed by his opponents. He quit around the same time as the others. The former Graycat resided in Chicago.

For about a year, these four accounts remained inactive, but in the summer of 2007 the accounts were reopened. From here on out, the four former donkeys are all winning more than just consistently at Absolute Poker: They win every session - BIG!


Super Account 363 back in the game
In the summer of 2007, Absolute Poker initiated their first extensive software update since the launch in 2003, and their office in Costa Rica gets packed with programers and other coworkers with relation to the update. In this process, the old programer-back-door, Super User account 363, is (re)opened and taken into use(if it hasn't always been open since 2003..). Absolute Poker claims that the security breach was a result of this update, and it does seem likely that the programers take account 363 into use once again to make sure the software works properly after the update.
   Fact is, August 14th, 2007, the Super User account is (re)opened, and people responsible for this sees the potential in such an account. Normally, AP takes the same security measures as any other established poker room, but when the fraud comes from inside the company there's not much to do according to Absolute Pokers main owner Joe Norton, who states that the person responsible for this scandal was a trusted consultant.


Organised Crime. Three types of accounts. 
Playing with Super User account 363 is naturally too risky - and hardly even possible - so our Bad Guy needs some legitimate accounts to play from. Accounts which cannot be traced back to himself in any way. Wisely enough, he activates the four previously mentioned losing accounts: Potripper, Steamroller, Doubledag and Graycat (Joe Norton from AP states that even more accounts has been used..).
   The password and personal information was replaced, making it impossible for the original users to regain access to their accounts, and for the AP security department to find out who really was in control of the accounts. Everything was set up for the perfect poker scam, and in the middle of August, the four accounts was back on the network winning from all the top pros. Players which Potripper, Steamrolls etc. didn't stand a chance against the previous summer. Posts begin to appear on 2+2 indicating that something is terriblely wrong at AP! The four accounts all played short sessions only, never at the same time and always won!

Everytime one of the reactivated accounts(Potripper, Graycat etc.) logged in and began to play, the Super User account 363 would log in from a different computer gaining full information on the opponents hole cards. All the reactivated accounts as well as the Super User account has been tracked to the same IP adress: An IP adress located at the Absolute Poker office Costa Rica!

Since it was not a possibility to withdraw the unfair winnings from the reactivated accounts, several real accounts were created. The accounts Potripper, Graycat etc. would then chipdump their winnings to these accounts - but that didn't go by unnoticed! A short session was observed in August, 2007 where Graycat lost $55.000 to a new account named Supercardm55. In September, an obvious $300.000+ chipdump from Doubledrag to Romnaldo caused concern on various poker forums. Both incidents were reported to AbsolutePoker as chipdumping. Besides Supercardm55 and Romnaldo, we also know that account Payout was used for this chipdumping purpose.


Getting too obvious...
What started as a raised eyebrow or two, quickly turned into a widespread paranoya on the largest online poker forums such as 2+2 and PocketFives. Some of the most well respected online players joined the theory that these players were actually able to see the hole cards on Absolute Poker - players that wouldn't put their reputation on line unless they were highly convinced. The theories comes even more to life when serious evidence begins to unfold in the form of statistical calculations like the diagram below.
 
The vertical axis shows the percentage of times money where voluntarily put into the pot. The horizontal axis represents the number of big blinds won per 100 hands. The red dot in the top right corner is Potripper standing clearly out with a sick, sick winrate despite putting money in the pot nearly 100% of the times he had the option to fold! The graph represents samples of 500-800 hands.

Potripper, Steamroller, Greycat and Doubledrag begins to feel the tension as the allegations build up, and  tables begins to have more observers than ussual. They chose to kill the rumours once and for all, by letting Doubledrag and Graycat lose massively two nights in a row (but nothing compared to what they've won overall.)
   Unfortunetaly for the cheater, these losing sessions only made the whole things even more obvious. Just as poorly as it was attempted to hide the cheating while winning, just as bad was it while losing. In one of these hands, Doubledrag called an all-in on the river with 32o, no hit - the worst possible hand! wp, nh...


Potripper wins Absolute Pokers largest tournament!  $1000 buy-in 
Sept. 13th. Potripper won a $1000 buy-in tourney, Absolute Pokers largest tournament. This time, the cheating simply got too obvious, and the player CrazyMarco, who finished second, insisted that there had to be cheating involved in Potrippers win. One of the most obvious signs was when Potripper bet around 20k with T-high, got pushed all-in by CrazyMarco, and called the sick 180k to beat CrazyMarcos 9-high bluff.

CrazyMarco demanded the hand history released, and to his surprise, Absolute Poker was more than willing to help him with this matter.. Feb. 21st, APs support send him a file, but this was far from the ordinary hand history he had requested! The file he recieved was huge, and after a short peak he turned of his computer and went to bed as he was unable to gain any information from the data file himself.
   Two weeks later rumours are heating up at PocketFives, and Marco posts in the forum that he has this enormous file from the Potripper tournament. The moderator of the site, adanthar, offers his help, and Marco sends him the file. It turns out the file covers the entire tournament, all of the players' hole cards, and other normally highly confidential information! What was uncovered made it clear that something had been very wrong:
:
- Potripper folded the first two, then saw all flops, unless the times where an opponent had two queens or better.
- Potripper won all showdowns in the tournament.
- Potripper folded on the river every time he was behind - and raised every time he wasn't.
- Potripper only bluffed when the opponent(s) had weak hands.

Here's a sample of the tournament won by Potripper:
 
 
 
Shortly after CrazyMarcos hand history had been analyzed on PokerFives, people start posting own hand histories, and when another moderator from PocketFives, Nat Arem, gets his hands on the file, shit really begins to hit the fan! Not only did his findings underline that Potripper has had access to other peoples hole cards, he also managed to break the encryption of the file, gaining access the email and IP of all players and observers in the tournament! Looking at table 13 where Potripper was located, he sees that after the first two hands of the tourney(which Potripper folded), user 363 enters the table as an observer, and remains at the same table as Potripper throughout the tournament! The number 363 is so low, that it has to be an account in connection with Absolute Poker, so he tracks the IP adress.. It turns out Mr. 363 is logged in from Plaza Mayor I San José, Costa Rica, more precisely the second floor in the office of Absolute Poker!! On top of that, he uncovers that the email adress of this mysterious user # 363, belongs to A.J. Green - the former Absolute Poker Chief Operating Officer, and current Vice President of Operations at nine.com.
 
Nat Arem runs a cross-check on the IP address, and uncovers that user363, Potripperand even an additional player all come from the same IP. The email of this user363 isscott@rivirald.com - the email of Scott Tom, one of the founders of Absolute Poker, theformer CEO and a close friend of AJ Green! 2 hours after this is revealed on the internet,the DNS (domain name server) information for rivieraltd.com is deleted.Absolute Poker claims Scott Tom has not been employed by the company for over a year, though the rumours speak a different story... (through investors amongst others).The email of Potripper doesn't verify anything, but it is believed that it was A.J. Green who played with this account from the AP office, using the advantage of user 363 whichhe clearly had some sort of control over. Absolute Poker never put any names inconnection with this case, but one of APs own pro players, Mark Seif, has put A.J.Greens name in relation to the fraud. A. J. Green had the necesarry knowlegde to perform such a scam, and with all the evidence pointing at AJ Green(maybe along with Scott Tom), it's obvious that AJ Green played the keyrole. It's notable that none of the mentioned suspects has made any attemps to defend themselves or prove their innocense!
 
AJ Green
 
Scott Tom
 
Absolute Poker denies everything... for starters.
During the entire process AP denied everything, and hardly even bothered to comment the case. Oktober 12th, Absolute Poker realeased an official statement denying everything, incl. the existence of a super user:

"We have determined with reasonable certainty that it is impossible for any player to see the hole cards as was alleged. There is no part of the technology that allows for a '¨superuser' account."

As people are getting more and more convinced that AP is simply trying to cover this up, AP realize the mistake they've made in denying the allegations. Oct. 18th, the owner of Absolute Poker, Joe Norton, calls up PocketFives, and  and finally a statement is released on Oct. 21st verifying that there has been a security breach, and that a player truly has been able to see other players hole cards, winning at least $800.000 in tournaments as well as cash-games:

"Based upon our preliminary findings, it appears that the integrity of our poker system was compromised by a high-ranking trusted consultant employed by AP whose position gave him extraordinary access to certain security systems. As has been speculated in several online forums, this consultant devised a sophisticated scheme to manipulate internal systems to access third-party computers and accounts to view hole cards of other customers during play without their knowledge."

   AbsolutePoker agrees on a thorough investigation both by AP and by the authorized authorities, including an independant and objective investigation by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.


Kahnawake Gaming Commission report on the Absolute Poker Scandal
Months passed by while the entire poker world was waiting for the final report from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, but when it finally was released on January 11th 2008, there where concerningly few questions answered, and the no names were specifically mentioned - incl. AJ Green and Scott Tom.
   The report state everything everybody already knew, and brutally punished Absolute Poker with a $500.000 fine, and running inspections for the next couple of years. Download the final report here:

Kahnawake Gaming Commission report on the Absolute Poker Scandal


All players will be compensated!...?
Absolute Poker are clearly fearing for their future, and have tried hard to make past out of this incident. They have promised to compensate all affected players for their loses:

"All players affected by the security breach will be identified during the audit process that has been initiated and all funds, including interest, will be returned. Absolute Poker would like to apologize for the recent events and is committed to diligently working with outside security firms, auditing firms, the extended poker community and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission to ensure the situation is entirely resolved."


Players from the $1000 tournament Potripper won have been compensated with their $1000 + 50, but it's clear to everyone that this is just the top of the iceberg with all the money the super user has been able to squeeze out of the High Stakes players at AbsolutePoker.

If you're unable to get your case solved, or want to draw our attention to a specific matter in any way, dont hesitate to use our Guestbook. We do our best to answer any questions. Thank you!

We wish you the best of luck, and thank you for your interest in our site and the Absolute Poker scandal in general! We need all the support we can get to work for a online poker world that can be trusted in every aspect. It's a beautiful game, with lots of money to be made in a honest and fair manner. Absolute Poker  generally haven't lost any traffic, so obviously some people either don't know. Spread the word! Good luck!
 
 

UltimateBet scandal 2008

UItimateBet (closely related to AP) had a scandal similar to the Absolute Poker Scandal! In May 2008, UltimateBet released a very short statement about the scandal. The company stated that the cheating with Super Users took place from March 2006 to December 2007. The company claimed the cheating was perpetrated by employees of the former owners, Excapsa Software. According to the company, the fraudulent activity was traced to unauthorized software codes (by their company) that transferred information on the other players' cards back to the perpetrators while playing, exactly  like  the Super Users at AbsolutePoker. UltimateBet stated it had removed the cheating software as of February 2008 and began issuing refunds to affected players.
 
 

UIGEA

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), signed by  President George Bush on October 13th, 2006, makes it illegal for online gambling sites to accept funds or wagers from the United States if the gambling activity violates the laws in the state you live in. The law does not make the player liable in any way, but makes the poker site liable for accepting funds or wagers associated with illegal Internet gambling.

As an online poker player located in the United States, you are not violating the UIGEA or any other federal law, but you may be violating state or tribal law depending on the laws of the state or Native American Reservation where you are located. It is the player's responsibility to determine the legality of playing Internet poker under the law where he is located.