The Absolute Poker Scandal

The Absolute Poker Scandal

Is AbsolutePoker.com rigged?

Either way, the company is in big trouble. What follows in this post is huge news in the world of online poker and online casinos.

Our story begins in 2003. Absolute Poker’s software is in development and many test accounts are created to make sure the program is working correctly. One of these test accounts, known as account #363, can see the hole cards at any table. This test account can not be used to play in real money games, it is only used for development purposes to see that pots are distributed correctly. The id number of this account being #363 is important because this tells us that this was one of the first accounts ever opened in AbsolutePoker, making it very likely the person in control of this account is someone with intimate ties with the company (owner, founder, employee, programmer, shareholder, etc.)

Absolute Poker CheatsFollow with me to the opening of Absolute Poker (AP). Four people in different parts of the United States open up accounts at Absolute Poker. These four individuals do not know each other. The names in question are Graycat, Steamroller, DoubleDrag, and Potripper. They play in Absolute Poker for a bit, but they don’t do well and their accounts are not logged into for many months. These are actual and real players, they are not fake players, they do not know each other, and they are not cheaters.

Key moment in the development of Absolute Poker: a major software upgrade is in process in 2007. The company hires programmers from many areas, including Costa Rica. Our villain in this scandal comes across the test account #363 with hole card access. Visions of big money flash in front of his eyes as he envisions hacking his way to big casino cash. He hatches a plan.

He finds inactive accounts at Absolute Poker and changes the password to these accounts at the server level. He opens test account 363 at a separate computer which allows him to see all the hole cards at the table. He then gets family and friends to cash out his winnings to. The way he does this is after he gets a big amount of cash at the poker tables, he plays against his relatives and buddies and loses all his cash to them. DoubleDrag loses to Reymnaldo, Graycat loses to SupercardM55, and Steamroller and Potripper lose to other various friend and family controlled accounts.

September comes, and as the money piles up, so does the ego and greed. Other poker players make comments in chat that they suspect there is cheating and collusion involved. He logs in as DoubleDrag and then loses every hand intentionally in No-Limit in an attempt to cover up his scam as he senses other players may be on to him.

Scott Tom on the small planeSeptember 3rd. A small private jet plane about to take off from a runway at at San Jose Juan Santamaria International Airport in Costa Rica catches and is forced to stay as firefighters are called to the scene. The two passengers confirmed to be on the small plane were Scott Tom (a co-owner of Absolute Poker and their President since 2005) and his pregnant wife, who was immediately rushed to the hospital to ensure the safety of the child. They were both headed to Columbia with a rumored cargo of $2-$3 million dollars in cash.

September 12th. A well-known online poker tournament player named Marco Johnson, who plays under the screen name CrazyMarco plays in a $1000 buy-in tournament at AbsolutePoker.com. Cheat account Potripper is also playing in this tournament. CrazyMarco loses a head-to-head battle with Potripper when Potripper and asks for the hand history of the final table.

September 17th. The four Absolute Poker accounts (Graycat, Steamroller, DoubleDrag, and Potripper) are suspended and frozen.

September 21st. AbsolutePoker sends CrazyMarco a huge Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file (10MB and a full 65,536 rows, which is limit in Excel for most current versions). The spreadsheet is too complicated and scrambled to look into, so he saves it and decides to analyze it later.

October 12th. An AbsolutePoker.com official statement is released with their official comments on the cheating rumors, gossip, controversy, and overall poker community outrage. The company has been made aware of the poker blogs, chatrooms, and online casino discussion forums that are talking about this situation and they state that they take these allegations “extremely seriously”. They have “determined with reasonable certainty” that no can see the hole cards, and thus there is no superuser account. Their poker security algorithms have allegedly not been compromised and have admitted that “allegations that the player accounts at issue ‘always guessed right’ are unfounded”. On allegations this player exhibited “infinite river agression” (the player never called on the river cards, he only raised or folded), AbsolutePoker.com feels this is “also without merit”. The online casino has admitted that chip dumping did occur and will “investigate this issue”.

October 13th. Flashback to the huge Excel spreadsheet file AbsolutePoker sends to poker player CrazyMarco. TheWacoKidd, at PocketFives, reveals that Absolute Poker had accidentally sent hand histories of the entire tournament and of all the player’s hole cards. Looking through the play of PotRipper, it is obvious to see that he could see the hole cards of the other players due to his impeccable decision making, even in the face of ridiculous odds. As an example, Potripper routinely plays hands such as 2/7, but then folds cards such as KQ when AA is dealt to another player.

Scott Tom | Absolute Poker CEOOctober 16th and 17th. 2+2 reports that Potripper’s email address is scott@rivieraltd.com. According to a 2+2 member, the IP address (a unique address that computer electronic devices use in order to identify and communicate with each other) cross references to a cable modem in Costa Rica owned by Scott Tom, who is a co-owner of Absolute Poker and their President since 2005. The Potripper account is now thought to belong to AJ Green, who is a former Director of Operations at AbsolutePoker.com and Scott Tom’s best friend. A.J. Green is the current Vice President of Operations at nine.com. The domain rivieratld.com points to a mail server which is on an IP address allocated to Absolute Entertainment SA, at a data center owned by Mohawk Internet Technologies (originally thought to be the Kahnawake Gaming Commission).

Mohawk Internet Technologies MIT-BLK-01 (NET-66-212-224-0-1)
66.212.224.0 – 66.212.255.255

Absolute Entertainment S.A. MIT-ABPOK-02 (NET-66-212-244-128-1)
66.212.244.128 – 66.212.244.255

About 2 hours after the results of this investigation 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.

October 19th. An Absolute Poker spokesman now states that their online poker software has been hacked by an employee who was playing using the accounts of Scott Tom and AJ Green. “This is literally a geek trying to prove to senior management that they were wrong and he took it too far,” says the Absolute Poker representative. They also release another official statement, which amounts to them admitting they had “an internal security breach that compromised our systems for a limited period of time” and which has been “completely resolved”.

October 21st. Joe Norton, the “owner of Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, which holds a 100% interest in Absolute Poker” releases an official statement which says 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.” Absolute Poker is now giving $500 restitution payments to all watchers of the infamous September 12th Potripper tournament whose email was in the Excel spreadsheet file. Also, poker players that played in the tournament will be bumped up a spot and will receive a refund of their $1000 + $50 entry fee, with interest that will be calculated at 10% per annum (about 1%).

January 16th, 2008. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) has made their final verdict regarding the Absolute Poker cheating scandal. They have fined Absolute $500,000, which must be paid within 60 days. Absolute has also been forced to pay the bill for the investigation by Gaming Associates. Apart from the monetary fines, they have also been hit with other penalties. They are required to place a surety with KGC for two years against future conduct. Absolute will also be randomly audited, at their own expense. As far as those involved in the scandal, KGC has demanded permanent exclusion of those individuals responsible. AbsolutePoker.com has released this statement: “After reviewing the published report, we recognize the completeness and accuracy of the KGC conclusions, and we accept without reservation the KGC’s findings and sanctions. Most importantly, we are pleased, after these many months, that Absolute Poker can finally put behind it a most distressing and regrettable experience for the Company, its employees, and its customers.”

Big thanks to Justin Goff, twoplustwo.com, natarem.com, point-spreads.com and neverwinpoker.com.

Youtube video of the infamous AbsolutePoker tournament won by Potripper: