Absolute Casino Poker Online Cheating Opinion | Another Viewpoint

Absolute Casino Poker Online Cheating Opinion | Another Viewpoint

From Maudie:

Before I get going on this diatribe, some disclosure is necessary.
  • First – I have cheated at poker in that I’ve taken advantage of players who do not protect their hole cards.

  • Second – I have had more than one on-line account at Ultimate Bet and at Party Gaming (one with Party Poker and one with Empire – Party’s mirror site).

  • Third – I have never played online with more than one account at a time at any single site.

  • Fourth – I’ve discussed hands while in play with another person via IM.

  • Let me add one other confession to the above – as a so-called poker blogger, I am embarrassed that I have ignored the issue of the Absolute Poker cheating scandal. Sadly, my voice isn’t the only one in the poker blogosphere that has remained silent on the issue.

    If you’re a poker player, unless you’ve been in the wilderness and completely unplugged for the last four or five months, you have heard of the scandal. But in case you’re the one who hasn’t – at the end of this post are links to several sources that can get you up to speed.

    When the scandal broke last October, I was one of no doubt many who, like me, shook their head and said, “I’m glad I don’t play on that site” and then returned to business as usual. I didn’t blog about it, didn’t discuss it. I was briefly dismayed and not just a little but cynical about the whole matter. But, I didn’t do anything about it.

    However, in the last week or so, since the finding of the independent audit was published, I began to think about it more. And the more I thought about, the more outraged I became. And the more confused.

    I am outraged that Absolute Poker’s first reaction when the cheating was brought to their attention was to deny it. Then they deleted files which were potential evidence. They claimed it was inadvertent but it doesn’t take a full blown computer geek to see that as complete hogwash. Their response was almost too little too late.

    Now they’ve paid a $500,000 fine and have been returning funds to affected players, with interest, which amounts to over $1 mil. They are also embracing this as “an opportunity to improve our internal practices.” More power to them. I hope they do. I am wondering, though, if they aren’t secretly patting each other on the back for getting off so lightly.

    I am confused because I can discern no real effort on the part of the leaders in the poker community to address this breach of the players’ trust. Specifically, I am pointing my finger at the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), of which I am a member. I am in agreement with Frank Frisna at Life’s a Bluff who has been calling the PPA out about this issue.

    The PPA wants to sweep the issue under the carpet. Their reasoning is that to bring it to light would only serve to fuel the fire of those in Washington who see online gaming as the big evil. They have a point, but only a small one. I would humbly suggest that they take another look at the first paragraph in their mission statement and rethink their strategy.

    Burying our heads in the sand and pretending the problem isn’t there does little to solve it and, ultimately, advance the cause. Why wait for some tight ass Senator to throw the scandal back in our face? You know they will. Why not hit it head on, full disclosure – shout it from the rooftops, and then call for action from the online industry to clean up its own act.

    I agree with Gary Wise – ESPN Poker club who stated in an article published yesterday:

    “Poker remains to this day a world divided: WSOP and WPT, Bluff and CardPlayer, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, the biggest islands in the lawless industry ocean. If these entities stopped focusing on beating the other guy for just a minute of each day, it would mean so much to the long-term health of the game.”

    I’m sure I’m a hopeless idealist, but if the big entities could come together or, if at the very least, the leaders in the online sites could enlist much tougher sanctions on and a more watchful eye for cheaters, it might just provide some powerful ammunition for the fight to get online gaming some respect in Washington.

    I dunno. I’ve rambled on about all I can. I’m just one lowly player who wants to be able to play poker when and where I want and feel safe – where the only stealing going on is from the button. The bottom line is that I think the PPA is off base with wanting to bury this issue. I fear it’s going to come back and bite them in the butt.

    As for me – I have the choice not to look at exposed hole cards, and I now make that choice. I have the choice not to discuss hands while in play. I now make that choice. I have the choice not to exploit a technical vulnerability that allows me more than one account. If I ever get to play anywhere but Full Tilt Poker again – I now make that choice. There are many levels to cheating – we must be diligent that we don’t succumb. Sounds hokey, I’m sure, but integrity begins with me.