The poker industry is valued at over $60,000,000,000 with revenues of well over $300,000,000 a month. All those figures look pretty right? Well maybe that’s the reason why so many poker sites have been caught up in scandals and cheating that has rocked the online poker community. Most famously is the scandal at Absolute Poker and also a similar occurrence with their sister site, Ultimate Bet.
If you haven’t heard of the absolute poker scandal that occurred on September 12th 20007, then take a look at the starting hands and the final hand of a huge $1000 tournament on Absolute Poker by searching “Potripper” on YouTube. Of course this aroused suspicion by “Crazy Marco” who then posted the hand history on 2+2 forums and contacted AP to get hold of the full tournament hand history. It was discovered that a “super user” account had been leaked to a player who was able to see all of his opponents’ hands. Of course the greed got the better of him and his blatant cheating ended up getting him found out. The villain in this story, “Potripper” managed to bag $800,000 from cash tables and tournaments. Here is a statement produced by absolute poker shortly after the incident. A few days before the tournament, a private jet caught fire before taking off in Costa Rica. The two onboard were Absolute Poker President, Scott Tom and his pregnant wife who was taken to hospital. It was rumoured that the plane had a cargo $2-$3 million in cash.
Thank you for your patience in this urgent issue.
Let me start off by stating in 100% confidence that, fair play and security is of paramount importance to Absolute Poker. We have temporarily frozen accounts that have been brought to our attention while we perform an extensive investigation.
While we are continuing with our investigation, we have yet to find any evidence of wrong doing. Our game client only receives data regarding the individuals hand and no other players’ hole cards, except in the event of a showdown.
The player’s and their respective actions that are in question, all come from a small sample of Hands. We have researched their play exhaustively and have found no proof that they had any knowledge of other player’s hole cards.
There were hands that were played poorly – from a poker strategy perspective – and these players did receive a fortunate result.
So far we have no evidence that substantiates claims that any of the players were involved in chip dumping, or any other improper activity.
Because of the seriousness of these allegations, we have not closed the investigation and are continuing to look very closely into this matter. We will notify you if we obtain any new information regarding these claims.
It took Absolute Poker well over a month of discovering this scandal to admit publicly, that there had been a breach of security.
What separates a scandal from being hugely damaging to a site’s integrity is the way it is handled. As you can see from the letter posted by an Absolute Poker executive, they failed to recognise the seriousness of the situation and the blatant cheating that had occurred. Contrary to this is the PokerStars and Party Poker scandal that involved a player named JJProdigy. JJProdidy, AKA “ablackcar” used two accounts (strictly against the TOS of all poker sites) to win a $500,000 guaranteed tournament on Party Poker for a $140,000 top prize. After the win, it broke that he had used two accounts and he was quickly banned. PokerStars soon got news of this and found that not only did JJProdigy use two accounts on their site, but that he was also 16 years old. Again, the player was quickly banned and the scandal ended with prize money being refunded and no one was left out of pocket.
JJProdigy came out with a public apology last year on Poker News and both sites have since upheld their great reputation amongst the poker community.
Poker scandals are now becoming what seems to be an annual occurrence. Is it really worth playing these sites if there is a chance that you could be losing thousands of dollars to a player who has hacked the system? Sites like Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet have now lost all integrity and respect; not only because of the scandal itself, but due to the fact the problem was poorly handled and covered up.