Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Absolute Poker Scandal Chaps My Ass

I'm casually playing internet poker, not for high stakes, but for some money, usually $1 tournaments or smaller. It's fun, and before I ever jumped thru all the hoops to get real money at stake, I played for more than a year in the free tournament, for imaginary player points or in huge tournaments where the winner got entry into a tournament for real money.

I did okay on the play tables, but it irritated me a little when someone would take a bad beat* and whine that the other player would never have bet that for real money. That is not the whole reason that I began playing for real money, but I can say that yes, people do make completely ignorant bets for real money, as high a stakes as you can get. All I really needed to do to know that was watch people on television. The difference is that they edit out all the in between hands.

Well, that's about all I have to say about online poker, but as usual upon covering a new topic I feel obligated to have an intro. Now, onto what chaps my ass about it, they are busting online cheaters. Now, those same people who bitch and whine about people making bad bets and still beating them also make claims after losing about how the online gaming tables are fixed. There are many claims, using the random card algorithm to know the next card is one I've heard them whine about. The truth is that odds are odds, and 1 in a million is still possible, even in successive hands, get over it.

Then, there is the actual, documented case of one of the founders of Absolute Poker.net for cheating and taking money out of the site through friends.
At least they caught the guy, the link is to a nice write up of how they did it, but let me summarize to my understanding. Somebody had access to an account used for testing the site when it was built, the account had special privileges, it could not actually play in money games, but it could see all the hole cards on the table. Then the cheater took over some unused accounts, from people who'd joined and let their accounts lapse. He used these accounts to win money, apparently on several different tables and specifically in winning a high stakes tournament.

One of the people he beat, a frequent player, requested the hand history of their head to head match-up from AbsolutePoker after the match, and was sent a file that listed not only his hands but all of the hands the player had played that tournament. The hand history of the entire tournament documented someone who HAD to know everyone else's cards. It all lead back to a former employee, but that is covered in the article.

Poker is enjoyable for me with the low risks involved, moreso than I enjoyed playing cribbage, which I did for a couple years, and maybe a little more because of the money. It seems like a little less of a waste of time, and I'm actually(just barely) still in the black as far what I've taken out and what I've put in.

Still, I hate to think that sometimes the whiners at the tables are right.

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