It started as a quiet murmur across internet message boards; quiet accusations that an online poker room had done the unthinkable. Reports were vague early on, but as the story began to take shape, the accusations became clear. A section of the online poker player community was making the bold statement that Absolute Poker had a "Super User" account that could see the cards of everyone at the table, giving that player an unfair advantage over all opponents.
The initial reaction of the poker community was to dismiss the rumors. After all, Absolute Poker is the third largest poker room on the internet, and certainly makes enough money that it does not have to cheat. However, attitudes quickly changed when a file released by Absolute Poker was transcribed into a tournament simulation broadcast on the popular video sharing web site, YouTube.
The file in question was sent to a player at Absolute Poker who suspected that he had been cheated and requested a copy of his hand history. Instead of receiving his own hand history, he received a file that detailed the hole cards and IP addresses of every player who took part in the high stakes poker tournament. Those who reviewed the file in detail quickly came to the conclusion that the account who won the tournament, Potripper, was clearly playing with an unfair advantage.
There was compelling evidence against Absolute Poker that suggested Potripper was an inside player with Super User access. To begin with, Potripper was followed throughout the tournament by a lurker, titled simply as 363. This invisible member was present at every hand Potripper played, with the exception of the first two hands of the tournament, which Potripper promptly folded.
After the arrival of 363, Potripper saw the flop of every hand in the game, all the way up until a player betting after him had been dealt pocket kings. Potripper then switched his play for the one hand, folding, which indicates to some that he knew he would not call a raise that was anticipated on the hand. Following this, Potripper resumed his normal manner of play.
There was other evidence that suggested that Potripper was a cheat. For one thing, the IP address associated with the account was traced back to a server at the Kahnawake Gaming Commission that belonged to Absolute Poker. Further investigation of the IP address associated it with Scott Tom, a co-founder and former manager of Absolute Poker.
The revelations were shocking. It appeared that Senior Management at Absolute Poker was using the Potripper monicker to cheat it’s players. Absolute Poker consistently denied all allegations until the point where the story broke on major news syndication services, including Associated Press, Reuters and Associated Content.
At this time, Absolute Changed their story to blame a technical staff member for the activity, stating that this employee was trying to make a point to management and just took things too far. An apology was issued and restitution (plus interest) paid to those involved. By this time it was too late – the poker cheating scandal at Absolute Poker had advanced to the next level, as droves of complaints flooded the Kahnawake Gaming Commission that had issued an online gaming license to the site.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission has launched a full investigation into the ordeal, using an independent, third party auditor to review server logs and other evidence that relates to the Potripper cheating scandal at Absolute Poker. The investigation is still on-going, and the gaming commission’s agents and associates are in the process of finalizing the audit of Absolute Poker’s operations.
The audit is expected to be completed and submitted to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission by December 7th. At this time, the gaming commission will review the report and determine the appropriate course of action in the matter of Absolute Poker’s alleged cheating. The online poker community waits with eager anticipation for a concrete answer on just how deep the Potripper cheating ordeal goes and whether it was a technical employee or Absolute Poker’s management that was cheating players.
The whole ordeal already casts a shadow of doubt across the online poker industry as a whole. After all, if the 3rd largest poker room can be caught cheating players red-handed, it stands to reason that players would question other poker rooms as well.
Beyond this, the Potripper cheating scandal also puts a spotlight on the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Online licensing bodies have, in the past, been notoriously reluctant to take a firm position of regulatory enforcement against license holders. Kahnawake could very well change all of that. With over 400 gambling licenses issued by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, and with other troubles surrounding a recent find imposed on Golden Palace casino, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission clearly has something to prove in the eyes of the international gaming community.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission has refused further comment on the case of Absolute Poker pending the results of the independent auditors.