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Poker News | World Poker News

Cheating Proved at Online Poker Site?

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That's what the evidence suggests. Few online players have not read of the recent allegations that a "super-user" account had been used at Absolute Poker to win thousands. In fact the evidence seems pretty damning, but it isn't really conclusive either. For those not familiar with the situation, recent posts on another forum suggest that an account had knowledge of the opponent's hands. It cited as evidence, Poker Tracker, records that showed that the account only raised or folded on the river, and never called. Several hand histories were also supplied that show some rather bizarre plays. Maybe we should take some time and consider the situation and the evidence.

All of us have seen some bizarre play, at one time or another. I'm sure that the opponents of Annette_15, in her "blind" tournament have some rather strange hand histories in their Poker Tracker. What about the hand histories of Gus Hansen's WPT (World Poker Tour) wins. His play is definitely bizarre, and it is also quite successful. Only the most paranoid can imply, by an isolated number of hands, that cheating occurred. The "evidence" just needs to be stronger. That doesn't mean that it should be ignored. Unlike the live game, a record of every hand played online is maintained. The poker site can, (did) review every card, of every hand, played by the suspect account. The cameras of a live card room may be good, but they don't see the hole cards, and are oriented more at protecting the rake than players.

When the allegations surfaced Absolute Poker froze the account/s and did a review of every hand played by the suspect account/s over the period in question and found that although the play was very aggressive, and quite bizarre, it did not indicate there was knowledge of the hands held by opponents or future board cards. They also did a review of their software, and found no way a "super-user" account could be used to influence or observe the game. Can we believe them? I'm not sure, but I do know that providing a fair and secure game is in their best interest. They will probably lose more money due to this allegation than could ever be made using a "super-user" account. If they did find something I know they blocked the hole. What would we expect from our local poker room if there was a "cheating" scandal? I have money on Absolute Poker and will continue to play there.

In "Why Cheating Software Doesn't Work " I related how hard it is for an external threat to be successful against the sophisticated clients used by the online poker sites. The vulnerabilities occur at the ends of the process; at the site server where an untrustworthy employee/programmer might embed a Trojan in the client software, or at your own computer, where mal-ware can give thieves ready access to all of your personal information. Could a mole be put in the software? Yes, but the management of your online poker site understands that too, and they should have personnel security requirements that rival those of online banking firms. Your online site does everything they can to insure that their employees are trustworthy, and the integrity of their game. The biggest vulnerability to your poker bankroll remains the security of your personal computer. What kind of anti-spy ware are you running?

Regretfully, cheating sometimes occur at the poker table. Most of that cheating occurs in that "friendly" weekend game, and some also occurs at your local card room. It also occurs online, but the Poker Site isn't complicit in it, and has significantly more tools to catch and ban the cheaters, than your weekend host, or even that local poker room. Hopefully Absolute Poker will weather these allegations. We don't need to lose another online site that accepts Americans.

Maybe they should commission an outside investigation/review of the records, and I would like to suggest the newly formed Harshaw Consultants for the job, with over 100 years of poker and computer experience.

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