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Poker News | World Poker News

Absolute Poker – The Investigation Broadens

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When the New York Times writes about it, it is officially a big deal.

The allegations of cheating at Absolute Poker's online poker site have been previously refuted by the site's management, but due to the amazingly detailed and thorough investigations of concerned players, an official inquest has been launched. An independent auditing firm, Gaming Associates, has been retained to conduct the official investigation.

Mark Seif, an attorney and Absolute Poker sponsored player, posted a notice on his Bluff blog on Thursday, October 17th that was written by Absolute Poker's management. It reads, in part, as follows:

"As was stated in Absolute Poker's Official Response released on Friday October 12, 2007, Absolute Poker conducted an extensive investigation in response to the claims it was made aware of and received. The results of that investigation indicated that to the best of Absolute Poker's knowledge, information and belief there was no security breach...

"Based on the most recent claims... Absolute Poker has agreed to retain a widely acclaimed independent third party auditor, Gaming Associates, to conduct an independent audit of Absolute Poker's security systems. Specifically, Absolute Poker has requested that Gaming Associates conduct a thorough and extensive review of Absolute Poker's practices and security systems to determine whether it is possible for any person, device, program, script or other means to see hole cards thereby gaining an unfair advantage...

"Absolute Poker shall bear all expenses related to such investigation and is eager to learn about Gaming Associate's findings. Absolute Poker highly values and intends to protect its players, shareholders, business partners, and affiliates."

Players have suspected cheating on the site for several months, and after initially trying to bring it to the attention of Absolute Poker and hoping for a resolution, the players took matters into their own hands when they didn't feel their concerns were thoroughly or honestly addressed.

The matter began during a tournament in which numerous players suspected "POTRIPPER" was viewing the hole cards of competitors and making plays accordingly. One of the players who felt he had been cheated requested hand histories from the tournament, at which time Absolute Poker sent a file that contained much more than the histories themselves; it contained IP addresses, e-mail addresses, and other personal user data.

Upon the examination of the data, they noticed that each time an observer, said to be Account 363, began watching the table and possibly the hole cards, the cheater was able to play nearly flawless poker. Account 363 was found to belong to Scott Tom, who at one time - if not presently - was a partial owner of Absolute Poker. In addition, an inside source told PocketFives that the POTRIPPER moniker belongs to A.J. Green, supposed close friend to Tom.

While information continues to be forthcoming via online forums and various investigative journalists and bloggers, the story has made national headlines. Steven D. Levitt's New York Times story, entitled "The Absolute Poker Cheating Scandal Blown Wide Open," has been picked up by other national media sources, and has reportedly been interviewing the investigating players for a story to appear on their website.

And all eyes are currently on Gaming Associates, anxiously awaiting the results of their investigation. Numerous blogs and poker websites have already removed their affiliate and advertising links to Absolute Poker and their sister site, Ultimate Bet. The future of both sites seems directly linked to the forthcoming findings of Gaming Associates.

Levitt put it best in his NY Times article: "The real lesson of this all, however, is probably the following: guys who aren't that smart will figure out ways to cheat. And, with a little luck and the right data, folks who are a lot smarter will catch them doing it."

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