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Poker News | World Poker News

Absolute Poker – The Latest Developments

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As the saga of the Absolute Poker cheating allegations and investigations continues, developments continue to come to the attention of the press. For some background, please refer to the previous article on PokerWorks.

The late evening hours of Thursday, October 18th brought a message posted by Adam Small of PocketFives.com via the site's discussion forum. It read: "PocketFives just received a phone call from Absolute Poker confirming the suspicions of the online poker community over the past month. While we need to be vague in this post to respect their wishes, we can say that their systems were compromised, and that they are prepared to provide the details in a statement coming shortly. Part of the statement will include a plan to refund players affected by this compromise."

Though a soon-to-be-released statement was promised, nearly a day passed before seeing anything from Absolute Poker that came close to an official statement. What did surface was an article on MSNBC's website entitled, "Online Poker Cheating Blamed on Employee." Mike Brunker reported that a spokesman for Absolute Poker spoke to him but asked to remain anonymous.

The spokesman told MSNBC that a hacker exploited a security flaw to gain access to poker tournaments and see the hole cards. Brunker wrote, "The cheater, whose illegitimate winnings were estimated at between $400,000 and $700,000 by one victim, was an employee of AbsolutePoker.com who hacked the system to show that it could be done." He went on to say that the employee did not withdraw any of the funds from the accounts that were used in the cheating scheme, and the site's management has closed the security breach and will consider a lawsuit and criminal charges against the suspected employee.

The MSNBC article also reported that the anonymous Absolute Poker spokesman claimed that Tom Scott, the partial owner of the company who was the target of much finger-pointing in past days by investigative poker players, was framed and played no part in the fraud whatsoever. In fact, he said that no management was involved in the scandal.

While a major news outlet was in touch with the Absolute Poker source of information, some of the site's players received an e-mail from Absolute Poker's management, which again promised a more detailed release of information and offered the following:

"Absolute Poker has identified an internal security breach that compromised our systems for a limited period of time. The cause of the breach has been determined and completely resolved. In addition, all necessary resources, both internal and external, have been engaged to ensure this does not happen again. Our investigation is not fully concluded, and we wish to thank the extended poker community for any and all assistance related to the matter.

"Game integrity has always and continues to be of the utmost importance at Absolute Poker. The Management of Absolute Poker is appalled by these findings, and is committed to our players and to the integrity of our site and the online poker industry.

"All players affected by the security breach will be identified during the audit process that has been initiated and all funds, including interest, will be returned. Absolute Poker would like to apologize for the recent events and is committed to diligently working with outside security firms, auditing firms, the extended poker community and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission to ensure the situation is entirely resolved.

"A comprehensive statement will be forthcoming shortly providing more details of the situation."

Meanwhile, Mark Seif, who represents Absolute Poker as a sponsored player and has been previously silent about his personal opinions on the subject, issued a personal statement on Thursday, October 18. In the blog post, he noted that he takes the allegations against Absolute Poker very seriously and will not ignore the facts once they are proven.

He wrote, "I am open to the possibility that improper, unethical and perhaps even unqualified cheating may have occurred at AP. I am even open to the possibility that present or former AP employees, or executives may have participated, condoned or were negligent in failing to discover the alleged improper acts. But, and this is a big BUT, I feel it is imperative that we wait until all the evidence is in before we convict. It's only fair. It's the right thing to do. In my career as an attorney, I witnessed, first hand, many cases of a rush to judgment that ultimately proved to be entirely incorrect and/or mistaken."

Mark also unequivocally denied any allegations of his participation in any cheating. He will await an official statement from Absolute Poker before rendering any final judgments and hopes that the poker industry "will emerge even better than before as a result of the amazing, dedicated and tireless work of some very intelligent and vigilant players."

Everyone in the poker media - even mainstream media - and poker industry at large awaits the official statement from Absolute Poker. For the sake of everyone involved, it should be released sooner rather than later. A resolution is desperately needed in this situation.

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