While high stakes online poker isn't the only target when it comes to cheating, it's one of the most lucrative IF the thief gets away with it. Doug "WCGRider" Polk just let the world know this week that his online poker play was hacked earlier this year on PokerStars.
A post on the TwoPlusTwo poker forums explains that sometime this spring Polk's computer was compromised and a player in a high-stakes match was viewing his hole cards. On March 26th Polk was in a game with an unknown — "Forbidden536" — and Polk managed to drop around $35,000. Polk started at limits lower than he usually plays on that day, $5/$10 No Limit Hold'em, and after a short match, he and Forbidden536 moved to $25/$50 limit and then on up to $50/$100. Polk began to note some very unusual trends in Forbidden536's play as Polk kept getting crushed.
"I began to get absolutely wrecked," Polk explained. "He was leading 45%, min 3-betting and calling huge 4 bets with 83o, and then also c/r and c/f 28%. In 3 bet pots he raised every spot I didn't have it, and was c/f at an alarming frequency when I had the goods. I was beginning to get worried."
A week after Polk contacted PokerStars about his concerns, he got a call from the support staff and the matter was under investigation. April 19th came with an email from PokerStars that Forbidden536's account had been frozen — "It does appear extremely likely that this player was able to see your hole cards during your recent playing session."
PokerStars came to the conclusion on June 26th that a superuser-style attack had taken place against Polk and the company credited his account with a full refund of $34,397.10. Polk stressed the fact that the incident was not due to a problem in PokerStars' software.
Polk cannot positively identify the perpetrator but he suspects that it might be a person named Joshua Tyler who was introduced to Polk by fellow high-stakes player Dan "Jungleman" Cates. Tyler is an IT specialist from the U.K. and Polk basically opened his apartment in Las Vegas to him more than once...even when Polk was out of the country. Tyler visited from March 22nd-24th and it was after that visit that the session with Forbidden536 took place.
Polk recounted the following from that weekend.
"One of my roommates saw Josh go into my office. The office is only accessible if you walk through the master bedroom into a balconied hallway that leads to it; the office is the only room in this area. My laptop is stored in my office, and is my exclusive computer used for poker while traveling. I don't understand why Josh would be in my office to begin with, nor what happened while he was there."
Polk warned the poker community to be watchful of Tyler. "At best he has poor ethics and takes part in suspicious activity, and at worst he has the ability to hack high stakes players for significant amounts of money," he said.
Visit TwoPlusTwo.com to read Polk's full post.
Image courtesy of PokerNews.com.