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Possible Absolute Poker Security Breach Investigated

A Tournament Winner May Have Had Inside Help

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) has hired an independent auditor to investigate claims that Absolute Poker's security system was breached during a $1,000 buy-in tournament held last month. There is speculation that a former Absolute Poker employee shared holecard information with the winner of that tournament.

Absolute Poker approached Gaming Associates, a company that provides accreditation and security services to casinos, to conduct the audit. However, according to Gaming Associates, it will work directly with KGC, the poker site's regulating body, to perform "an audit into the current and historic activities of Absolute Poker and interaction with its gaming and financial systems."

"We are commissioned by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission," said Alan Pedley, a principal consultant for Gaming Associates who is directly involved in the Absolute Poker audit. "To be fair to Absolute, they were interested in commissioning us. However, we prefer not to be engaged by operators. We prefer independence and to deal directly with government regulators. So, I guess to underline that, this isn't just being forced upon Absolute; it would appear that they genuinely want to get to the bottom of all of this."

KGC regulates and controls gaming and gaming-related activities conducted within and from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. Located in Quebec, Canada, the Commission, according to its website, has issued permits to hundreds of gaming operations, including Absolute Poker and many of the largest and most respected online poker sites.

Pedley said that Gaming Associates is completely independent from both the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and Absolute Poker, and it has never audited Absolute Poker before.

Absolute Poker has agreed to provide Card Player with a final copy of the Gaming Associates report. A deadline for the final report has yet to be established.

The entire statements released by both Absolute Poker and KGC concerning this issue are published later in this article.

Hand History Raises Questions

The investigation stems from a request made by professional poker player Marco Johnson, who plays under the screen name "CrazyMarco." Immediately after the tournament, which took place on Sept. 12, he requested the hand history for a final table from Absolute Poker after a player named POTRIPPER called his all-in bluff with a busted nine-high flush draw with just 10 high.

Instead of the hands for the final table, Absolute Poker sent Johnson a spreadsheet containing a large amount of information about the first 94 hands of the tournament.

Card Player obtained a copy of this hand-history spreadsheet from Nat Arem, the first member of the poker community to analyze the spreadsheet in depth and share his findings with a number of prominent poker forums. The document is a little more than 9 megabytes in size (very large for a spreadsheet) and contains 65,536 lines of information.

The hand history shows a pattern of unorthodox poker play, wherein POTRIPPER maximizes his profits and minimizes his losses perfectly in each hand. The entire hand history is available in a video format on YouTube.

Unorthodox play, however, wasn't the only information that was documented in the hand-history spreadsheet. It also included e-mail addresses, IP addresses, and user ID numbers of some players and observers. An observer with a very low user ID number, 363 (an ID number likely created very early in Absolute Poker's history), was watching POTRIPPER's table for all but the first two hands of the tournament and was never documented as having left.

Questions arose when the IP addresses of that user and one other observer were scrutinized. As stated, user 363, with a Costa Rican IP address, watched POTRIPPER's table throughout the tournament. Then, an observer using a different Absolute Poker account, but from the exact same IP address, (which, in this case, means using the same Internet connection as user 363, likely from the same computer or household), opened up a different table in the same tournament. That observer's registered e-mail address was is a domain that is registered to Absolute Entertainment in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The person behind the e-mail address may be Scott Tom, who Absolute Poker confirmed as a former employee.

Absolute Poker, in its statement, says Tom "has not been involved with Absolute Poker for over a year, and to the best of our knowledge, information, and belief, has not had access to any of Absolute Poker's systems, databases, or information." It has, according to its statement, requested a formal investigation into that matter, as well.

Absolute Poker says that holecard-viewing technology does not exist in its company or any company it manages.

The entire statements from Absolute Poker and KGC on the situation follow:

Absolute Poker Official Management Statement

Absolute Poker Management wishes to inform the poker community of the following information in response to the most recent claims posted over the past 48 hours on the 2+2 and Pocket Fives forums wherein again it is alleged that some person or persons breached Absolute Poker's redundant and varying levels of game client security.

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. Specifically, Absolute Poker's internal investigation determined that it is impossible for any person, device, program, script or other means to see hole cards.

Based on the most recent claims that Absolute Poker has been made aware of and at the request of some of our players and business partners, 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 system's 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 has agreed to fully cooperate with Gaming Associates and its investigative team and to provide the above with unfettered access to all systems, protocols and databases at Absolute Poker worldwide. Absolute Poker has also agreed to allow Gaming Associate's final report to be made available to Pocket Fives and Bluff Media for their review.

With respect to the claims that Scott Tom, a former Member of Team Absolute Poker, is in anyway involved in wrong-doing, Absolute Poker has requested a formal investigation into that matter as well. Mr. Tom has not been involved with Absolute Poker for over a year and to the best of our knowledge, information and belief has not had access to any of Absolute Poker's systems, databases or information.

Absolute Poker reserves the right to pursue any and all remedies whether in law or equitable which may procure to it as a result of any unlawful and injurious actions taken by any individuals who may have falsified any information, documents, files, or have by other means attempted to disparage and/or harm Absolute Poker, its Players, its current our former management, employees, business partners or affiliates.

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.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission's Statement

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) announced today an audit into the current and historic activities of Absolute Poker and interaction with its gaming and financial systems. As a KGC license holder Absolute Poker is obliged to adhere to the Regulations Concerning Interactive Gaming. Absolute Poker has agreed to fully cooperate with the KGC and / or its agents.

Mr. David Montour, the Commission's Chairman, said, "This week allegations of impropriety have been bought to the attention of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. We have appointed experts to conduct a thorough audit of all circumstances, provide findings and recommendations to the Commission. The audit will not be restricted to examining theories circulating in Internet chat rooms and for a (sic)".

The Commission has instructed Gaming Associates to conduct the audit and report to the Commission. Gaming Associates is acknowledged world wide as an expert interactive gaming test and audit house - accredited by regulators worldwide. Gaming Associates' consultants are pioneers in interactive gaming regulation - recognized as experts in this field since the 1990s, and information security experts.

"It is essential that all online gaming and wagering is conducted in a fair and honest manner where customers are protected. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is committed to ensuring fair and honest gaming. Nevertheless, it is important that we, as a Commission, act on findings and not allegations alone."

For information on this release, please contact the KGC in writing.

Bob Pajich, Shawn Green, and Justin Marchand contributed to this report.
Tags: poker beat


11 years ago

Another one???? Is security on these sites really so horridly poor? Wow. no more money from me.


11 years ago

The question we should be asking is - who is Scott Tom?

My clients are shareholders of Absolute Poker. Scott Tom is still very much involved in Absolute Poker.

Everyone knows Poker is not legal in the United States. Scott Tom and his American cronies manipulated the corporate structure - playing the age-old shell game - to minimize their exposure to Absolute Poker.

Scott Tom controls everything from behind the scenes. So don't believe the bull**** "Absolute Poker Management" throws at you - because the Management is Scott Tom.

Scott Tom receives hefty income from Absolute Poker. Looking at his high-flying lifestyle - beautiful house in Costa Rica, luxury cars, frequent private jet travel around the World, and bodyguards - we estimate his income to be in the range of millions per year.

Is Scott Tom stupid enough to cheat the players that have made him wealthy and on top - get caught cheating?

Yes. Scott Tom and his cronies are indeed foolish. Suicidal foolish...

Absolute Poker Management states "Absolute Poker highly values and intends to protect its players, shareholders, business partners, and affiliates."

Let's discuss exactly how Scott Tom and his cronies have treated shareholders. These are the people that risked their hard-earned savings to give Absolute Poker its start many years ago.

Scott Tom and his cronies have totally blown off shareholders. While they are busy flying around the World spending thousands and thousands on luxury - shareholders have seen little more than a trickle.

Today, Shareholders are totally ignored by Scott Tom and his Absolute Poker Management. Calls and emails are ignored. Shareholders have no access to Scott Tom. Behind a curtain setup by lawyers, Absolute Poker was sold to yet another shell company belonging to Scott Tom. This minimized any return shareholders can get.

Despite this, shareholders are owed USD 250,000,000. Besides his father and other relatives being paid off secretly, the common shareholder after many delays and excuses can assume only that their money will never be paid back.

Scott Tom and his cronies live in Costa Rica. A country where killing can be bought for a few thousand dollars.

Ask yourself - if you stole $250,000,000 from investors and flaunt your wealth while letting them starve - would you expect to live a long and prosperous life?

Scott Tom and his cronies think so. They think an "independent poker commission" is going to clear them and the players will come rushing back to Absolute Poker. They think legal structures and lawyers will protect them from investors who have waited for many years to get their money back.

The worse problem Scott Tom now faces is Absolute Poker might fall apart because he cheated players. And he cannot pay back investors after giving himself, his cronies, and his family years of luxurious living using money that should have been paid to investors.

Scott Tom and his cronies have no future.

There is only one way out. Pay back the players that they cheated. Pay back the investors they cheated. And do this quickly.

Time has run out for Scott Tom, his cronies, and Absolute Poker.


11 years ago

Well Im sure never playing on AB Poker and am spreading the word in the Cali casinos. Maybe the US did me a favor by making it tough to play poker on line. Anyway . . . no more AB Poker for sure. The jury is still out on Pokerstars.


11 years ago

this makes me and others here in vegas further believe online poker is rigged


11 years ago

carlosesino...You lost me when you said Poker is not legal in the United States. Where is the written law that states Online Poker is illegal?


11 years ago

Let's not hope that Scott Tom is a member of cardplayer, resulting in carlosesino loosing his MyCardPlayerID...

"Messages that harass, abuse or threaten other members; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links may be removed and may result in the loss of your MyCardPlayer ID"


11 years ago

this just confirms what I have believed for a little while.
First of all, Scott Tom is a scumbag! that's known throughout a lot of us who happen to be well informed....

secondly, look at some of the post's on the article about PokerStars disqualifying the WCOOP player 'theVoid'...
and do you think AbsolutePoker is alone?!?! Isn't Bodog also in CostaRica?..
as one of the other poster's said, until this stuff is opened and regulated within the US, every one of us who continues to play online at these sites, is taking a risk and may not even know it....


11 years ago

I play on pokerstars and I recently recieved a credit to my account because someone was supposedly cheating on one of the sit and gos I was involved in. I was always skeptical about some of the play due to the fact I had a gut feeling I was being cheated somehow by other players due to their play. The recent news of cheaters doesn't suprise me one bit. I refuse to further play at these poker sites until this issue is resolved.


11 years ago

This needed to happen. Much like the horse-racing fix that happened 2-3 years ago when two fraternity brothers placed superfecta bets moments after the Breeder's Cup, this onlike poker scam provides a wake-up call. Fortunately, in both cases, the people running the scams are clearly ignorant. Had the person not called with a 10-high, and waited for another hand, it wouldn't have been so blatantly obvious. Thanks to that person for his stupidity.

As a professional poker player, it has always been obvious to me and many other colleagues that on-line poker is rigged. I have recorded countless events that provide clear evidence to this fact. Most poker pros and journals stay away from the topic, because if they challenge it, they lose potential advertising and/or sponsorship revenue. To those pros that now sponsor Absolute, what's your take now? Yeah, you still get your paycheck, so who cares right?

There's not much any of us can do to stop the scam of on-line poker. The crooks will never get caught or penalized. The rigging will continue. The only solution is to stop playing on the sites. How I wish we could make that happen.


11 years ago

When i play online I suffer the worst beats you could ever imagine. Ive always felt like I was being cheated, only to find out i was. Everyone has probably thought the same thing at one point or another. Whenever alot of money is involved in anything theres always someone out there trying to cheat. Thers no doubt in my mind people are out there cheating. I find it hard to believe that there is certain players out there that are winning hundreds of thousands of dollars consistently because they are that much better and that they have the greatest luck in the world. To keep it real the cheaters are just laughing all the way to the bank.


almost 11 years ago

i knew and was waiting 4 this 2 happen .there are 2 many technologicaly savey people out there.i wanted 2 play 2 have fun and improve my game.there is software out there that u can use 2 anylize players hand history.from now on its only land based casino's 4 me. 4 people who want 2 spend 1000's of hrs. with this software and hand history info they will always have the upper edge. on-line has always been under scrutiny and is impersonal and aynonymos