YOU are not getting scammed at Absolute Poker, but others have and the site is not secute or trustworthy.
Guess I have to go into a long blog at why I and many other high stakes professional players are convinced that several users (most likely controlled by the same individual) have the ability to see their opponents hole cards. Sorry Justin, but I know many of the parties involved and have been involved first hand in the discovery and data processing, not just as a lurker in some message boards. But - I still love you, and you are still my favorite hippie journalist :-).
From an internet message board cause I’m lazy and don’t want to write.
“Here is the backstory for the issue. Many have contributed to it.
SECURITY FLAW AT ABSOLUTE POKER?
Shortly after a recent software upgrade at Absolute Poker, several accounts with suspicious names and identical maniacal playing styles sat down at the highest-stakes games offered there, where tens of thousands of dollars change hands every hour.
Established high-stakes online players quickly noticed these “maniac” players at the tables, and lined up to get a chance to take their money.
Amazingly, the top online pros all lost money to these players, at an incredibly fast rate.
Since these pros understand poker and statistics better than you or I, they used various software tools to analyze how they could have fared better against these maniacs. They came to the same conclusion: the only possible way these maniacs could have won money is if they could see their opponent’s cards.
There have been many, many people claiming “online poker is rigged” ever since it started. And these claims have always been dismissed easily and quickly by the statistics experts. This time was different. The high-stakes players posted their findings on various online poker forums, and other experts who were not directly involved quickly validated their findings. One thing stood out above all others. On the last round of betting (after all the cards had been dealt out), the suspicious accounts always raised or folded - they never simply called a bet. While some players with aggressive playing styles will often raise or fold, it is unheard of
to *never* call. “The only time it makes any sense to never call in these spots is if you know if you are ahead or behind– in other words, if you know your opponent’s hole cards,” said OnlinePro1. “These maniacs made the right decision in these spots dozens of times in a row.”
Others investigated these mystery players and found even more evidence:
- The maniacs had been “chip dumping”, intentionally losing to other accounts. After the posts about the suspicious activity were made on the internet - all the accounts we had flagged dumped to never before heard of accounts. - Bryan
- They had finished either dead last or in first place in a series of large online tournaments, another highly improbable statistical anomaly, perhaps in an attempt to cover their tracks
- Before the software upgrade, these maniacs had been huge money losers at the low-stakes games, perhaps in another apparent attempt to cover their tracks.
To an overwhelming majority of thinking players who have reviewed this evidence, the conclusion is clear and inescapable: Some form of cheating was taking place at Absolute Poker. Now, this isn’t a reason for anyone to conclude that “online poker is rigged” in general. This appears to be an isolated incident at a single online site (although highly unfortunate for the honest players involved who lost money). Absolute Poker has already suspended the accounts of these maniacs, and claims to be conducting an investigation.
In the name of fairness, and to reassure the poker community about the safety of play at Absolute Poker and at other online poker sites, we ask Absolute Poker to remiburse the players who lost money to these scam artists, to publish a full analysis of the security leaks and how they have been sealed, and to commission a third-party audit of their internal security systems.”
Anyways, I personally stumbled onto this story in the beginning while watching my friends Marco and Dave play in the Absolute Poker Wednesday $1k guarantee tournament. I’m only going to bore you with one hand history:
Stage #896976330 Tourney ID 1883389 Holdem Multi Normal Tournament No Limit $4500 - 2007-09-13 01:43:49 (ET)
Table: 14 (Real Money) Seat #3 is the dealer
Seat 3 - POTRIPPER ($765740 in chips)
Seat 8 - CRAZYMARCO ($214260 in chips)
POTRIPPER - Ante $450
CRAZYMARCO - Ante $450
POTRIPPER - Posts small blind $2250
CRAZYMARCO - Posts big blind $4500
*** POCKET CARDS ***
POTRIPPER - Calls $2250
CRAZYMARCO - Checks
*** FLOP *** [4h Kd Kh]
CRAZYMARCO - Checks
POTRIPPER - Bets $9000
CRAZYMARCO - Calls $9000
*** TURN *** [4h Kd Kh] 7
CRAZYMARCO - Checks
POTRIPPER - Bets $13500
CRAZYMARCO - All-In(Raise) $200310 to $200310
POTRIPPER - Calls $186810
*** RIVER *** [4h Kd Kh 7s] 5
*** SHOW DOWN ***
POTRIPPER - Shows [10c 9c] (One pair, kings)
CRAZYMARCO - Shows [9h 2h] (One pair, kings)
POTRIPPER Collects $428520 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Board [4h Kd Kh 7s 5s]
Seat 3: POTRIPPER (dealer) (small blind) won Total ($428520) HI:($428520) with One pair, kings(ten kicker) [10c 9c - B:Kh,B:Kd,P:10c,P:9c,B:7s]
Seat 8: CRAZYMARCO (big blind) HI:lost with One pair, kings [9h 2h - B:Kh,B:Kd,P:9h,B:7s,B:5s]
Now, I’m sorry, but there is absolutely zero effing chance in any universe ever that anybody makes this call. POTRIPPER’s history before this tournament was a few small stakes things during the summer with zero success. So you mean to tell me that all of a sudden, just after a software update, POTRIPPER enters the 100k guaranteed 1k buyin tournament, crushes the whole way (I have personally seen all the hand histories, not just the ones posted on message boards), never pays off with a losing hand, never calls on the river, NEVER SEES A FLOP WHEN AN OPPONENT HAS QQ+, UNLESS HE HAS BETTER, and it was all just a statistical anomoly? No effing way. No. Period.
Does this happen statistically where you can go a short period without ever being behind at the river? Yes. Where you never have a hand to see a flop when an opponent has QQ or better, even when you are seeing more than 75% of the flops yourself? Sure. But will a human being play in the manner that the suspect accounts played without the ability to see their opponents hole cards? NEVER. Think about it. No human being will ever play >75% of their hands and never call a bet on the end unless it is an all-in bet into them and they have the hand beat, ESPECIALLY in limit hold’em! No human being ever will call with ten high no draw on the turn heads up of a major tournament. No human being ever will cold-cap from the small blind and then check-fold on a 522 flop. Now, to put the icing on the cake, in that specific instance an opponent had 55! Coincidence? Statistical anomoly? That defense seems pretty weak to me.
So, you have POTRIPPER making sick ten high calls in the tournaments, you have GREYCAT making sick plays in the 150-300 and 200-400 LHE games, and you have DOUBLEDRAG making sick plays in the NLHE games, all at the same time, all for less than a week, all immediately after a software update, and then shortly after the forums went up those three accounts lose ridiculous amounts of money to accounts we’ve never seen or heard of doing such things as calling all-in bets on the river with four high, and we’re supposed to believe that it was all just a random statistical fluke?
It just doesn’t make sense. There are too many variables here for the argument of statistical fluctuation to hold any water at all that rest outside of the cards themselves. The three most significant in my humble opinion are these:
1) The timing of everything. Software update happens, immediately three separate accounts we’ve never heard of show up and rape the biggest limit, NL, and tournament games available. Then when discovered, those same three accounts lose large amounts of money in absurd ways to three other accounts we’ve never heard of, and since discovery, zero of the accounts have been back. If it was all statistical fluction and really just a fishy player, then why did that player quit instantly after discovery? Wouldn’t that player be oblivious and think online poker is the easiest and just keep on playing? Why would they OBVIOUSLY chip dump their entire rolls to accounts never heard of before?
2) The human element. Nobody never calls the river. Especially if you see over 75% of the flops in limit hold’em. Anybody with any fundamental knowledge of the game knows this. Whether you’re fish or shark or lucky or unlucky or on a heater or cooler, you will always call the river sometimes. For a player to have played that many hands and never had just called the river is the greatest smoking gun to me, because it makes much more sense that “Oh, that player can see holecards and thus never calls the river,” than, “Oh, mr. fish has miracleously had such a string of cards that he has naturally been in situations where he never had to call on the river and the distribution led him to always raise or fold the river.” O RLY. Then why on the hands where the villian here has lost the most is where he’s raising the river with like six high and the opponent has something like bottom pair or ace high and calls him down light? Huh? How come the villian never raises six high when the opponent has a strong hand? HOW COME THE VILLIAN NEVER RAISES ON THE RIVER WHEN THE OPPONENT HAS A STRONG HAND, BUT IS RAISING A SIGNIFIGANT PORTION OF RIVERS? Think about that for a second if you really want to talk statistics! A player who sees >75% of the flops: Never calls on the river with a winner or loser, never raises when opponent has a strong or even medium hand on river, never makes it to the river when an opponent flops or turns a big hand, and is able to raise with bottom pair vs. ace high MULTIPLE times. Seriously? What is more statistically likely? That this just happened like magic or that the player had some outside influence?
3) Statistics themselves. You know the hypothesis that says if you take enough monkeys and teach them all how to write letters but nothing else, EVENTUALLY due to statistical fluctuation they will write works of shakespeare. Eventually a monkey will come up with “Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.” As a small exercise, lets give you a number of the odds of a monkey writing random letters coming up with that sentence, and I’m not even going to include punctuation or spaces or caps in the numbers. Each letter is a random one in 26, and the monkey must precicely pick ‘T’ first (1/26) followed by ‘h’ (1/26.. we’re already at a 1/676 chance that monkey writing random letters will write ‘Th’), followed by ‘o’… etc. Final numbers? 1/308,915,776 just for the monkey to come up with the word “Though”. That is one in three hundred million that the monkey comes up with “Though.” We’re not even getting into well known works like “Oh Romeo”, which bring that number up to 1/8,031,810,176, or one in eight billion. For a monkey writing random letters to randomly write “Oh Romeo.” Now, Poker Stars just completed their billionth hand, and I’m not sure the number of hands played on the internet in history, but on Absolute Poker in one week three separate monkeys wrote the book on how to play poker perfectly in three separate games: Limit Hold’em, No-Limit Hold’em, and Tournament Hold’em. So if you want to tell me that it was all a statistical fluke, your arguement goes right out the window, because it is statistically much more likely for these players to have been cheating rather than monkeys writing Shakespeare.
Put all these together and it is the opionion of myself and many other well respected high stakes professionals, both live and online, that without a doubt player(s) were cheating on Absolute Poker.
Well, now what? Number one, don’t play at absolute poker. It is obvious that the site got cracked in one way or another. Perhaps it was internally, perhaps it was externally. Number two, most of us, myself included, don’t need to worry about this too much. Anybody who has the ability to see other’s hole cards are going to use it at the highest level, not the games that most of us play. Number three, educate yourself. Check out the forums that have ALL the data. Evaluate the data for yourself. This is not some “internet poker is rigged” conspiricy theory. There is hard data and evidence backing this up and the people bringing the accusations forward are very well respected individuals.
I have continued to play at Full Tilt and Stars with complete confidence.
Lastly, I can understand why Absolute hasn’t done anything about this. They are truly in a crappy spot. They can deny, deny, deny, and let these blogs and forums go up with only public opinion going against them. Meanwhile, they can freeze the accounts in question (done), and try and sweep everything under the rug. It would be nice if they returned the money won by the cheaters, but I could see them not doing that simply to avoid admission of guilt. This is the best case for them because the general poker public is never going to know about this story and won’t really care. They’ll continue playing online at Absolute Poker like nothing happened. If it becomes public that Absolute has in fact been cracked, then the site is going down and they’re going to lose a lot of revenue because nobody is ever going to trust their security.
Ok… that is all.
Peace and good luck,