Insights on online poker cheating scandals that for many poker players who love our game of online poker these scandals have done harm., Because of different forces trying to ruin our great game we have set out on a mission to bring you the truth of what is really going on while exposing those forces that are trying to ruin online poker for all the poker players who want to play fairly. For starters, check out the List of Professional Poker Cheaters.
Cheating and Politics Make Online Poker Slow Down After Initial Explosion. Online Poker Scandals are Hurting the Game
UltimateBet Superuser scandal which saw many Superuser accounts take millions of dollars off of the players at the highest No Limit Texas Holdem games on the Internet. Some of the UltimateBet owners and management are involved in the cheating directly and in the cover up as well.
Online Poker Account Selling becomes a new phenomena whereas online pros take over another player's account late in a tournament for a percentage of the profit. Account Selling has been discussed recently in forums but was brought to the poker world's attention because of the cheaters Chris "BluffMagCV" Vaughn and Sorel 'Imper1um' Mizzi who were caught account selling on Full Tilt Poker when Chris Vaughn's account won the $1 Million guaranteed but Imper1um had taken over with about 24 players remaining.
The UIGEA, which made it unlawful for banks to cooperate with gambling sites, was put into the SAFE Port Act at the last minute without any discussion.
Many large poker rooms most of which were publicly traded online poker rooms, such as Party Poker, Doyles Room, and Paradise Poker pulled out of the US market because of the UIGEA.
After those big poker rooms pulled out of the US, there was a long period of uncertainty as to whether Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker, Ultimatebet, and Bodog would do the same.
Many of the online banks (e-wallets) like Neteller stopped serving customers from the United States, making it very difficult for players to fund and withdraw money from poker sites. On top of this, the largest online bank, Neteller, froze players funds for many months.
Many cases of multi-accounting were publicized and several lifetime bans from playing online poker were handed out to those caught. One of those banned, JJProdigy, becomes a regular face at major brick and mortar tournament final tables despite serving a lifetime ban which started two years ago. Another multi-accounting player, a well known online poker player ZeeJustin, who at the age of 16 wins almost $140,000 in an online poker tournament while using two accounts.
Jamie Gold won the World Series of Poker in 2006. His lack of marketability combined with a highly publicized legal battle for who held the right to his winnings did not benefit poker in anyway. Then in 2007, another unmarketable player in Jerry Yang won the championship.
Full Tilt Poker makes headlines when a bot scandal breaks out where software bots were discovered playing high stakes Limit Holdem. Many players were reimbursed by the poker site. Recent allegations of Bots being used at Ultimate Bet are rumored in poker forums. The allegations say that Ultimate Bet are aware of the Bots but continue to not do anything to stop them in order to keep the games full.
The World Championship of Online Poker winner TheV0id was caught multi-accounting in that tournament, he loses his title and the $1 million dollar first place prize.
Absolute Poker scandal breaks out revealing two high ranking management personnel used a super-user account that allowed them to see the hole cards of their opponents to take hundreds of thousands of dollars off of other players. Reports surface that this may have been going on for longer then originally thought, and maybe up to 7 million was stolen from players over three years. The pro face of absolute poker, Mark Sief, blatantly lies to the poker community repeatedly trying to cover up the scandal claiming its simply impossible to think that is possible, despite overwhelming publicly available hand history proof that cheating occurred.
All Time Best Online Poker Shout Outs
- "They had everything and still needed to cheat, greedy."
- "cheaters should rot in 1*beep*2
- "Those congressmen who stuck that stupid law onto that port bill at the last minute w/out any discussion do not deserve to get reelected ever"
- "online poker scandals put a dark cloud on poker"
- "I'm so sick of my aces losing to some donkey who calls off all his chips with suited garbage like 9-6."
- "This site is cool. It's nice to learn what's going on in the dark side of online poker"
- "Bring it on bots, I love taking your money"
- "If your not cheating your not trying"
- "WCOOP multi-tabling loser should get an earful from every player every time he plays in a real tournament"
- "If you can't win playing legit then go take a long walk off a short pier"
The UIGEA makes it illegal for banks to transfer funds between online gambling sites including online poker rooms.
Party Poker, Doyles Room, Paradise Poker, PokerRoom, and others leave the US market because they are publicly traded gambling sites.
Other sites nearly leave the US market as well, but in the end they figure that US law does not apply to them because they operate outside of the United States.
It becomes difficult for American players to deposit and withdraw funds from online poker rooms because companies like Neteller have stopped fund transfers to gaming sites.
Multi-Accounting cheating scandals rock the poker world and a great deal of negative publicity follows, including two well known young online poker players JJProdigy and ZeeJustin.
Two unmarketable players win the main event of the WSOP in 2006 and 2007, Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang. On top of that, Jamie Gold's prize winnings are fought over in court.
The sites reimburse several high stakes poker players because bots are found being used at their limit holdem games. Recent allegations of UltimateBet knowingly allowing bots to play surface in poker forums.
World Championship of Online Poker winner TheV0id is disqualified from the tournament and loses $1.2 million first place prize money for multiple-accounting.
Management at Absolute Poker are caught using a super user account to see opponents hole cards and cheat their own players out of $700,000. For the full story, check out Absolute Poker Scandal.
Account Selling scandal breaks when an editor for Bluff Magazine sells his online poker account temporarily to a well known internet poker pro Imper1um. Imper1um gets shunned by the media and the poker community after the news is released that with about 24 players left in one of the major Sunday Million Dollar Guarantee tournaments on Full Tilt Poker he win almost $200,000. Both have been banned from Full Tilt Poker for life and the editor was fired from Bluff Magazine.
Online Poker Cheating Frequently Asked Questions
What's the Truth? The facts about online poker myths, truthful information about online poker cheating that covers frequently asked questions. Read the skinny on what's fact and what's fiction in our online poker cheating frequently asked questions. Hopefully this will rest your mind a little.
The cards are not random. FALSE. Online card rooms use very sophisticated random card generators to deal each hand. The programs are written with several levels of sophisticated randomizing agents which produce better shuffling then a brick and mortar card room dealer. After the hole cards are dealt, the remainder of the deck is still randomized until the flop is called for, then the generator randomly selects the 3 flop cards from the remaining part of the deck and puts them on the board. This process is repeated for the turn and river, therefore the board cards are not even predetermined at the beginning of the hand. When online poker was in its infancy, Planet Poker's system of randomization was not very good, and keen observers were able to recognize a pattern and could therefore predict future cards. Since then the degree of randomness has been greatly increased so that it is now totally impossible to find a pattern. Online card rooms use independent auditing/accounting firms to monitor their card generators to ensure they are 100% random at all times.
Online poker is rigged because I see more 4 of a kinds, straight flushes, and full houses beating full houses then I would ever see in a casino poker room. FALSE. The reason you see way more amazing hands online that you rarely ever see in real life is that when playing online, you play about 5-6 more hands per hand then you would at an actual casino. For example, in a given night, you may play 250 hands in a casino over 8 hours. Playing 8 hours online at just one table, you have played about 1,500 hands. If you multi-table, then you would be playing double, triple, or even quadruple that during the 8 hours. Therefore, with so many more hands played during that time period you have seen many more incredible hands, but it is relatively the same percentage of incredible hands that you would have seen in a brick and mortar casino. For example:
This heads up pot limit Omaha hi/low sit and go hand just seems like a perfectly set up hand. I flop the straight flush with a 2-3 low while my opponent flops top set with a 2-4 low. After we both check on the flop, the board pairs on the turn and all the money goes in. My opponents only 'out' is a 3 to win the low and chop the pot. The blank on the river ships me the pot and I win the sit and go. At first I am thinking to myself, that hand was almost too perfect, but then I consider that I play a lot of these heads up sit and go's and eventually a hand like this is going to occur. Though at first it may look unrealistic, but if you take into account the number of hands I play then it makes sense that even miraculous hands like this are going to occur.
Poker sites are rigged because they intentionally create 'action' hands to make more money. FALSE. The thought behind this misconception is that action hands involving several players make more money for the casino because the pot is larger therefore the rake gets maxed out. This belief is totally the opposite of the truth. Online casinos make less money because of multi-way action hands. Normally, a heads up hand that goes to showdown will max the rake out. On the other hand, during a multi-way pot the casino rake has already been maxed out, i.e. the usual $3 once the pot got to $30, all additional money going into the pot does not benefit the casino. So the extra time it takes for an action hand to be played the casino is not making any additional money. Furthermore, multi-way hands usually involve more thinking, so players often take longer to make their decision. Simply put, it would be in the online casino's best interest if all hands were quick heads up hands that didn't have a lot of action or thinking involved.
I am playing against a bot (robot, computer). TRUE. Poker bots do exist and are used by players. But, the fact is a computer can play great in games with perfect information, such as chess, where during each decision all the information is available. However, poker is a game of imperfect information, with players concealing their hole cards and using varying betting patterns, it is impossible for a bot to know what is the correct play every time. Currently, the bots that people use are very unsophisticated and normally lose consistently. They consistently make the wrong decision and in online poker, consistently making the wrong decision brings financial ruin. Recently, top poker pros played against the best poker computer in the world in heads up matches, the pros beat the computer program during the competition proving that even the most advanced computers are still incapable of playing against skilled poker players. Furthermore, online poker rooms and players often detect accounts using bots - sometimes its as obvious when a player plays for 30 hours without a bathroom break or never chats- and those accounts get banned. Seethe article on Poker Bots for more info.
Multi-accounting occurs in online poker tournaments. True. However, these players are getting caught and their prize winnings are getting revoked. See the article on Multiaccounting for more info.
Another online casino frequently asked question is whether hackers can see my hole cards. False. With the exception of the Absolute Poker Scandal, the software running the online poker rooms have protections in place that make this impossible. The data showing the cards you have is only available locally on your own computer, and is only returned to the server during the showdown of a hand. Feeling secure when you are gambling is a common online poker cheating FAQ since money is at stake and nobody wants to get cheated playing online casino games.
Players are colluding. True. Unfortunately this has always been one of the biggest problems with online poker. Two, three, four or even more people can be exchanging information with each other during the hand via telephone, instant messaging, or being in the same room. They can trap other players in the hand and use the extra information to give themselves an unfair competitive advantage. However, their is some reasons to believe that this is not happening as often as one might expect. First, the online casinos keep amazing records of every hand played. These hand histories can be analyzed both manually and automatically by computer programs to determine whether two accounts are playing an unreasonable amount at the same table together. These account get flagged and closed down. Therefore, for collusion to work the two cheaters would have to play a significant amount of hands at different tables, and with most people who collude cheating because they can't win normally without cheating, they usually lose their money at the other tables anyway. The hand histories also can show when a hand is played abnormally. For example, if the flop is AQ6 and three people are in the pot, one with AA, one with AQ, and one with 66, and the one holding AQ folds unrealistically on the flop, that would be telling evidence that he was communicating with the player with AA. Or, if with the same AQ6 flop, one player has the AA, one has K7, and the other A6, and the player with K7 re raises over and over again but folds before the showdown essentially making the 66 player lose as much as possible, then that is strong evidence that the AA and K7 were trapping the 3rd player with A6 to win as much money as possible. When the hand is reviewed, it is glaringly apparent that the two players were working together, the online casino then shuts down the two accounts and the money is returned to the player who was cheated. Additionally, those who collude usually play at the higher takes where they can make the most money, so low stake games are normally free of collusion. See the article on poker collusion for more info.
After cashing out I always seem to lose, is this something the site is doing to penalize me for cashing money out of the online poker site? False. It is just merely normal fluctuations, however, thinking with this mentality may make you play differently and cause you to play differently. The truth about the cash out curse is that it is more mental, so if you hit a dry spell right after cashing out you immediately think of the cash out curse and that may make you play differently from when you were winning, making the situation worse.
Collusion is the Most Common Form of Poker Cheating
This article explains what colluding is in online poker games, how to not become a victim, and what is being done to stop it.
PokerPulse reported that one Sunday $178,873,992 was wagered in online tournaments on Sunday. Online Poker is simply becoming a huge pastime. However, with that much money being bet regularly, there is going to be people who try to circumvent the legit methods of winning and blatantly cheat. Collusion is the most common form of cheating in online poker. Collusion is several players at the same table (or one player using multiple computers) sharing information about a hand with the primary objective of giving themselves an unfair advantage over the competition. One form of this is called 'foot-sawing,' where a player with a weak hand helps out a strong-handed co-conspirator by staying in the hand and raising to build a bigger pot and force others to bet more.
However, for colluding to be profitable for the cheaters, they have to play their collective hands well and win enough for their efforts after the profit has been divided up among those collaborating. Most experts believe that colluding takes place at short handed tables where the cheaters will make up a larger percentage of the players at the table. Also, most experts agree that collusion often takes place at the lower limit games where the cheaters are less likely to face pros that would recognize their methods. Lee Jones, online poker room manager, says that despite multiple cases each day most cheaters lose money. In reality, the online poker sites security is constantly monitoring and catching those colluding, shutting down their accounts and freezing their money. Lee Jones expresses the importance of keeping the games honest when he says "The security and integrity of the game and the cards we deal is our entire business."
Online Poker Bots Cheating Scandal
Beware of Software Bots Playing Online Poker
This article describes the use of bots in online poker how concerned you should be playing against computer software programs that automatically play for players.
Unfortunately, with online poker being based on a computer it was only a matter of time before programmers devised Poker bots. A poker bot or robot is a program that plays your hands for you without any need of interacting with the game. These exist and are used by players, but most experts agree that cheaters using bots lose much more money then they win. That is because a computer program can play great in games with perfect information, such as chess, where during each decision all the information is available.
However, poker is a game of imperfect information, with players concealing their hole cards and using varying betting patterns, it is currently impossible for a bot to know what is the correct play every time and the amount of big mistakes it makes more then make up for the few times it makes a good decision. An average poker player should beat bots regularly and should not be worried about playing against one. It is good to know that poker tracking software exists and is commonplace among online poker players. Sites allow these programs as long as they are not making the decision for the player. These programs track the playing styles of your opponents through previous hand histories and also give you advice on decisions by showing mathematical odds on the current hand.
Recently, top poker pro Phil "The Unabomber' Laak and high stakes pro Eli Eslami played against the best poker computer in the world in heads up matches. The pros beat the computer during the competition proving that even the most advanced computer programs are still incapable of playing against skilled poker players. However, the pros did not win by that much.
Online poker rooms and players often detect accounts using bots. The card rooms have programs that watch for certain behaviors and raise red flags when suspicious. These programs watch for repeated timing of bets, such as when a player (bot) bets at exactly 3 seconds every time it is there turn to act. That is just one of many examples of how these bots get caught. Sometimes it is obvious when a player plays for 25 hours without a bathroom break or never a player never chats or responds to others chatting.
The biggest advantage that programs have over humans is that they have no fear, no shame, and do not go on tilt. Where a person can get intimidate against a very aggressive player, a computer bot will not suffer the same intimidation. Bots simply try to do whatever it takes to win meaning it can use your history to raise you with a garbage hand if it thinks it has a slight advantage. This can lead to a player going on tilt easily. However, these wild moves often get caught when the player is holding a better hand then the bot thought, and now this mistake costs the bot a large pot.
Account Selling in Online Poker Tournaments
Account Selling is the new cheating phenomena happening in big online poker tournaments.
The huge prize pools occurring in online poker tournaments have created a new form of cheating known as Account Selling, where a player who is deep in a tournament sells their account to an experienced player for the remainder of the tournament. The more experienced player finishes the tournament and is compensated a percentage of the money that is won or a flat fee. Account Selling is becoming increasingly popular in the big Sunday tournaments where million dollar prize pools are normal and the difference between finish 1st and 9th could be $250,000 or more.
Account Selling was brought to the attention of the online poker world when Sorel Mizzi known better by his online poker name Imper1um bought the account of Bluff Magazine Managing Editor, Chris Vaughn, who was deep in the Full Tilt Poker Sunday Million Dollar Guarantee. Buying the account with about 24 players left and better then average chips, Imper1um went on to win the tournament and the $197,000 first place prize. Imper1um was a well known online poker pro who was ranked in the top 5 for 2007 tournament rankings by Bluff Magazine and Pocket Fives. Chris Vaughn breakthrough performance was followed with another huge win the very next Sunday in the Pokerstars Million for $240,000 using the name "SlippyJacks". After a Full Tilt Poker investigation, Vaughn was disqualified and the money removed from the account and given to the other tournament finishers as if they had finished one spot higher. While both players have been banned from the Full Tilt Poker for life, a Pokerstars investigation into the next week's tournament revealed no evidence of wrongdoing. This Account Selling scandal was also a form of multi-accounting because Imper1um had been knocked out of the same tournament earlier.
The good news about account sales is that it is easier to catch. A player will have to log off their account and sign in on a different computer. This log off and log on and the IP addresses are recorded and can be used as evidence of this type of cheating occurring.
Selling your online poker account is 100% unethical and violates the terms of service of every online poker room. As more cheaters get caught and suffer the public embarrassment of being exposed the negative risk of account selling will become a strong deterrent. Online poker rooms must continue outing these cheaters as well to deter others. Imper1um had a shot at becoming the player of the year, but after being banned from Full Tilt Poker his chance of winning was over.
Recently an online poker player won $197,000 in a million dollar guarantee Full Tilt Poker tournament. After an investigation, the player was disqualified because he sold his account to another online poker pro with about 24 players remaining in the tournament.
Account Selling is a new fad in online poker. A player deep in a multi-table tournament sell their account temporarily to a better player and allows that player to finish the t0urnament. The better player is compensated by a percentage of the amount cashed from the tournament or plays for a set fee. Account Selling is occurring more and more in big tournaments, like those million dollar Sunday tournaments.
The sale of the account on Full Tilt made huge headlines for a number of reasons.
1. The player who bought the account was a big name online pro, Imper1um, who was ranked in the top 5 in the online poker player of the year rankings.
2. The account seller, Chris Vaughn, was a managing editor at Bluff Magazine.
3. Chris Vaughn was an unknown in the poker world, but this breakthrough performance was followed up the very next weekend with a win in the Pokerstars million dollar guaranteed tournament. Though a great deal of suspicion has fallen on this follow-up victory, no evidence of cheating was found by Pokerstars.
4. Account Selling was not the only illegal action, Imper1um had already been knocked out of the same tournament earlier using his own account. This makes his actions fall under the ugly category of multi-accounting.
5. Both of these players have been banned for life from Full Tilt Poker.
My opinion on this: Account Selling is just another major form of online poker cheating. In fact, Account Selling could be one of the worst poker sins a player can partake in. These two should get everything that is coming to them including becoming total outcasts by the poker community forever. They apologized, said it was a one time thing, and they know it was stupid. Bullshit. These are online poker pros. They are saying that because they got caught. Likely, the two of them have cheated before and would still be cheating today if they had not been caught. Though Pokerstars found they did not log in from two different computers like they did in the Full Tilt Poker tournament, I would imagine that Imper1um had something to do with that tournament as well like playing the game from his friends house. Once a cheater, always a cheater.
Absolute Poker Cheating Scandal
This article details the scandal that sent shock waves through the Internet poker world.
Players at Absolute Poker became suspicious of a player account known as POTRIPPER. The account was suspect because this player seemed to win every single time he played. When his stats were looked up, it revealed an impossible streak of winning coupled with the stats that showed he played nearly every hand, always made the correct fold, and had infinite river aggression. River aggression factor is a measure of how a player plays-raise, call, bet, fold-on the last betting round. An infinite river aggression factor is consistent with being able to see your opponents hole cards on the river. If a player new his opponents hole cards, he would always bet, raise or fold, and never call. When these stats were looked up by players, the POTRIPPER account (and a few more) always knew when his hand was better then his opponent, so he either bet or raised, and always folded when his hand was losing.
Alarm bells went off after POTRIPPER made an improbably call when he was heads up to win the Absolute Poker’s $1000 bounty event on September 12, 2007. He won the hand and the tournament after calling a massive bet with the Tc 9c on a board showing 4h Kd Kh 7s. The better was semi-bluffing with the 9h 2h. The improbable call with 10 high in his hand won him the tournament, a call that could only be made if he knew exactly what his opponents cards were. Below is the final hand of the tournament:
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] [7s]
CRAZYMARCO - Checks
POTRIPPER - Bets $13500
CRAZYMARCO - All-In(Raise) $200310 to $200310
POTRIPPER - Calls $186810
*** RIVER *** [4h Kd Kh 7s] [5s]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
POTRIPPER - Shows [10c 9c] (One pair, kings)
CRAZYMARCO - Shows [9h 2h] (One pair, kings)
POTRIPPER Collects $428520 from main pot
*** SUMMARY *** Total Pot($428520)
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]
After this was posted, more hand histories were posted in forums that showed his hand selection pre-flop was very bad, especially when he played 9 handed, that he should of been losing a lot of money against the top tier players who play the high limit games. On the other hand, he had been winning in nearly every session of online poker he played. Also, he would very rarely fold if his opponent missed the flop, and always folded when his opponent held a huge hand.
When CRAZYMARCO learned of this, he emailed Absolute for a hand history of the tournament. Out of sheer luck, an inexperienced customer service person accidentally (many originally thought he was a whistle blower as an insider who knew about the cheating) sent him a hand history that showed the hole cards of everyone in every hand played in the entire tournament, whether they folded or not. Also, IP addresses of players and observers and email addresses of all the players were included too. When the IP addresses were investigated it was apparent that Costa Rico, home of Absolute Poker, was where the POTRIPPER account was from as was the observer account which later was determined to be the super user account. More investigating and pressure from the online community forced Absolute to comment, and by comment I mean totally deny any wrongdoing or the possibility of cheating. Here is an excerpt from Mark Seif’s Blog in Absolute Poker’s official response to these claims:
“A ‘super-user’ account does not exist in our software. Absolute Poker was created by poker players who value security and fair play. The back-end of the Absolute Poker software prevents the possibility of any such feature. Our game client only receives data regarding individual’s hand and no other player hole cards are ever visible – by anyone – except in the event of a showdown. Having said that, we will continue this investigation as well as look into any other allegations of wrong-doing. If appropriate, we will freeze funds and reimburse effected players.”
This was an obvious lie by Mark Seif, as the hand history showed hole cards of even those players who had folded from every hand played in the entire tournament. A well respected player said this after looking at the hand history. "Well it only takes a few hands to realize potripper could see the cards, but not what is coming on the flop/turn/riv… I was already 99% sure from seeing Marco’s hands and some HH’s other ppl had posted, but this is just unreal how he plays each hand… there is no way someone could bluff like he does and value bet like he does without being able to know what their opponents hold, it really is undeniable…”
Yet denying is what Absolute continued to do, as an admission of guilt would be bad publicity for the online poker room. Online poker legend and WSOP bracelet winner, gank on his poker blog, "Most players understand why Absolute has responded the way they did, it would be virtually company suicide to tell the public that either someone on the inside has compromised the site, or that someone on the outside has hacked the site and compromised it. Either way it would spark a huge pull-out of players funds as players would refuse to play there."
More pressure from the online community and other poker media outlets got the Kahnawake Gambling Commission involved and eventually Absolute came out with an admission. Absolute tried to pin the culprit on some programming 'geek' inside the company, which most people did not believe.
More pressure for the truth and an investigation into the hand history by the founder of ThePokerDB Nat, uncovered a IP address connection between an observer watching every table that POTRIPPER was playing at because if POTRIPPER was moved to another table during the tournament the observer would move too. Todd ‘Dandruff’ Whittles of NeverWinPoker analyzed Nat's findings and pieced together what probably happened revealing to the online poker world for the first time how the entire cheating process took place.
With pressure from many angles plus the effort from a lot of individuals, Absolute eventually admitted the truth, that a consultant and former CEO Scott Tom and another high ranking management guy named AJ Green were named as the cheaters. The elaborate cheating scheme began when Scott Tom had found a super user account from the early beta testing days of the Absolute Poker software. This account could not actually play, but could only be used as an observer. This observer could see hole cards of everyone at the table, originally intended to test the software to make sure the pot was always awarded to the best hand at a showdown. With access to this account, he used four other real player accounts that were abandoned by their owners after going bust and were essentially inactive for some time. He changed the password to those accounts from the inside of the company. He then proceeded to get AJ Green to use those accounts to play high stakes online poker games while Scott Tom observed with the super user account. Scott Tom would tell AJ Green what the opponents cards were and they began cheating for several months, amassing over $700,000 in profit. The accounts they used would take their winnings and chip dump in heads up matches to accounts of friends and families of Scott Tom and AJ Green in order to be cashed out, since the cheating accounts were still registered to real people.
All the details may never fully come to light as Absolute has tried to hide the truth and may have been able to hide important information, but with an ongoing investigation by the well respected gaming commission the entire truth may eventually come out. Scott Tom and AJ Green have not been arrested and are probably in hiding, as many players, company investors, and others hold serious grudges against what they did.
Online Poker Multi-accounting
More then one entry in the same online poker tournament.
The multi-accounting online poker tournament information describes the increasing problem with players using multiple accounts in the same tournament.
Though this has always been a problem, one which made the headline a couple years ago when JJProdigy won a big Sunday tournament on Party Poker while playing with 6 accounts at once in the same tournament, this problem has hit the headlines again recently when the champion of the World Championship of Online Poker on Pokerstars was caught multi-accounting and stripped of his $1 Million winnings. See Hall of Shame all online poker cheaters for a list of cheaters who have been caught.
Recently, a few poker forums have lit up with discussion about the topic of multiple accounts under one player. Basically, the issue at hand is the ethical implications of one poker player playing in one tournament, but using more than one account.
This is basically the same thing as having two lives in one tournament. It's like busting out of the main event of the World Series, but being given a second shot in the tournament. Sure, you're paying twice the fee, but you get an edge by knowing that.
The edge comes from the fact that you are knowingly entering a tournament twice, and you can adjust your game as such. On one account you can play relatively tight, ensuring yourself a second shot in the tournament, while you gamble recklessly in another. You can push all-in with gambling hands and risk your first tournament life early for the sake of a large stack.
I won't go into the details of the issues that have come up both in the past and recently. If you dive deep enough into the online poker community, you can come up with your own conclusions on all the posts there are. This article isn't to implicate anyone, but rather open your eyes to the issue.
Responsible players always tried to give you, the poker player, an honest and straight forward insight into the professional poker circuit, as well as the online poker world. We feel it our duty to raise questions in the community and to strive to better the game for our fellow players. We're not here to question any specific player's integrity, but to question the integrity and ethical values of the entire online community.
Basically, regular players stance is that this practice of multiple entries into a single tournament by a single player is 100-percent wrong. While you can put up whatever argument you want, the simple fact is this is a rule on the most popular poker room online (for poker tournaments, has the most traffic) for a reason.
It's obvious that this is a practice that is a very gray area for online poker. Many people will argue that everyone does it, and it's impossible to really police hard, so we should allow it. It's a fair argument but it doesn't hold ground, because you're completely sacrificing the integrity of online poker by ignoring it.
Most people are claiming they didn't knowingly enter a tournament twice. For instance, maybe their friend had a problem and had to leave, so they took over that second account without intending to do so ahead of time. Whatever the circumstance, it should be considered against the rules all the same, since it's impossible to distinguish such things. You might be able to claim you're being ethical in your actions, but you have no way of proving said claims.
I think both the detractors and myself would agree that if we could eliminate this practice we would. People on the other side of the fence believe that others only do this because it's the norm and you have to combat it with your own arsenal of entries into a tournament.
However, by letting it go under the radar, we're making it ethical to cheat. If we don't openly acknowledge it and tell everyone who plays online that it's not an okay practice, then we make it okay for people to set up all sorts of shady operations online. We can't let our most prominent players and leaders in online poker to go unnoticed and not question their ethics, or our entire community as a whole will crumble.
Years ago, Vegas was full of cheats and card manipulators. Now they have been run out of town and it's safe to gamble in Vegas poker rooms. I think that online poker will eventually run out people bending the rules and doing other unethical activities, and we'll have a safe haven for poker players in the future.
But, we cannot turn our heads and allow it to go on without calling attention to it. Hopefully this article opened a few eyes on the subject, and people won't be so quick to defend prominent players blindly without realizing what they're doing. We're not here to call out cheaters, but to help our community grow!
Online Poker Ghosting Cheating Method
Ghosting occurs all the time in multi-table tournaments. An increasing problem with online poker is how many people are playing one hand? The ghosting cheating method uses another person to offer their opinion. First, the other person (ghost) is watching the player in the tournament and the player is telling the ghost what cards he has via telephone, instant messenger, or in person and offers advice as to what course of action the player should take during the hand.
Ghosting is nearly impossible to regulate or stop, and thus it is actively happening in nearly every tournament. Officially, the card room policies state that more then one player to a hand is ok because they have no way of knowing how to stop it from occurring. Ghosting is simply another way cheating and is not the way the game is intended to be played. You can imagine that ghosting can get out of hand very quickly, as players probably are already charging other players for their service to ghost them.
Ghosting is unethical and goes against the one player to a hand rule which was a founding principle of poker. As it is impossible to detect players being ghosted and using the expert ghost for analysis and decision making it becomes tougher to win tournaments.
Hall of Shame List of Professional Poker Cheaters
A list of professional poker cheaters who have been caught cheating online poker games.
List of Online Poker Cheaters
Nick Niergarth gbmantis
Brian Townsend sbrugby
Mark Teltscher TheV0id
Chris Vaughn BluffMagCV
Sorel Mizzi Imper1um
Mark Seif Absolute Poker
Justin Bonomo ZeeJustin
Josh Fields JJProdigy
Scott Tom & AJ Green POTRIPPER
gbmantis: Multi-accounting. Nick "gbmantis" Niergarth was caught multi-accounting on Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker in an sophisticated cheating scandal involving other players including JJProdigy, one of the most famous online poker cheaters in history. gbmantis played in the biggest tournaments on both sites regularly and has been caught using friends accounts to play tournaments and taking over friends accounts late in tournaments that he already got busted out earlier himself. This poker cheater was rather well known in the poker tournament community as he was a frequent poster on poker related websites and discussion boards.
Accusations of chip dumping and colluding with friends playing in the same tournament have also surfaced. gbmantis is one of the biggest and most widely recognized named cheaters who have been caught in recent years. Close friends with his mentor Josh JJProdigy Fields, who is serving a lifetime ban from Internet poker but strongly rumored to be regularly playing under someone else's account, gbmantis has destroyed his own reputation through the recent cheating scandal. One way in which gbmantis cheated would be to take over a friend's account who records show has always been a small limit player usually playing $2 or $5 tournaments. All of a sudden, this small timer is winning $100 re buy tournaments and entering other large buy-in tournaments. After scoring big, the small time would transfer his money and go back to playing smaller buy-in tournaments again but now because he earned a commission from the big score of over $200,000 gbmantis won on his account can now afford to play $24 tournaments regularly. One of these accounts belongs to YourTimeIsUp (YTIU, aka stealthmunk) Justin Schwartz one of gbmantis roommates.
Nick Niergarth's player to player transfer history and that of the accounts he used to play with link gbmantis to the entire cheating ring and provided enough evidence that Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker investigated and determined he was a online poker cheater.
Brian Townsend: Multi-accounting. Brian Townsend the Cardrunners Poker Instructor and Full Tilt Pro has been caught multi-accounting in some of the biggest online poker games in the world. Playing 25-50 Pot Limit Omaha all the way up to 200-400 Pot Limit Omaha, Brian Townsend used the online screen name sbrugby as his main account that was highlighted in Red marking him as a Full Tilt Poker Pro. Brian Townsend then created a second account to disguise his identity from the players he normally plays against at those high stakes.
Brian not only was multi-accounting at Full Tilt Poker, but Brian Townsend also created a second account on Pokerstars for the same purpose of cheating by disguising his identity and therefore his playing style from the regulars he plays against.
Brian Townsend was using the screen name Stellarnebula on Full Tilt Poker and the screen name Makersmark66 on PokerStars. Brian Townsend normal Pokerstars account name is aba20 and Brian Townsend's normal Full Tilt Poker account name is sbrugby.
Brian Townsend was able to gain an unfair advantage over his opponents because he knew the tendencies of his opponents while his opponents seemingly would not know anything about the playing style of this seemingly new player that was really being used by Brian Townsend. Not only is this against the Full Tilt Poker Policy to have more then one account, but as a Full Tilt Pro Brian Townsend should be kept to the highest standards of fair play. Brian Townsend multi-accounting on Pokerstars also breaks the Pokerstars Policy of one account per player.
TheV0id: Multi-accounting. British professional poker player, Mark Teltscher was tripped of his WCOOP Championship win on one site including the first place prize of $1.2 Million, the largest payout for a tournament winner in online poker history. ‘TheV0id’ account was set up by Mark Teltscher whose had success on the European Poker Tour. Mark Teltscher set the account up for his sister, Natalie Teltscher, although his sister had apparently, not played in any high stakes poker tournaments before. Evidence showed that this poker pro took over his sister's account and continued to play after he had been eliminated earlier from the WCOOP event.
Sorel Mizzi Imper1um
Chris "BluffMagCV" Vaughn & Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi: During October 2007, Chris "BluffMagCV" Vaugh who is an employee at Bluff Magazine, won the Full Tilt Poker $1M Guaranteed Tournament for $197,000 and Poker Stars $1M Guaranteed for $240,000 using the name "SlippyJacks" in consecutive Sundays. A month later, Full Tilt Poker took away the title and took back his winnings because they discovered evidence that Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi took control of his account towards end of the tournament. Imper1um had played in the same tournament and had been knocked out earlier, thus technically multi-accounting and using this unfair advantage to win the title for Chris Vaughn. A European pro Soren Kongsgaard, who finished 2nd, was awarded first place by Full Tilt. When Soren received the email from Full Tilt that included that he was "among the victims of one player using more than one Full Tilt account in the tournament.", Soren posted it into the 2+2 forum and the poker world came down hard on the two cheaters. As a very successful and popular online poker player, Mizzy's reputation is ruined, he tried to respond to the criticism here on pocket fives. Imper1um took over with an agreement to finish the tournament BluffMagCV for a percentage of the winnings. Both players have been permanently banned from Full Tilt Poker.
Mark Seif: The face of Absolute Poker. Absolute Poker representative repeatedly denied wrongdoing by Absolute Poker following irrefutable evidence in the Absolute Poker Scandal and proclaimed that a 'super user' account was impossible, despite overwhelming evidence that such an account existed. “A ‘super-user’ account does not exist in our software. Absolute Poker was created by poker players who value security and fair play. The back-end of the Absolute Poker software prevents the possibility of any such feature. Our game client only receives data regarding individual’s hand and no other player hole cards are ever visible – by anyone – except in the event of a showdown." Though he never cheated himself, his repeated attempts to cover-up the scandal showed a lot about his character, his judgment, and his greed for money. Mark Seif also went as far as to threaten to sue Todd ‘Dandruff’ Whittles for posting his suspicion following his investigation that uncovered the events that took place at Absolute because Seif said the allegations were totally untrue. Now Mark Seif is the fool as the truth has finally surfaced. Below is Mark's response to the allegations, plus his response to a cheating scandal he was involved in during 2006. Dan Druff responded to the response in an online video.
POTRIPPER: The super user account. This account was operated by Absolute Poker Management. Former Absolute Poker CEO Scott Tom and 2nd in command AJ Green profited over $700,000 through the use of a sophisticated scheme and a security flaw in the Absolute Poker system. A superuser account that allowed its user to see all the cards in everyone's hand during play was discovered by Scott Tom. This account was not a playing account however, so he sought the help of AJ Green. Together, AJ Green would play heads up matches, tournaments, and cash games with four real life playing accounts that were abandoned by their respective owners. AJ Green would sit at a table and play while Scott Tom used the super user account to 'observe' the table, meanwhile he would tell AJ Green exactly what his opponents hole cards were. After building his bankroll by destroying everybody he played, the Absolute management cheaters would play heads up matches with friends and family accounts dumping the chips to them. These accounts would cash the money out.
Suspicion after POTRIPPER won a high stakes online poker tournament arose when on the final hand he called an extremely large all-in heads up bet by his opponent. Potripper's opponent was bluffing with merely a nine high, but more unbelievable was POTRIPPER's call with just ten high. POTRIPPER took down the pot and the tournament and it didn't take long for high stakes players to see that the statistics of the ultra aggressive POTRIPPER, whom they had been losing to often in cash games, were way beyond normal. The POTRIPPER Absolute Poker scandal investigation that eventually tied in top level management into the sophisticated cheating shook the online poker world and destroyed the reputation of Absolute Poker and UltimateBet. Read the full story of the Absolute Poker Cheating Scandal.
ZeeJustin, in real life Justin Bonomo, at 20 years old was caught by both Party Poker and Pokerstars multi-accounting. The list of online poker cheaters has to include one of the most infamous up in coming poker stars. A notable online player within the online poker playing community he had also done well live by making a European World Poker Tour final table. The poker cheat Justin Bonomo had about $100,000 seized from his accounts. Justin Bonomo brought suspicion to himself by posting in a poker forum about how he discovered a glitch in Party Poker software that allowed a player to rapidly click on the Party Poker icon and open up new sessions of Party Poker. Each new Party Poker session could be logged in with a different account, and this is what ZeeJustin did, using up to 6 accounts in the same multi-table tournament. It turns out Justin had multiple accounts and was entering multi-table tournaments at both Party Poker and Poker Stars. During this raid by Party Poker they proved that Justin was a cheater and confiscated $100,000 from his account. A week before he was caught by Party Poker, ZeeJustin won the Big Sunday $600+40 Pokerstars tournament, and although Pokerstars investigated his account and found he had multi-accounted in a few tournaments, they found his winnings were legit in the Big Sunday tournament where he won $137,000 and let him cash out everything but the $5,000 they associated with cheating before closing his account.
The six accounts all had different biographical and geographical information but were all tracked back to the same IP Address. The account names were ZeeJustin, IBLUFFUOUT69, vapoker58, mehsabjwilson55, and greenb272. ZeeJustin admitted it was purely greed that motivated his cheating, but tried to shift the focus on a lack of security at Party Poker and other cheaters, he posted this under the heading "My Statement" on the 2+2 forum:
"First of all, the accounts were NOT created solely for MTT use. They were originally created for SNG play. It got to the point where everyone knew that ZeeJustin would steal the blinds often, and everyone called him liberally. I created these accounts to erase this loose image. Everyone would be read less against me, and it was a huge advantage. These accounts all did very well in the big SNGs on PartyPoker." ZeeJustin later apology attempt in the pocketfives forum was also met with a huge backlash from the poker community after he wrote that he would negate any advantage if two or more of his accounts ended up at the same table by simply opening up 2 or 3 more sit and gos to distract himself. Justin Bonomo is now serving a lifetime ban from Internet Poker.
JJProdigy, in real life Josh Fields, Multi-accounting. At 16 years old, he was caught by Party Poker as a cheater. He brought suspicion onto himself after Instant Messaging to friends that he had won $140,000 for first place in Party Poker’s weekly $500,000 Guarantee tourney. Word spread and people started posting congratulations to JJProdigy for winning the tournament. Other players in the same tournament recalled that an unknown account 'ABlackCar' had won that tournament and not the well known JJProdigy (became famous after winning the PokerStars Leader board challenge in August 2005 against Gigabet, gank, Exclusive and other online pros). who had busted out earlier in the same tournament. Party Poker began an investigation and determined ABlackCar and JJProdigy were the same person. Josh Fields initial excuse was the other account belonged to his grandmother, who after he got knocked out was tired and wanted to go to bed, so he took over for her. Party Poker took the $140,000 and $40,000 that was in the other account. Pokerstars and another online poker room also discovered JJProdigy had been cheating there as well and he has been permanently banned from Internet Poker.
In February of 2009, Josh Fields had been playing on the Cake Poker network. JJProdigy was primed to be one of the headliners of the Bluff Challenge in March of 2009 that pitted online poker's most famous players against one another in a battle to see who can build the largest bankroll during one month. Each player was to start with $200 and they could only play multiple table tournaments and single table sit and go tournaments. Right before the competition began, JJProdigy was kicked out of the competition and kicked off of the Cake Poker network for again cheating in online poker. Josh Fields was caught again this time for allegedly allowing other players to use his account, an infraction that goes against all online poker rooms terms of service. This was really the final straw in the court of public opinion amongst poker players, after he had promised to the poker world to never cheat again following the original cheating scandal. The list of online poker cheaters has many noticeable names and the truth is many more players have been caught because it is in the best interest of the online poker rooms to have safe, secure, fair poker games as this improves their reputation and earns them more business.