Thursday, September 27, 2007


First of all, I've never, ever seen any evidence that online poker is unfair. I love typing 'RIGGED' in chats when someone gets a beat put on 'em, but I've never been serious about it. Until now.

First, read this blog post at freakonomics:

Then, if you want to, wade through the massive megathread at 2p2:

Basically, a group of players on AbsolutePoker has been discovered, all of them with completely ridiculous poker-tracker mined stats. They play 80-95% of their hands preflop, win over 66% of their hands at showdown, and have a river aggression factor of 20, 40, even infinity (this would means that they only fold or raise on the river, NEVER just flat call).

Hand histories have been posted where they make 3x the pot calls with (a winning) ten high. They raise every hand preflop, and then open limp with TT when another player (yet to act) has AA. Time after time, they make a ridiculously thin river over-value-bet with a shaky hand (I'm talking third pair, here). More than once, they've raised preflop and check-folded a flop where an opponent has flopped a boat.

They have made literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last three weeks. When discussion about their play came up, they started dumping money to people in heads up matches (presumably for money laundering purposes), and then intentionally playing bad to draw attention away. One hilarious hand involved the 'DOUBLEDRAG' player calling $5k on the river with 4 high.

No one knows what the entire story is here, but something strange is definitely going on. AbsolutePoker has not acknowledged that any cheating is going on yet, and from all accounts is completely incompetent as far as security goes. Some people think it's an inside job, others think
it's some clever hackers who have somehow compromised the site's security.

I don't know what this will mean for online poker. I am convinced that this is an isolated issue only affecting AbsolutePoker, so I don't plan on pulling my money out of cake. However, with the recent crackdowns on online gaming, I can't imagine our lawmakers will handle this in a rational manner. Ideally this will cause us to form some sort of regulatory committee to keep online poker safe and fair, but I feel that it's more likely that it will give someone a reason to shut it all down for good.

Very interesting times are ahead.


Sushi Cowboy said...

This is just confirming what everyone knew already. Kidding. Totally looks like a one-off incident by morons. Main question it brings up is how many people are exploiting this same hack that are smarter about it and being EV+ but subtle about it. That is why I think AP is being so quiet about it. If they found out that it was possible for someone to do this then figured out how they did it, if it is an isolated incident you'd figure they'd just freeze that account and announce that they stopped the problem. But if they found that it's possible that others are doing the same thing, I think that is when they have to keep quiet about it.

I agree with Joe that this just throws more fuel on the argument to squelch online poker.

Marshall said...

I have been keeping up on this too, its pretty funny to look at the hand histories from those sessions. I am not sure what will come of it, but it sure makes online poker seem pretty shady. Thankfully, I don't think anyone is hacking at .02-.04 so I am safe for now.