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Absolute Poker was founded in 2003 and enjoyed great success on the Cereus network until losing the majority of their players after Black Friday in 2011. The history of this Kahnawake-licensed poker room is rather turbulent, and in 2007 they experienced one of the biggest ever scandals in online poker.

One of the main reason behind the popularity of Texas Hold'em poker is the combination of skill and randomness. Since players do not know each other's hole cards, it is always possible to bluff and to win the pot with a weaker hand than your opponents. A poor poker player can get lucky and win some times, but in the long run when enough hands are played and the randomness is equalized, the good player will usually walk away with the profit.

This somewhat polarized equation of poker was turned upside down at Absolute Poker in 2007 when a former consultant managed to find a way to see the cards of other players in real-time. This former Absolute Poker consultant, who was never named but went by the alias 'Potripper', could see when other players were bluffing and would know if he had the best hand or not.

Rumors started to spread on various poker forums, especially on 2+2 and PocketFives about irregular game play and unusual statistics on Absolute Poker. In particular one tournament from September 12th 2007 was frequently mentioned; when well-known poker player 'CrazyMarco' lost to 'Potripper' heads-up in a $1000 buy-in.

'CrazyMarco' suspected something was wrong and sent an email to the customer support at Absolute Poker asking to see the hand history from the tournament. 'CrazyMarco' got more than he asked for though, because Absolute Poker sent him the entire tournament history including the hole cards of all players. When analyzed in detail, the leaked hand history showed irregular play from 'Potripper'.

On October 12th Absolute Poker released a statement saying they had not found anything that indicated that the allegations against a so-called super user was true, but they did admit that they had seen signs of chip dumping. Further investigation was promised. In the meantime Absolute Poker had suspended four accounts: 'Graycat', 'Steamroller', 'DoubleDrag', and 'Potripper'. It was later said that all of these accounts belonged to the same person (the former consultant), and that this person was the mastermind behind the whole scandal. Allegedly this person tried to warn the management about a security breach in their software, but was not heard.

The discussion remained in heat on various online poker forums despite the statement from Absolute Poker, and on October 19th it was finally admitted officially that the poker software had been hacked.

"This is literally a geek trying to prove to senior management that they were wrong and he took it too far", said an anonymous spokesman on behalf of Absolute Poker to towards the end of of October 2007, claiming that the issue was resolved.

Absolute Poker was fined $500,000 by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. They were also forced to pay for the investigation and for the expense of being randomly audited. In addition to this, Absolute Poker refunded the buy-in of the players involved in the $1000 tournament where 'Potripper' won heads-up against 'CrazyMarco'. This however did not prevent Absolute Poker from having a serious problem with their integrity.

You can read about the more recent history and status of Absolute Poker, see a story on 60 minutes about the scandal, and see a video showing actual hands when 'Potripper' was playing.

General sources:

1 October 2007 


3 17 October, 2007