An Aussie poker player has uncovered a US $10 million scandal, resulting in a US $75 million dollar lawsuit against two major online poker websites.
Michael Josem from Chatswood has discovered that one of the world’s most successful poker players is a cheat, uncovering a US $10 million dollar scandal in the process.
Josem, an online poker player, analysed the records of poker hands played and found players that were winning at 100 times more than a professional could reasonably win in the same time frame.
His discovery sparked an official investigation, which found Josem was on the money: rogue employees were exploiting the program to allow cheats to see other player’s secret (or hole) cards, which went on for three years.
One of the players marked as a cheat was poker professional Russ Hamilton, who won the 1994 World Series of Poker Main Event, worth US $1 million and his body weight in silver.
Absolute Poker and UltimateBet, the websites involved in the scandal, have been sued for US $75 million for defrauding players affected by cheats.
This is not the first time both sites have been involved in cheating accusations. Absolute Poker came under fire for alleged unfair play last year, sparking an investigation by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission who license online gaming websites and casinos. They found that Absolute Poker had attempted to cover-up the cheating by deleting records and the site was fined US $500,000.
Absolute Poker’s sister site, UltimateBet, were today fined by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission for their part in facilitating Hamilton’s activities. On top of the US $1.5 million dollar fine, UltimateBet have to pay out US $6.1 million to affected players to retain their gambling license.
The real winner out of all of this is Josem, who was recruited by major online poker website Pokerstars for their security team. Still, the question remains: with all this cheating, is it safe to play poker online?
“Every online poker hand is recorded electronically and can be analysed after the fact. Just as the third umpire video replay can be used to enforce the rules in cricket, third-party analysis can be used to enforce the rules of poker.” said Josem. If anything did happen, the statistics could be checked – exactly the same way Josem found the cheaters.