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Gary Trask

Gary  Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has worked as a writer and editor more than 20 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

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Absolute Poker responds to charges of insider cheating

22 Oct 2007

By Gary Trask

With charges of insider cheating and security breaches still swirling around Absolute Poker, Absolute's owner attempted to set the record straight Sunday by releasing a statement addressed to its players.

"The integrity of our poker system was compromised by a high-ranking trusted consultant employed by AP whose position gave him extraordinary access to certain security systems," said Joe Norton, the former Grand Chief of the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and the owner of Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, which holds a 100% interest in Absolute Poker.

"Like you, I have not been happy that during the initial stage of our investigation, AP has not been more forthcoming in providing a timely or comprehensive explanation on this matter, giving rise to anger, suspicion, and concern on the part of our valued customers," the statement read. "I hope that our customers can appreciate that this remains an incredibly complex and sensitive issue, and I want to give you my strongest possible assurance that we will be as forthcoming as possible on how this breach occurred and what we are doing to remedy the situation."

Norton, who is currently traveling, has agreed to answer questions from Casino City via e-mail. They'll be published here as soon as they're available.

The situation that Norton speaks of began about a month ago, when complaints began to surface that there were "superuser" accounts that could see the hole cards of all the players at a table during a high stakes poker tournament at Absolute Poker.

According to forums on TwoPlusTwo.com, the complaints started when "Potripper" enjoyed a prosperous, yet unlikely, string of fortune during a poker tournament, at one point going 20 minutes without folding pre-flop. A player by the name of "crazymarco" got suspicious and e-mailed Absolute Poker to request an XLS file of the hand history. As is the standard, Absolute Poker complied.

But what crazymarco received was far from the standard hand-history file. In addition to hand histories, it revealed the hole cards of each player and IP addresses and user details of both people at the table and those observing.

Further investigation revealed that "Potripper" folded his first two hands at the table in question, but once observer No. 363 arrived at the table, "Potripper" didn't fold another hand before the flop for 20 minutes with the implication being that somehow No. 363 was using a super user account and relaying all of the hole cards to "Potripper." Making matters worse, the IP of No. 363 was tracked back to a person by the name of Scott Tom, who Absolute Poker has confirmed is a "former member of Team Absolute Poker."

Norton's admission on Sunday that the security breach at the company was a "horrendous and inexcusable offense" came eight days after Absolute Poker announced that it had conducted an "extensive investigation" and "to the best of Absolute Poker's knowledge, information and belief there was no security breach." In that same statement, dated Oct. 12, Absolute Poker said that an "internal investigation determined that it is impossible for any person, device, program, script or other means to see hole cards."

Currently, both the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and a third-party auditor, Gaming Associates, are conducting investigations. AP announced that it would make the results of these audits public upon completion.

 
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