Posts Tagged ‘poker-ethics’

Absolute Poker Releases Statement

by , Jan 12, 2008 | 11:43 am

Without much choice in the matter, Absolute Poker has spoken in the form of a press release from Anna Molley, Vice President of Public and Community Relations.

In short, AP thinks the Kahnawa:ke Gaming Commission report is complete and accurate. AP “regrets” the “inadvertent” deletion of records and is most happy to put this “most distressing and regrettable” experience behind them.

Well, as long as AP is happy…

AP is also initiating a series of poker security summits to discuss security with “respected and independent members of the poker community.”

The site is just glad to “close the book on this sordid affair.” Wow. Poor AP. They’ve been through so much…

Here is the full press release: More…

Unpeeling the Absolute Onion

by , | 1:44 am

We know that some head-honchos at Absolute Poker cheated at their own game, thereby stealing money from their players. Upon being unequivocally exposed, they have tried to apologize and make right … as if a carjacker who gets caught could also get off the hook by simply saying, “Oops, sorry about that … my bad,” and returning the stolen property.

Yet for some reason, thousands of real-money-players are still in action at Absolute. Hey, I know you! You’re that guy who stole my car! Thanks so much for giving it back. So wow … you’re a valet parker now. OK, here are my keys. But whatever … maybe the numbers have something to do with all the ad dollars being happily accepted by the poker news sites and print publications that supposedly insist on limiting their coverage to “what’s good for poker.”

Sorry, am getting off track. Personal rant against the machine. So yes, Absolute Poker scandal … California Jen has been covering it for Poker Player Newspaper, and she appeared on Lou Krieger‘s Keep Flopping Aces last night to discuss developments. I’m listening to it now … and it’s a pretty good show — especially when they get an unexpected call from Chuck Barnett, who you may remember is on the Board of Supervisors for Mohawk Internet Technologies / Kahnawake Territory. He engages Jen and Lou with all sorts of good information on the make-up of the ongoing investigation, a little bit of what they are uncovering, and some insight into who are the true owners of Absolute Poker.

Click here to listen to the show.

“Is it Joe Norton?” Kreiger asks directly at one point. And indeed it is. Apparently Norton is the sole owner of Tokwiro Enterprises, which owns Absolute … and perhaps like Dick Cheney is to Halliburton, Norton is also a former Grand Chief of the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. To be honest, I’m not sure what all these connections mean … but I’m pretty sure they are not “good for poker.”

TJ Cloutier on Old School Economics

by , Dec 19, 2007 | 6:19 am

TJ Cloutier’s latest column … an interesting if not prescient tale of some poker southern-circuit old-timers that include a game-runner who takes an extra rake right under someone’s nose ($100 a pop); a bookie sent to jail and kicked out of Dallas, Hazzard County-style; and legendary players with a not-so-unique philosophy on credit and debt.

Considering that TJ has been running good of late — and they don’t have craps in Oklahoma — I can’t help but give some thought to the road-gambler ethos he extols, and wonder where it fits in today’s contemporary poker economy:

“I’ve still got 30 days to pay that off,” Jack said, “so quit bothering me.” And the guy left. As the first man was going down the stairs, a second man was walking up them. The door was still open, so Jack let him in.

“I’m down on my luck,” the man cries to Jack. “Could you loan me $10,000 till I get back on my feet?” And Jack peeled the ten grand right out of his pocket and gave it to him! I couldn’t explain Jack Straus any better than telling this story.

One time when we were on the golf course, Straus told me that he liked me because I was like him. “I’m broke one day and have a fortune the next day,” he said, “and I don’t give a damn.”

Poker Tells: False Impressions

by , | 3:06 am

Beyond the Table: Live and Otherwise

by , Dec 18, 2007 | 3:24 pm

Following a pattern established by arena faves Frampton, Kiss, and Cheap Trick, this episode of Beyond the Table captures the group in a rare live performance. With no edits, overdubs, or other studio gimmickry, “Live and Otherwise” finds BTT returning to its off-the-cuff, improvisational roots.

The set gets going with a raucous medley of blues-based numbers, including soon-to-be-classics “Queens Done Done Me In (Again)” — featuring a solo from Little Tommy Schneider — and the Askenasy-penned “I Think My Hair Has a Mind of Its Own.” The group then transitions into a surprisingly peppy version of “House Hoppin’ Blues” chronicling Dan’s recent move Vegas-ward.

From there the boys turn topical, with rockers “Flight of the Dragon” (noting David Pham’s having locked up Player of the Year), “Enjoying the Game” (an homage to Chip Reese), and “Guilt Trip” (regarding the Vaughn-Mizzi account-purchasing affair). As an encore, the group surprises the audience with a new title, “Fortune’s Steward,” a brief romp recognizing Falstaff, author of PokerStage and tireless organizer of the recent WPBT Winter Gathering.

Be sure to catch this important live document of the power trio’s development, circa late-2007. And be sure to email your feedback to theshow(at)beyondthetable(dot)com and/or call the listener line @ (888) 820-8091.

RE: Tis the Season for Cheating? (2)
Chris Vaughn Fired from Bluff

by , Dec 10, 2007 | 1:03 pm

Per the Bluff Media website, Chris Vaughn has been fired from his position as the Bluff Magazine’s Managing Editor due to his role in the Full Tilt cheating scandal with online pro Sorel Mizzi.

Bluff Media, publisher of Bluff Magazine, has made the decision to terminate Chris Vaughn as Managing Editor. In light of Chris’ involvement, recently admitted facts and the feedback obtained from industry professionals, it became apparent that the credibility required to perform the job functions of Managing Editor of Bluff Magazine at our company’s level of standards have become severely diminished. While we regret having to make this decision, we believe that it is the best alternative for all parties involved, including Chris, Bluff Media and the poker playing community at large. We wish Chris the best of luck.

RE: Tis the Season for Cheating?
Bluff managing editor and online pro apologize for Full Tilt cheating

by , Dec 6, 2007 | 10:53 am

Sorel Mizzi

Sorel Mizzi

Chris “BluffMagCV” Vaughn, managing editor for Bluff, and online pro Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi have finally spoken out on the cheating incident on Full Tilt Poker.

They did an interview with PokerNews that was published in two parts: Part 1 described how Vaughn sold his account to Mizzi when he made it to the final three tables, and Part 2 is filled with apologies and regrets from both players.

Highlights (or lowlights, if you will):

• Both players have been banned from ever playing on Full Tilt Poker again.
• Vaughn admits to brazenly lying to Haralabos Voulgaris on the Big Poker Sundays radio program when asked about ghosting – allowing a backer to play for him.
• Bluff is displeased with Vaughn’s actions but will not fire him, only put him on probation.
• Vaughn and Mizzi are sorry.

‘Tis the Season for Cheating?
Full Tilt disqualifies semi-prominent, back-to-back winner

by , Nov 29, 2007 | 9:36 pm

The Absolute Poker scandal should have been enough. It remains unresolved, though most of the details of the cheating have been made clear, and the poker public still awaits the conclusion of the audit.

Back in early October, there was another mini-scandal on PokerStars. The winner of the WCOOP main event — the largest online poker tournament in history — was disqualified, and “TheV0id” was stripped of his title and $1,378,311 in winnings.

And we have another.

This time the allegations of nefarious online play revolve around Bluff Magazine’s managing editor Chris Vaughn. On 10/21, he took down the $1 Million Guarantee tournament on Full Tilt Poker for $197,984. The following Sunday, he won the Sunday Million tournament on PokerStars for $240,633. Well, it seems the first one didn’t stick.

According to the second place finisher in the Full Tilt event, Soren “Kongsgaard” Kongsgaard, he received an e-mail from FTP stating that Chris – screen name “BluffMagCV” – had been disqualified and “Kongsgaard” was awarded first place money.

Reportedly, though unconfirmed at this point, Chris’ backer, Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi, took over at some point in the tournament and played the remainder of it for him. Chris and Sorel have now been banned from Full Tilt. More details can be found on Sorel’s blog, though it’s not clear who is writing the posts.

Interestingly, Chris was just interviewed on 11/18 by Scott Huff and Haralabos Voulgaris on Big Poker Sundays, a radio show on Haralabos asked him if he’s ever been accused of ghosting, where a person’s backer plays for them, and Chris said, “I’ve been accused of that. I think it’s going to come with the territory when someone relatively unknown wins two in a row… But as far as having someone take over, that’s ridiculous.”

+EV: Tin Foil Hat

by , Oct 21, 2007 | 7:39 am

Absolute Admissions: You Buyin’?

by , Oct 19, 2007 | 5:45 pm

Last night the word was — via PocketFives and 2+2 — that Absolute was ready to admit malfeasance and guilt.

That mea culpa has been released, and the AP honchos are blaming a disgruntled kid wanting to stick it to his superiors:

The cheater, whose illegitimate winnings were estimated at between $400,000 and $700,000 by one victim, was an employee of who hacked the system to show that it could be done, said a spokesman for the company, who spoke with on condition of anonymity.

“This is literally a geek trying to prove to senior management that they were wrong and he took it too far,” he said.

Hmm, So we all good and ready to deposit a bunch of money into our Absolute accounts?

Thanks Cliff and Lisa for the links!

Let’s Talk about Sets, Baby …
Level of American poker discourse to hit a high note in coming days

by , Oct 18, 2007 | 3:42 pm


From Boston to Cali to Las Vegas to Washington DC … it’s all about poker-poker-poker ’til the cows come home.

So wow, so much is going on right about now. A lot of smart people doing a little bit more than just geeking out about poker and the industry’s/game’s/lifestyle’s future. Wish I could be everywhere:

We’ve got the Global Poker Thinking Society getting together at Harvard — featuring Howard Lederer, Charles Nesson, and Crandall Addington.

And then this weekend is the California Poker Conference — where speakers include WSOP Commish Jeffrey Pollack, PPA Executive Director John Pappas, and some influential old-timers such as Mike Caro, Lou Kreiger, Barbara Enright, and many others.

And then on the next day, Pappas heads back to Washington DC, where he’ll be hosting the Poker Player’s Alliance DC Fly-in — a little Beltway lobbying fest on behalf of pro-poker legislation. This is the one I really want to be at — and we’ll try to stay on top of things from afar — because twisting Congressional arms enlightening our representatives is a lot of fun. I gotta say, it also kinda makes me proud to know that our success wooing Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) as a co-sponsor to HR 2610, the Skill Game Protection Act, kinda inspired it.

From CardPlayer:

JP: We had a really great meeting in August with Congressmen Pete Sessions in his Dallas, Texas, office. It was myself and a number of our local PPA members, including Clonie Gowen, who’s a Dallas, Texan, and Robert Williamson III, another Dallas, Texan. We went in and sat down with him and talked to him about the Wexler bill and why it just didn’t make sense that a game of skill is being outlawed on the Internet. And it really resonated and it really came through and what I saw was, wow, this is something we need to replicate, this is something we needed to do more of. Based on that meeting, I thought we needed to get people out to Washington. Whether we make 20 meetings or 200 meetings, I think it’s going to be a worthwhile event.

Very cool! (And well done, Pokeratizen politicos!) Good times, all around. And indeed, we should do more of that.

I’ll be in Vegas … assuming I make my flight, which leaves in — yeow! — four hours, to do the TV Co-hosting thing with Tom Schneider for the inaugural Poker Bowl. This should be a pro-studded affair … even Doyle Brunson will be playing, along with Greg Raymer, Scotty Nguyen, reformed self-colluder ZeeJustin … and Absolute spokesman Mark Seif. Like seriously, we have so much to talk about!

And so little of it to do with how to play [cards]As Ks[/cards] in middle position.

Re: Absolute (3)
Mark Seif, Absolute respond with call for investigation

by , Oct 17, 2007 | 7:51 pm

As feces continue to fly about the fan, Absolute Poker has agreed to a third-party investigation by a supposedly independent agency, Gaming Associates.

Mark Seif, a former attorney with a stake in AP has taken on the role as spokesperson on his “blog” at Bluff, and a few days ago announced that Absolute was conducting its own audit in an attempt to reassure players that there was nothing to fear:

Specifically, Absolute Poker’s internal investigation determined that it is impossible for any person, device, program, script or other means to see hole cards.

See, right there, we know that’s not true. Because obviously the computer randomizing/dealing the cards knows … which is how they can send hand histories to each individual player. C’mon, AP … try again. While personally I may be reserving judgment until at least a little more evidence comes out, it ain’t looking pretty. The phrases being uttered (and not) by Absolute Poker remind me of the Catholic Church denying child sex abuse in the mid-’90s. Not to put online poker on par with priestly pedophilia, but as is often the case in “damage control” amid scandal, attempts to cover-up, redirect, and deny may work for a little bit, but can prove costly in the long run. As to corporate CYA, the general public has become quite adept at seeing through that sorta doublespeak, and poker players will eventually take their addiction dollars elsewhere! [/soapbox]

I wonder if anyone playing (or observing) on Absolute has had their chat privileges suspended or blocked for providing warnings to players. That would be really interesting to know.

Re: Absolute (2)
Issue raises serious questions for the poker biz
PokerListings refusing to send players to AP and Ultimate Bet

by , | 4:27 pm

Anthony in McKinney-ish writes in with more:

Ok, I swear I’m not an email attention whore, but the hits just keeepp ooonnnnnn coming with this Absolute thing.

Not to make it all about blogging, but poker players should be proud of the “citizen journalism” at work in this case. When “former” chief operators of a company are allegedly the ones pegged as playing with “superaccounts” … that clearly can’t be a good thing. Absolute looks to have done themselves in here. Short-term greed catches up with the offenders. This page now seems like a sadly ironic case of Strong Means Weak.

So as the evidence against Absolute becomes more and more solid, it raises a lot of other questions, including:

  1. Will anyone go to jail? In an unregulated environment can anyone go to jail?
  2. What other sites might be engaging in similar activities?
  3. How can we trust that any particular site is not?
  4. Will politicians in the United States see this as an example of why online poker needs to be regulated, or will it be their case for why it needs to be more comprehensively banned?
  5. Since Absolute is in bed with Ultimate Bet, what will become of that relationship? And how connected are they really?
  6. Will UB pros — Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke specifically — speak out on the matter? And/or will they leave Ultimate Bet?
  7. Will major online affiliates — such as CardPlayer, PokerNews, and PokerListings, for example — stop sending players to Absolute?

Big questions for online poker. How different folks with a vested interest in the answers react to this situation will tell us a lot about what kinda players we really are dealing with in this biz.

UPDATE: PokerListings is currently refusing to send players to Absolute and Ultimate Bet: has temporarily suspended the listing of the Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet poker rooms as a result of serious problems with both historical and current payments due PokerListings for services rendered. We are aware that our decision not to list these two brands may be an inconvenience, but as a trusted guide and resource, we do not believe it is appropriate to continue listing them.


The Team

+EV: Absolute Poker is Rigged

by , | 2:27 pm

Re: IRS Backing Down on Poker Taxes?

by , Oct 16, 2007 | 1:29 am

The rumors had merit … there will be no automatic 25 percent withholding on all poker tournament wins over $5,000. The headlines give a little indication on where different operations stand on tournament winners and their ethical obligations to pay the federal government its juice:

CardPlayer: “Tax Law Stopped”
PokerListings: “Tax Code Clarified”
4Flush: “Still Being Worked on”
PokerNews: “Tax Proposal Nixed”
I. Nelson Rose: “IRS Has Changed the Law”