Short version: There is almost indisputable proof that users at AP were cheating by somehow viewing the whole cards of their opponents. Some information has come out that indicates an AP employee or ex-employee may have been involved. There is further evidence that it may be ex-owner, Scott Tom.
1) During a tournament played by cheater 'Potripper,' the person who ended up coming second ("Marco") thought he was cheated. He emailed Absolute, and they sent him a hand history file - an XLS file.
2) Marco opened up this file, it seemed all gibberish to him, and he didn't think anything of it.
5) In passing discussion, Marco mentions he has this file. He shares it with a few people, including N 80 50 24(pokerdb.com maintainer, maker of The Poker Film, part owner of Bluff Media) who analyses what is in this file
6) Nat (N 82 50 24) & 2p2 poster Snagglepuss discover that this file is a complete hand history for the tournament - showing every table, and all hole cards of every player.
Quote: Also, for the straight dope on how this we got to this point, check out N825024's blog at http://www.natarem.com/.
7)In further analysis of the spreadsheet, Nat and Snagglepuss determine that the IP address, user number and email address of observers has been documented.
8)In 7, they determine that an account with user number 363 observes Potripper's table from 2 minutes into the tournament until the end.
9) At the start of the tournament, for the two hands that user #363 is not observing the table, Potripper folds preflop. He doesn't fold another hand pre-flop for 20minutes, when he open-folds with KK held by a player behind him.
10) They also discover another observer, with the same IP (in San Jose, Costa Rica), with a different user number and the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, observing another table for a short period of time.
11) It is speculated that 10 could be Potripper's user account.
12) It was determined that the domain rivieraltd.com was pointing to a mail server which happened to be on an IP allocated to Absolute Entertainment SA, at Mohawk Internet Technologies' data center.
12.5) Shortly (within an hour or two) after the findings in 12 are posted here, the DNS information for rivieraltd.com is deleted.
13)The IP associated with the observer in #10 turns out to be a residential cable modem registered to Scott Tom, AP's President as of 2005.
22) Mark Seif plays $1k tourney on Absolute and gets grilled by the rail...but then roceeds to still deny that tourney hands look suspicious and say that Dan Druff is likely to be sued for slander yadda yadda yadda...
MARK SEIF: yes i was watching the hands on a player MARK SEIF: i actually saw quite a few hands that suggest he couldnt see MARK SEIF: the hands - he played very poorly if he could see them MARK SEIF: i watched 80 something hands MARK SEIF: i marked a few whcih troubled me MARK SEIF: i marked a few that it appears there is no way he could see MARK SEIF: the hands MARK SEIF: that's my honet opinion so far MARK SEIF: still havent seen it all MARK SEIF: i never said he was legit - dont put words in my mouth pleas MARK SEIF: yeah that's what i watched some of the hands on - you tube
MARK SEIF: dan druff is an out and out LIAR MARK SEIF: and exaggerator MARK SEIF: i have no problem going on record about that MARK SEIF: and he is likely to be sued for his libelous and slanderous MARK SEIF: statements MARK SEIF: i dont normally say stuff like that but i read with my own MARK SEIF: eyes some of his lies
UNSEIF: I OPEN FOLD FULL HOUSES IN CAPPED POTS
MARK SEIF: with respect to that assertion that i open folded - that is MARK SEIF: a total and complete LIE MARK SEIF: that never happened and i challenge anyone anyone at all to MARK SEIF: show me that hand MARK SEIF: its is bald face LIE MARK SEIF: i am just a spokesperson i am not an owner, manager or direc MARK SEIF: tor MARK SEIF: i am concerned about this and awaiting the investigation to MARK SEIF: decide what to do MARK SEIF: unlike some people i believe in withholding judgment until MARK SEIF: all the evidence is in MARK SEIF: maybe its the lawyer in me - maybe its a sense of fairness MARK SEIF: I played against gray cat and lost a lot MARK SEIF: I am down over a million on ap
23) Associated Press have picked up the story...http://www.ktvn.com/Global/story.asp?S=7229673
24) P5's Admin invited to ABS Poker offices in Costa Rica... Meeting doesn't go as people would have hoped as Absolute still denying a lot pretty much..but P5's possibly letting them off lightly when presented with a great opportunity. Crossposted Summary
25) With regards to other account aliases on other sites :
AJ Green/Potripper on AP [almost certainly] = FATRAISER on Stars I am reliably informed that Scott Tom has account at Ultimate Bet under the name of 'PotChopper'
I'm pretty sure this scenario has not yet been raised...
We know that AP logs all tables and hands, and these logs contain everyone's hands etc. We also know that this is accessible and exportable as we have these details in an xls file.
What about the possibility that the perpertrator also has access to the logs and was accessing these as they were written? Presumably a manual query of the log server would take too long (and tedious) and they were employing an automated method, using account 363 as a second login to identify the current table and handnumber (as per Poker Ace Hud/Poker Tracker) before executing the log lookup?
Note, this theory doesn't change the facts discovered surrounding the accounts used. But it would explain AP's insistence that there is no possible way for a super user to exist? And why they have continued to deny this even in the face of an audit that would presumably uncover this if it were possible?
In our last episode, I spoke to Roger, who I believe works in VIP Marketing. From what I can tell, Roger is some sort of middle-manager in the grand scheme of things there. He seemed to somewhat like my idea to pay back the victims and give chip-dumping as justification. He said he'd take that back to the upper management, as well as the rest of my questions, and get back to me by 3pm PDT.
At about 4pm PDT, he called. He said that Paul the PR Manager will be handling this matter from this point forward. Paul was to call me "soon".
About an hour later, Paul called me. The conversation revealed little and was disappointing.
In a nutshell, I was told that the third party company had just started its investigation, so therefore he's not allowed to tell me anything. I expressed my concerns that the "independent third party audit" isn't as independent as they're making it out to be, given the company's relationship with the Kawanhawke Gaming Commission. He tried to assure me that it will indeed be completely independent and unbiased, but I told him that selecting such an "independent" auditor won't go over well with the 2+2 community. I suggested that a different auditing firm be selected, perhaps one mutually agreed upon by AP and the 2+2 community. He said he would take the suggestion back to the others in charge at AP, but I see a snowball's chance in hell that this ever gets changed, given their recent press releases, along with the fact that apparently the audit has already begun.
He kept repeating that he "really wants" to tell me the whole story of what he knows, but that he's not allowed to. He also kept repeating that the actual story is quite different than the currently accepted theories on 2+2. He did go as far to mention that, "Not all of the information posted on 2+2 is incorrect, but a lot of it is completely wrong." Whatever that means.
He said that all of us will need to be patient as they complete the auditing process. I asked what date we can expect this to be completed, and he couldn't give me one. I asked for a ballpark figure. Again, he couldn't give me one.
One interesting (and repeated) theme of the conversation was Paul's assertion that someone is planting bogus facts into the 2+2 discussion. "Some people are using this opportunity to spread misinformation and trying to hurt Absolute Poker. A lot of really untrue things are being said on purpose to make us look bad."
He would not tell me specifically what information is untrue and/or planted. Again, ongoing investigation, blah blah.
I finally asked why releasing certain details from their initial investigation would compromise the current one. For example, I wanted to know if they had talked to the actual GRAYCAT on the phone (the one listed in the account's information), and he couldn't tell me. I told him that this made no sense. I told him that he doesn't even have to tell me what GRAYCAT said, but rather whether or not AP made telephone contact with him. Again, he's not allowed to say. I asked how this could possibly interfere with the current audit. After all, I said, either you talked to him or you didn't -- nothing in a new investigation is going to change that. Paul agreed with my point, but said he was instructed from above not to reveal any details about anything.
I asked about Scott Tom and his current association with AP. He claimed that he did not know the date that Scott ended his AP affiliation, but that he had not seen Scott around the AP offices in over a year. I asked how that could be, if Scott has been spamming 2+2 with AP-related crap as recently as June. He didn't know, and said he would look into it. He did confirm that Scott and the other original founders no longer own AP.
Paul mentioned that he has read every AP-related thread on 2+2 and Pocketfives since this whole mess started. However, he claimed he was only recently put on this case, and is trying to digest it all at once. He said that he took note of the 9 questions I posted in another thread regarding what we need to know from AP. He claimed that those questions would all be answered by the completion of the investigation/audit.
I asked why all of this is just beginning over a month after everyone complained. He did not know, but agreed that they were too slow about it. "We didn't know it was this serious," was his answer. I asked how they could not realize the seriousness of it when approximately a million dollars was involved. He agreed with my statement without explaining how such a lag in time could have happened.
As the conversation wound down, two things REALLY bothered me. First, I was extremely irritated that we seemed to again be returning to the days of complete information blackout. While I can understand not wanting to compromise the existing audit, we definitely deserve to know where everything stands at the moment -- and exactly what they did the first time around. I told him that we need some questions answered immediately. He said he would talk to others and see what can be revealed right now. I told him that, if AP is so concerned with misinformation being intentionally disseminated, they are only doing themselves a disservice by continuing to keep silent over a month later, and not giving us a date when we can expect to know more. He agreed with my point and said he would bring it up to the other managers.
Second, I was getting the impression that AP's main goal was to come out of the audit smelling of roses, rather than getting the truth to everyone. I told him that, given the volume of information we have at this point, there is no way AP will ever convince the 2+2/Pocketfives/Neverwinpoker communities that no cheating occurred. I said that, if AP's goal is to convince everyone of that, it will backfire, and instead of appeasing the masses, everyone will just get twice as angry as they are right now. I told him that AP needs to completely come clean with what happened, as well as let everyone know the measures that have been taken to prevent the same from recurring.
"We want to know the truth, and we want the truth to fit with the undeniable facts that we already know," I explained. "Anything less than that will be viewed as dishonest and unethical. The people involved here are very smart. They're not going to be tricked by fancy statements and squeaky-clean audit results."
He said that he appreciated my feedback.
The one slightly optimistic thing came at the beginning of the conversation. When describing the audit process, he said that "we will take care of those affected, regardless of the audit's results." Somehow I got distracted and didn't ask specifically what that meant. However, I would think it might imply they are planning upon refunding those who got cheated -- at least in this particular instance of cheating. Next time I speak to him, I will find out exactly what he meant by that statement. However, he did say that AP is not interested in paying people and blaming it on chip-dumping. "We want the entire truth to be found," he claimed.
That's basically it. I got his extension number and will call him back in a few days. Maybe by then he will have obtained "permission" to tell me some actual details.
I must admit that I'm highly disappointed by the Pocketfives visit. It now seems that my worst fears during the phone call are coming to fruition -- that this is being steered in the direction of no superuser existing and disproving everything being alleged. Like others, I am disappointed. Why exactly did Pocketfives arrange this meeting if they were just going to act as an AP corporate mouthpiece? Very disappointing, considering the great work they had done up until this point.
I am particularly unhappy with Paul's claim that the current audit has no timetable, and that we will receive no information until then (unless they agree to release some, as I have requested). I find that to be wholly unacceptable.
I am glad that the mass media is finally taking some interest in this case. Maybe that will finally speed up the resolution, though I am starting to fear that more media involvement = less truth being released. Let's hope that's not the case.
Finally, I still must express disappointment in how Mark Seif has handled the situation. Rather than apologize for what everyone here has gone through, he vilifies me and calls my character into question. Is this the face AP really wants to put on to the public?
Sounds like they haven't made up their mind yet about what they're going to admit or deny.
They're probably still looking for a cover-up story that allows them to deny the most damning facts like the superuser account, especially because the proof for this is too complicated for the general public to be understood as a smoking gun. When we start talking about hand histories, river aggression factor, IP addresses and DNS servers, nobody cares anymore.